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Time Merchants – Marketing Strategy

The forecast for our marketing strategy will cover the first 5 years of operation. In the service life cycle, the first two years of operation in each city will be focused on market development, where the strategy will be to develop widespread awareness of service benefits and to obtain trial by “innovators” and “early adopters.” In addition, the first two years of operation will be used to solidify the service concept and identify any weaknesses in the service offering. In comparison, during years three through five, TM will be focused on rapid growth to establish a strong market niche, and will focus on the “early adopters” and the “early majority.” During years three through five, TM will pay detailed attention to brand positions, gaps in market coverage, and additional opportunities for market segmentation.

Technology will be an integral and effective tool in the TM marketing plan. TM will operate a dynamic database that is constantly changing with the most current customer information. At the same time, utilizing information in our customer database, Geographic Information System will add spatial information to our customers. GIS can answer questions such as which communities customers are coming from, the demographics of those communities, which streets and highways feed those communities, and how many customers are within X miles of a specific service provider. This technology will allow TM to constantly improve and measure marketing strategies.

Figure 2 – Total Customer Growth

Time Merchants will utilize a pull strategy targeted towards our end users. Promotions will be focused on two different target markets, consumers (i.e., family households) and service providers. To reach our target market a promotional mix including advertising (radio and local newspapers), direct sales, direct mail, and public relations will be utilized. Advertising and direct mail will be used to generate a positive image and to position the TM concept in the consumers’ mind. For service providers, TM will rely more heavily on direct sales. To generate high credibility public relations and publicity will also be utilized. The schedule of promotion spending is displayed in Appendix B.

Figure 3 – Promotional Spending Year 1

Product Issues: Target market, Size, Structure, Positioning

Referral Service: Home Service Brokerage
With our toll free number (1-888-FOR-TIME) targeting consumers, end users can call TM for the service provider nearest to them, whether it is a plumber, maid service, carpet cleaner, or other home-service providers. This service is free to consumers. Time Merchants’ brand will be positioned to the end user with the Referral Service as the “most convenient and trustworthy” way to reach a quality reliable service provider-no more fumbling through the Yellow Pages. The size of the market for the Referral Service is the majority of any metropolitan area that would eve need a reference for a locksmith, electrician, or other home service.

The second target market for the Referral Service will be the approximately 4,000 small to medium home service providers located in San Diego County. For a monthly fee of $250, service providers can sign up to be listed with TM. For an additional $100 they can be listed on the website. Time Merchants can meet several unmet needs of local service providers such as, targeted marketing in their geographical area of operation, increased exposure, and validation by a TM representative. Similar to the positioning with the end users, TM will position the company as the ‘”most convenient” and cost effective way for service providers to market themselves.6

Premium Delivery Service
The Premium Service-product offering is more value added, has more benefits, and is focused on only one segment of the target market of the Referral Service. The approximately 195,000 households in San Diego County with sufficient discretionary income can enjoy a scheduled weekly delivery of groceries, dry cleaning, and home movies, in addition to access to our pre-screened list of service providers. Time Merchants will position this as a time savings service. These customers will also benefit from consolidated billing. Rather than paying numerous providers each month they can simply pay one, TM. Potential target communities within the San Diego area are shown in Appendix E.

Initially our rollout marketing strategy will be broad based, appealing to many. However, we will be operating with a dynamic database, one that is constantly changing and being updated, thus allowing TM to measure, track, and improve our marketing efforts. Utilizing GIS we can enter geographic information on customers, i.e. zip code o address, and identify exactly where our customers are coming from, and what the demographics are of those neighborhoods. As the database builds, our marketing efforts become more focused and efficient.

6 Vis-a-vis Yellow Pages (triple qtr column).

Time Merchants
Table of Contents Appendices
1. Executive Summary
2. Company Overview
3. Market Analysis
4. Marketing Strategy
5. Operational Strategy
6. Critical Risks
7. Management Team
8. Financial Plan
Gantt Chart
Promotional Plan
Cost Benefit Analysis
Market Research
Potential Service Providers
Staffing/Revenue Streams
© 1999 Time Merchants

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