HOP strategy will involve a marketing and sales effort that seeks to develop awareness of their superior service and product offerings and to build a large foundation of long-term customers. This strategy will be key because it recognizes the fact that it is far more costly to attract new customers than it is to maintain current ones. Additionally, happy customers as cheerleaders for the organization are an extremely effective, vocal, and cost effective sales tool. Lastly, HOP will leverage their competitive edge of benchmarked service to quickly gain market penetration.
HOP's competitive edge is their benchmarked service provided to all customers. The typical level of service that customers expect from the competing rental companies is that the store will determine compatibility of the rental unit and the customer's computer and then rent the unit. The rental agent will give a few bits of information regarding configuration issues, but the customer is typically left to their own labor to get it to work. This is the expectation that has been developed by the industry and instilled in the minds of the customers. This basic level of service is all that is typically offered because of the great and sometimes overwhelming amount of knowledge that is required for projector support. Companies that offer a wide range of rentals, just do not have the time to compile and offer the needed level of knowledge.
House of Projectors rents only projectors so it is far easier for them to be projector experts. With this high level of knowledge, it is easy for HOP to offer a standard level of service that is super deluxe. If a customer had at any point rented from a competitor and then from HOP, the huge difference in the level of service would be quite obvious. HOP asks the customer to bring in their specific laptop so that HOP experts can configure the projector for them. HOP finds it problematic and therefore unacceptable if the customer has to spend any of their own time wrestling with the unit. HOP therefore offers true plug and play capability, not plug and pray that the competition offers.
HOP offers 24 hour support for their rentals as well. Customers will find this quite useful, particularly the customers that are traveling as they are able to get product support any time that they need to where ever they may be.
House of Projectors' marketing strategy will be an effort to gain visibility of HOP within the business community as the premier LCD computer projector rental facility. House of Projectors will undertake a marketing campaign that will in part use traditional media sources such as the Cleveland Business Journal, a well read business and Cleveland specific journal. In addition to the advertising, HOP will launch a networking campaign. The networking campaign, based on guerrilla marketing principles will seek to gain visibility for the company by establishing business and personal relationships with many people in the Cleveland business community.
One specific alliance that House of Projectors will build and emphasize is a relationship with the Cleveland Entrepreneurs Forum. This organization is run through the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and is a support organization for budding entrepreneurs. In effect it is an organization that attempts to foster an environment that is conducive to start-up organizations. One aspect of this process, as many of us know all too well is the process of raising money. House of Projectors will be able to offer value for this process because projector presentations are almost a standard element of a presentation to sophisticated angel or venture capital investors. By forming an alliance with this organization and supporting it with its main activities, House of Projectors will be generating visibility of itself specifically to one of their key customer segments.
Additional networking will be accomplished by participating in various other business associations. This will be quite effective as many people have the empirical experience that much business is conducted among networking contacts.
The sales strategy will be a system of goals and processes that stress the delivery of the industry's finest service to every customer. The entire sales system is based on the idea that House of Projectors must do its best to satisfy every customer so that after their first experience with House of Projectors they have no desire whatsoever to use a different service provider. By providing the finest service, the customer will have no reason to seek out a different company. Ideally the customer will praise the outstanding service to their friends. It is this "friends referral" that can be effective because the praise for the service provider comes from a friend who has already established a trust relationship with the "audience."
This strategy of providing the finest service as a means for developing a large and loyal customer base accepts implicitly that projectors are computer hardware and can be difficult and frustrating for many people to operate. By providing the best support, House of Projectors is able to remove the element of fear that many people have when they are forced to interact with technology.
There are two main elements in HOP's delivery of customer support. The first is the task for making the customer's interaction with the company and the technology as painless as possible. Each customer should feel like they were treated special and that all of their needs were looked after by HOP. The second element is crisis management. This involves a situation where the customer is unhappy or did not receive the best service. All employees will be trained to be able to survey a situation and correct any issues themselves. While some issues will have to be elevated to the manager level, the employees are trained to be able to effectively handle most things themselves.
House of Projectors has taken a conservative approach to the sales forecast. This was done so that it would be more difficult to disappoint and easier to succeed. The sales forecast displayed in the following table and charts shows that the first few months of business will be relatively slow. This is a reasonable assumption as the organization is in start-up mode and very little goodwill among customers and the community has been developed.
House of Projectors believes that sales for the first year will grow incrementally month to month. HOP will be encouraged if there is a steady increase of sales. With profitability forecasted to be reached during the second year, HOP will not have the unrealistic expectation that they will be making a profit immediately, even for that matter within the first year. HOP recognizes that building a sustainable organization is a slow incremental process. HOP also recognizes that the sales forecast is just that, an educated guess of the sales patterns and level of the organization. A lot of time has been invested in the forecast to make it an accurate prediction based on all available information.
House of Projectors has developed a set of milestones which are ambitious yet achievable goals for the entire organization. The following table enumerates the milestones, the expected completion timeline and the individuals responsible for the the specific milestones.