MARKETING, SALES & CUSTOMER SERVICES
This document aims to focus on the launch of a new account for small and medium sized businesses by ABC plc. The main points will be presented for further discussion and research.
The launch of this new account is directly related to the overall corporate objectives of the Bank. Starting down at the lower level, the Bank can meet its short-term objectives such as “Attracting new customers and preserving existing ones.” This could increase the level of business and lead to the medium term objectives– “To offer products which are both profitable and attractive to customers”. Careful and balanced monitoring of objective setting, strategic planning and implementation can increase profit margin and satisfy customer needs successfully.
In order to bring to the market the best possible package, all the elements of the marketing mix need to be managed carefully. Let us examine the elements of the extended marketing mix – the 6 Ps’:
launch of this product will differentiate the company from its competitors since
there is currently nobody else offering these five benefits in the same package.
However, other factors should also be considered, such as the product’s life
cycle, a portfolio planning e.g. using the Boston Matrix, etc.
pricing decision is crucial because it needs to balance two factors - maximizing
profit and attracting customers2. There are many price benefits to
the customer for this product but in order to assess the product’s final price
we should also consider the related costs, expected level of sales, competition
pricing, the state of economy, etc.
relates to the distribution of the product i.e. where will this new account be
offered and how? In order to decide the distribution strategy, it must be
considered what the product is, who are where the customers are, how and through
whom they like to buy, etc.
Bank will need to promote the new product to the public. There are several
options to choose from, like telephone, Internet, branch network, direct mail,
etc. A segmentation of the market will also be necessary at this stage to
identify only the segments attracted to the product with profit potential.
selection of the marketing staff is very important. There should be some
responsible managers, a call center for information, the front line staff who
will deal directly with the customers and especially some knowledgeable and
friendly business consultants and Relationship Managers.
Process relates to the step-by-step detailed documentation of each marketing activity, how and who will send the information, keep records of the enquires, how will the customers respond, etc.
It is also very
important to ensure that the Bank will launch this new account in the most
successful way. This can easily be achieved by a marketing plan. It must be
noted that various stages described below are inter-related and cannot be
examined in isolation.
is a brief overview of the contents of the plan, a summary of the marketing
objectives and the major recommended strategies contained in the plan.
part contains a description of the current and future business situation, the
target market and a brief competitor and market analysis. For example, who are
already the customers of the business, to whom is this new account targeted and
what similar products are already offered by competitors that need to be taken
into account? A SWOT analysis may also be necessary together with what is
expected to happen in the future, after the launching of the product.
Objectives and Goals
is the stage to set the marketing SMART objectives3, meaning
that objectives need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable,
Realistic and Timed. The situation analysis can help towards the
right balance between objectives, assuring that they are both stretching and
challenging as well as realistic and achievable. For example, doubling sales
volume for small and medium sized businesses after six months from the day of
launching of the new account.
setting the objectives, we need to develop several strategies on how to achieve
them. This can be done through the Marketing Mix, described above. It must also
be decided what kind of strategy we need to develop –defensive, developing or
attacking? In our case it is more likely to be an attacking one which provides a
level of development.
is the tool that will help us to see how we are going to achieve out objectives
and links our strategy with the implementation stage. For example, what needs to
be done before and after six months of the launching of the new account, who is
responsible for what, etc.
should be a list of the costs of all the marketing activities mentioned in the
marketing plan. This can allow a check that the costs are within the budgeted
amounts and also that the activity will be profitable to the Bank.
Senior management must sign the current document to give their support to the plan and its implementation. If there are any supporting documents, there must also be included to support any ideas and facts described above.
Product’s Life Cycle
Apart from the necessary plans prior to the launching of the new account, it must also be investigated what actions will be necessary during its growth and maturity. It is expected that after its introduction to the market, there will be a significant increase in sales volume. On the other hand competitors are likely to launch similar products. That’s why it is very important to continue to research the competitors and promote the Bank’s own product, probably by using different promotion methods each time. Sales are expected to increase until they reach their highest level, which is the maturity of the product. Competition is also expected to be very intensive by then. The Bank needs to have a research team to monitor market changes and customer needs. It will probably be needed to make some changes to the product offered so that it can still be competitive and attractive to customers. If nothing is done at this stage, a decline in sales will follow. Competition is very high nowadays and financial services environment is changing rapidly so the Bank needs to adjust continuously. For example, more benefits can be added to this account, lower the costs for the customers, extend the product to large businesses, increase the customer service offered, maybe by offering an online 24-hours live customer service for answering questions and dealing with any complaints, etc.
Buying Behaviour of the Target Market
Another major issue
that must carefully be investigated is the buying behaviour of the target
market. It is very important for all the staff involved to understand the
perceptions and the buying behaviour of the target market so that they can be
trained accordingly, offer a precise customer service according to the customer
needs, launch the best possible product and modify it according to their future
needs and changes in the market.
Recognizing the need
soon as they see this product advertised, small and medium sized businesses will
recognize that they need an easily accessible account, where they can earn some
interest on their credit balances unlike the usual current accounts, receive
statements more often and receive some support and ideas from professional
people regarding the managing of their finances.
Assessing the alternative
Before moving on to the purchase, they will probably investigate what there is available in the market and make sure that nobody else currently offers anything more competitive and beneficial.
decided that this account best satisfies their needs, they will go ahead and
make the purchase in the way in which best suits them.
5.4 Validating the decision
will finally need a reassurance of their decision, probably by a first contact
with a business consultant for advice.
plc has decided to extent its product range by offering a unique account aimed
at the small and medium sized businesses. A
successful launching and monitoring is of crucial importance. In order to
achieve this, there should be a careful investigation and discussion between
interested parties of related issues like the overall objectives of the Bank,
the various stages of the marketing plan including a more detailed analysis of
the marketing mix, future actions that should be taken during the growth and
maturity of the product and perceptions and stages in the buying behaviour.
TOTAL [1445 words]
(1) Charley Watkins, (1999), Marketing, Sales & Customer Services, Kent, Financial World Publishing.
(2) Michael J.Baker, (1996), Marketing - An Introductory Text, Sixth Edition, MacMillan Business.
(3) http://www.marketingteacher.com/index.html, 11 November 2001, Tim Friesner.
(4) The Chartered Institute of Bankers, (1997), Customer Services – Marketing and the Competitive Environment.
(5) Rose / Watkins, (1997), Retailing of Financial Services, Kent, Institute of Financial Services.