Easycut hair salon has just been opened in a small country town. In order for the owner to realize the full potential of her business, a marketing plan will be required. The plan will detail the steps that are to be followed if the business is to be successful. There are many components of a plan that must be considered for a new business and this report seeks to detail them and to illustrate how they can practically be used for the growth and eventual profitability of a business.
Elements of marketing planning
The main elements of marketing planning are marketing audits, analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, setting of objectives, devising a marketing strategy and the eventual implementation of the plan using different programs (Cohen 2005). Market audits are similar to financial audits. They are fundamental in assessing the initial situation a company is in. For established companies, market audits are important in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of that particular company at that moment. They are also used in the analysis of the opportunities that a company should endeavour to maximize as well as the threats that the company faces. As the environment within which the business operates in rapidly changes, the business should conduct routine market audits to continually evaluate their position and progress in relation to the market.
Another component of a market plan is a detailed list of the objectives that the company wishes to meet (Capko 2004). These objectives and the audits form a template on which other components of the plan can be built. Objectives broadly include the volume of sales the company wishes to move, the profits expected and the market share predicted. After the objectives have been set, the planner can then begin drawing up a strategy. This involves the development of strategic criteria that are going to be used in order to realize the goals set.
An audit as explained above is an assessment of the company using the SWOT analysis method (Piercy and Giles 1989). The strengths of Easycut Salon can be classified into human resources, infrastructure and technology. The salon has a very ambitious proprietor and with her enthusiasm, will attract qualified personnel who will be fundamental in the success of the business. The salon is also located in a very prime area of the town that is bound to attract many customers. The proprietor has prospects of introducing top of the range hair and beauty products which will go al long way in attracting customers to the salon. The purchase of modern hair and beauty care equipments that guarantee good results consistently is also strength.
There are a number of areas however that will need improving. Key among them is the lack of experience on the part of the proprietor. Although she does possess the required skills, her experience is limited. Therefore, for this not to set the salon back, she will need to adapt first and engage the services of qualified personnel with considerable experience.
The opportunities presented by Easycut are endless. First, there is a shortage in reliable hair care products and professionals in the area. This means that there exists a need gap that presents a very handsome prospect for the proprietor should the salon cultivate confidence and a culture of reliability and guaranteed results consistently (Brooksbank 1996). Since the salon is located in a prime area, there is a possibility for rapid expansion into the adjacent buildings should the initial business get off to a good start.
There are imminent threats to the success of Easycut. These are mostly presented by competitors who will be intimidated by the level of organisation at the salon and will attempt to push it out of the market.
A PEST analysis is mainly an evaluation of a business in the lines of Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors (McDonald and Wilson 2011). The political bit entails the government licenses and other laws that apply to the specific industry being analysed. For Easycut salon, there is a need for the facility where the salon is to be set up to be inspected by the local authorities in order to determine whether safety and health standards are met. The salon will also have to comply with the tax structures, labour and environmental laws.
Economic factors entail the initial cost of setting up the business. This has to consider equipment needed, rent, cost of decoration and refurbishment. The costs incurred will then determine the revenue structure to be adopted including employee wages, other expenditure and profits. All these must factor in inflation and other prevailing market forces.
The social considerations will be the culture of the customers and in particular their reactions to the business and its products. The population of the town is also detailed here so as to determine the target population size. The composition of the population is also considered so as to determine whether labour is readily available. Social trends are also detailed so as to keep up with what is in demand in a bid to attempting to satisfy the customers.
Finally, technological factors determine the level of sophistication and automation to be adopted (Shinno et al 2006). These factors are closely tied to the economic factors as the amount of capital will determine the kind of machinery to be used.
Barriers to marketing planning
The biggest barrier that Easycut might face would be the lack of management support. If the market plan is not implemented as it is proposed due to lack of commitment on the part of the management, then the marketing plan will have failed (Ranchhod 2004). There is thus a need for continued commitment to the course of implementing the plan.
Another barrier to the success of the marketing plan would be the lack of knowhow on the part of the employees who will be fundamental in the implementation of the plan (Menon et al. 1999). There are specific skills that will be required, e.g. the collection of data and its analysis. There is a need for the professional analysis of data to come up with viable solutions for future implementation and also in the successful communication of this information to the relevant authorities. Another barrier would be the lack of the required resources needed to assess the progress of the plan.
MacDonald’s “Ten s” approach
In an attempt to overcome the barriers to marketing planning, the Ten S approach will be tasked. The first step towards minimising the barriers of marketing planning is to have a sound strategy even before the specific tactics have been detailed. For Easycut Salon, the strategy should be the sole basis on which the salon should continue. The other step to reducing barriers is to situate marketing within the salon operations. This ensures that focus is solely on the sensitization of customers towards the relevant products and services offered by the salon. The third step is to make sure that the values required for the successful implementation of the detailed plan are shared among the players including the proprietor, employees and other stakeholders.
The sure way of ensuring that the business is aware of both the internal and external changes would be by the use of the SWOT analysis mechanism (Haberberg 2000). Here, the salon’s strengths and weaknesses are analysed alongside the opportunities and threats posed by the external environment.
In order to reduce the barriers of marketing planning that stem out of the lack of necessary skills on the part of human resources, the salon should be conscious of the limitations and strengths of its workforce (Kerin and Berkowitz 2006). It is therefore paramount that the salon endeavour towards imparting the necessary skills and knowledge required by constant training and retraining. The next step to removing barriers would be to systematise the process.
This means that the planning process should detail a precise approach towards implementation with details of the expectations in each step clearly laid out. Next, the salon should sequence the manner in which its objectives are to be met. The primary objectives should be given priority whereas the secondary and tertiary objectives should follow. It is only by fulfilling the first set of objectives that the salon should consider the next set and the process continues until all objectives are met. There is need for the company to develop a positive culture and style. The “way we do it” mentality is the greatest hindrance towards change and often, such negative cultures cause respective companies numerous opportunities in the market (Wheelan and Hunger 1998). Easycut should thus develop a positive culture that embraces change as the driving force for future successes.
There are ten steps that have been detailed in the discussion above and they are illustrated in the figure below.
Marketing plan for new range of beauty treatments (Kassel 1999)
Easycut Salon has decided to introduce a range of beauty treatments that will revolutionize the beauty care industry around the town. This plan aims at ensuring that the range of beauty treatments introduced are profitable and assist in the long-term establishment of the salon as a leader in the development of these treatments.
The beauty treatments are made from natural herbs and are thus not harmful to the body as they contain no additional chemicals. These products are odorless and are easily washed off. They do not pose any harm to the health of the hair and they are very effective in its nourishment. The salon aims to move 20 liters of these products on a weekly basis. This will diversify the revenue source and will eventually grow into the premier revenue source.
Situation Analysis (Audit)
Currently, there are no homemade beauty treatments that are in the market. This means that with the initial results gotten from laboratory tests done on the products, which were very positive, the salon can produce the range of products in the premises. The beauty products have the advantage of being 100% natural and this helps to endear them to the customers. The products are however still in the initial stages of development and they will be improved and perfected further as production continues and new techniques are incorporated.
The products have received positive feedbacks from the customers on whom they have been tried on. Therefore confidence in the products is high and this will form the basis from which we will roll out the products for use en masse.
Easycut Salon is the only beauty outlet in the town with this kind of unique products. The fact that the salon is the pioneer in this venture will only serve to strengthen its resolve and assist in rooting itself in the beauty products’ market.
In developing a market strategy, the marketing mix will be considered. Basically the strategy is constituted by the product, price, place and promotion (Miles 2003).
The product will be developed with the sole aim of making Easycut into a brand name. In order for this to happen, the quality of the range of beauty treatments will be continually assessed to make sure that it is in line with what the management envisages. The line will initially have 3 products but more will be developed over time and in response to the market needs. The packaging will bear the name Easycut and the initial products will be in tubes of 500ml. This will make them readily available to customers who may wish to carry them for use in their homes. However, the primary focus will be on the use of the products inside the Easycut premises.
The price of the product will initially be dependent on the cost of its production, the tax regime and profit. Since the products that Easycut wishes to introduce are relatively from a new concept, the price will steadily increase as the product is perfected. There will be value addition to the products and this will be judged by the customers who will be the beneficiaries of the product.
As detailed above, the initial focus will be on the production inside the premises. The product will primarily be used on-premises with the option of customers buying small quantities in their homes. Once the initial phase is successful and the product has been developed to meet commercial standards, plans will be made to iron out the logistical issues arising which will include production sites, warehousing and distribution mechanisms (Cheng 2010).
The promotion of the product will initially be on the premises. Displays will be laid out so that customers can see the products even from across the street. Employees will play a major role in the promotion of the products as they must be in a position to detail the advantages of using the products over others. After the initial phase, commercialization of the product will require massive promotion mechanisms including advertisements (Stevens and Loudon 2006).
The strategy detailed above will require careful implementation. There are a number of tactics that will be used. The initial phase of implementation will include persuading the customers to try the products out. The employees are expected to gauge the initial reaction by customers towards the product. After using the products, they are then required to gauge the reaction of the customer. Regardless of the feedback gotten from the customers, employees should report it to the management. In this phase, there will be substitute products that are commercially available in the area and customers may choose them if they wish.
The second phase will depend on the reception acquired in the initial phase. A positive reaction is expected by the management. The next phase will include negotiating with different outlets that sell beauty products to stock Easycut products. During this phase, the salon will be required to stock only Easycut products and customers will only have a choice of the range of products with the salon’s brand name.
The final stage will include the commercialization of the product. This will require massive budget allocations as production will shift to a larger facility off the salon’s premises. There will also be distribution channels crafted and warehouses leased for a massive roll out of the products nationally.
These are moral issues that define the right and wrong behaviour in the market. An ethical issue that may arise concerning the product is the type of ingredients that go into the manufacture of Easycut range of beauty treatments. The ingredients that are used in the treatments are natural; some consumers are generally mistrusting and might claim the contrary and be sceptical of the products’ composition.
Promotion ethical issues may arise if the company used hard hitting advertisements. There is an expectation that promotional initiatives should not be offensive to the general public and to the competitors. There might thus be an accusation levelled against Easycut for aggressive promotion of its products aimed at gaining a market share rapidly (Kärnä, Hansen & Juslin 2003).
Asda, a retail chain in the UK was accused of stocking genetically modified foods whose long term health implications are unknown. This raised an ethical issue and in a bid to assure its customers, the company phased out all the genetically modified products it dealt with (Hill & Westbrook 1997). Easycut salon should ensure that their product ingredients are listed on the package in order to avoid any ethical issue that may arise from the quality of its products.
Marketing planning is invaluable to the setting up and success of a given business. It is also fundamental for established businesses as it is a way by which the businesses can build on their foundations. For a company to be successful, it must carry out a detailed SWOT analysis that is aimed at analysing the strengths and weaknesses in its internal structure against the opportunities and threats in the external environment (Lehmann & Winer 2002). A PEST analysis is also valuable in determining the prevalent political, economic, social and technological conditions (Panagiotou 2003).
In creating a successful market plan, an initial audit should be followed by the re-evaluation of company goals and objectives. This is then followed by the drafting of a strategic approach towards the fulfilment of these goals (Booms and Bitner 1981). After the strategy, the business should then endeavour to implement the plan as is laid out. There are several barriers that the plan might run into. These are broadly related to time, resources and skills (Valentin 2001). The “tens” approach has been illustrated in the discussion above as means of avoiding these barriers. If a plan is well executed, then, the goals can ultimately be met.
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