ScholarshipAssist's strategy will be based on raising awareness of its services as well as educating prospective clients on the effectiveness of its services. The effectiveness of ScholarshipAssist's services is its competitive edge. It has the ability, because of a variety of factors, including extensive research, and industry insight, to show people the money.
The marketing campaign will educate students about the services offered, both the extensive database as well as the individualized counseling. The sales strategy will be based on the conversion of qualified leads into customers based on ScholarshipAssist effectiveness of getting scholarships for students who would not otherwise get any awards or increasing the award amount for those that would otherwise receive something less.
ScholarshipAssist's competitive edge is its effectiveness to either secure scholarships for students or to increase the amount that the student would otherwise be able to do. ScholarshipAssist's effectiveness percentage is forecasted to be 60% (and has been in limited number trials). This will be accomplished due to their extensive research that is completed on an ongoing basis as well as its wealth of industry knowledge. It is the industry knowledge (detailed in the Management Summary section) that allows it to be so effective, it knows how the industry works and what needs to be done to win scholarships for students.
ScholarshipAssist's marketing strategy is a strategic program designed to raise awareness among the two different student target groups regarding the services offered by ScholarshipAssist and how valuable it could be to the students. This will certainly be a challenging task since the services that ScholarshipAssist offers are a relatively new service offering. In the past the students got this type of help, albeit of lower quality and specificity from career counselors provided by the schools.
The marketing effort will utilize both advertisements and a word of mouth grass roots campaign to accomplish their goals. The advertisements will be placed in several local magazines whose readership is similar to ScholarshipAssist's target demographic. The basic message that will be communicated is simply put that students can get far larger awards for scholarships if they use ScholarshipAssist's help. Prominent in the advertisements will be its claim that ScholarshipAssist has a 60% success rate in helping secure scholarships or securing more out of a scholarship than if the student proceeded alone. The grass roots campaign will rely on two efforts: 1) a referral system, 2) student representatives that are "cheerleaders" for the service. This should be effective since the students are making the pitch to their peers and they already have a trust relationship with these people so what they say holds more weight.
ScholarshipAssist's sales campaign will have the objective of making conversions of qualified leads into paying customers. The target customer is a qualified lead if they recognize the need for the services and have to some degree sought out help from ScholarshipAssist. The conversion process should not be that difficult for two main reasons. The first reason is its high success rate. The success rate would be even higher but for the reality that some students are not meet the criteria for scholarships - either they do not have the scholastic ability or economic factors are not in their favor. The second issue that should make the conversion relatively easy is the fact that the students use ScholarshipAssist's services risk free - they pay nothing unless they are awarded a scholarship. The agreement is not exclusive, meaning the students are free to utilize other services and they do not have to pay for ScholarshipAssist's services unless they perform.
The first few months will be fairly slow in terms of sales. This forecast is normal for two reasons. The first is the fact that ScholarshipAssist is a start-up organization and it takes time to build awareness, goodwill, and a client base for the business. The second explanation is the process for applying for scholarships is seasonal. It is not until April or May that students become more aggressive in securing plans for college.
The revenue stream that ScholarshipAssist receives is based on a percentage of the scholarship that is received by the student. ScholarshipAssist will receive a 6% commission on the money that it obtains for the students. This will have a positive impact on sales as there is a direct incentive to raise as much money for each student. ScholarshipAssist believes these sales forecasts to be reasonably conservative based on several factors. The first factor is the fact that Boston has a very large student population with so many different colleges and universities, some extremely desirable for people to attend. This provides ScholarshipAssist with a huge market. The second factor is that as students become increasingly more busy with extracurricular activities and work, they have less and less time to spend on the college entrance process. With less time and more money (the last two years has seen the highest percentage of students working in over 30 years) students were willing to pay someone else to accomplish tasks that they once had the time and desire to do.