You are on page 1of 15

Event Planning Marketing Plan

Corporate Retreat Professionals

Executive Summary
The Corporate Retreat Professionals (CRP) is an event planning companyspecializing in corporate customers. CRP will offer two types of services; retreat training services as well as product launch event planning. The retreat training services will be either leadership development training or team skills training. For both types of retreats, CRP can take care of the planning of the event, as well as actually hosting the training through the use of one of CRP's strategic business partners. The mission of the Corporate Retreat Professionals is to provide companies with the highest level of event planning. We exist to attract and maintain customers. When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place. Our services will exceed the expectations of our customers. The corporate market for event planning is steady and profitable. For some large companies, economic downturns means cuts in training. This is only the case for shortsighted companies however. The benchmark companies may trim down thework force during a downturn, but they do not cut funds for training. They recognize that investments in human resources is always a good investment. CRP intends to profit nicely from this intelligent business strategy. Additionally, even in times of economic downturn, companies still have product launches and will still need someone to organize these events. In short, the need for corporate event planning/ hosting services rarely diminishes, it is a steadily increasing demand that CRP will capitalize on. Corporate Retreat Professionals' projected growth rate is over 100% through year three and will have profits as a function of sales over 11% by year three. By the beginning of year two CRP will have four employees.

Situation Analysis
CRP is entering their first year of business. Marketing will be critical to develop sufficient business to achieve profitability. The company offers high quality event planning for two specific areas, corporate training and product release events. The basic market need is for a competent service provider offering high quality event planning at a price that is cost effective relative to a company trying to plan the events themselves.

Market Summary
CRP possesses good information regarding its typical customer. This includes customer needs, the general circumstances from which the needs arise, and the difficulties the customer would face if they tried to satisfy these needs themselves. This information will be leveraged to better understand who is served, individual customers' specific needs, better communication channels, and how CRP can satisfy those needs.

Market Analysis 2006 Potential Customers Large companies Small companies Other Total Growth 9% 8% 0% 8.38% 1,158 1,878 0 3,036 1,262 2,028 0 3,290 1,376 2,190 0 3,566 1,500 2,365 0 3,865 1,635 2,554 0 4,189 2007 2008 2009 2010 CAGR 9.01% 7.99% 0.00% 8.38%

Market Needs
CRP is providing its customers with a high quality event planning service that specializes in both corporate retreats for training purposes as well as product launch events. CRP seeks to fulfill the following benefits that are important to their customers:

Professionalism- This is imperative as the service CRP provides is, in effect, a representation of the client corporation itself. Competitive pricing- The pricing scheme must be competitive to offer an incentive for the customer to outsource these services. Customer service- The customer must get the sense that all of their needs are being met, regardless how small or inconsequential it may seem.

Market Trends
The market trend for event planning has seen a surge within the last four years, a response to corporations' impetus to outsource non-essential tasks. This industry space has gotten more competitive for several reasons:

Increased demand has increased the number of competitors. With the increase of general event planner service providers, there has also been an emergence of specialized event planners that only offer one or two types of event planning services. The trend for outsourcing is not specific to the event planning industry, but can be seen in many industries like IT assistance, accounting, payroll, and design work.

Market Growth
In 2000, the event planning market had $453 in annual revenue. This market space is forecasted to grow at 6% for the next four years. This growth can primarily be attributed to companies tightening their focus on their core competencies and abandoning in-house support of activities that they do not excel in.

SWOT Analysis
The following SWOT analysis captures the key strengths and weaknesses within the company, and describes the opportunities and threats facing Corporate Retreat Professionals.

Strengths

Superior, specialized service offerings. Well-trained, enthusiastic employees. Strong relationships with complementary service providers.

Weaknesses

The concentration of a small niche of the market that will limit the potential size of the market. The difficulty of generating awareness and visibility of the company in its first few years of operation. The inability to rapidly scale to meet large, unexpected increases in demand.

Opportunities

A growing market of companies that are outsourcing event planning activities. Being one of the first service providers concentrating on this specific niche. Relatively low overhead.

Threats

A slump in the economy that could have a ripple effect on service providers. Future competition from existing service providers competing in different but complimentary market spaces. The inability to find qualified, high quality employees.

Competition
Currently there are three other companies that offer event planning specifically to corporations. They, however, tend do events that are more general in scope such as parties to reward customers or employees, or events to change the company's image. There is no company that specializes in event planning of corporate training and product release events. There are companies that offer corporate training, but these companies provide the actual training and do not do any of the actual event planning/ logistics of the entire event. There is also no company that specializes in product release events. There are companies that do provide this service, but they do not specialize in it. Because event planning is a tight market, CRP will benefit from specialization. The buying pattern for the larger corporations was, in the past, to have an in-house solution. This pattern is disappearing in favor of outsourcing as there is the constant drive for gains in efficiency, something outsourcing can offer.

Service Offering
CRP will offer event planning for the corporate market. CRP will concentrate on two types of event planning: 1. Corporate retreats- These events are typically used for two different reasons. They are either leadership training or team building training where employees of the corporations are sent to develop these skills. In addition to the planning of the events, CRP will be able to host the event as well. While CRP's core competencies are not in hosting, CRP will align itself with a wellrespected host of leadership development/ teaming skills programs and have them assist CRP in the hosting aspect. Using a strategic partner in this case allows CRP to stick with a narrow focus but still offer the service to our customers. 2. Product launches- These are events where the corporation is releasing a product and they have an event that is open to people outside of the corporation, such as industry press, distribution partners, or current key customers. The purpose of the product launch event is to create visibility for the new release.

Keys to Success
The keys to success are:

Generate repeat business. Achieve sufficient market visibility. Accomplish benchmarked customer service.

Critical Issues
CRP is still in the speculative stages as a start up organization. It faces the following critical issues:

Continue to take a modest approach toward expansion, expanding not for the sake of expansion in itself, but because it is necessary to meet the needs of their customers. Establish CRP as the premier niche event planner of the Seattle corporate market.

Marketing Strategy
Corporate Retreat Professionals will be aggressively courting companies to winfuture contracts. CRP will offer a superior service at a lower cost due to specialization. By concentrating on a few specific services, CRP will become proficient at these services and perform the services better than someone without the same level of expertise. CRP will increase company visibility through a website, local Chamber of Commerce networking, and participation in trade shows. The website will be quite detailed and provide a visitor in-depth information about the services CRP offers, the corresponding high level of quality, and the cost savings that can be achieved by using CRP. CRP will also be quite active in the local Chambers of Commerce in the Seattle metropolitan area. Over the years CRP founder Geoff Junket has come to realize that a lot of business transacts through the Chamber of Commerce or relationships that were started through this organization. Lastly, CRP will be active in the many trade shows that come through Seattle. The use of trade shows allows members of CRP to make initial contacts with a wide range of businesses that would otherwise be difficult to approach.

Mission
The mission of the Corporate Retreat Professionals is to provide companies with the highest level of event planning. We exist to attract and maintain customers. When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place. Our services will exceed the expectations of our customers.

Marketing Objectives

Increase repeat customers by 7% per quarter. Decrease customer acquisition costs by 8% per year. Generate increased awareness of services offered, quantified by a 2% quarterly increase of unsolicited service requests.

Financial Objectives

Profitability by year three. Maintain steady, monthly growth. Decrease training and production costs.

Target Markets
CRP is providing services to corporate customers only. We will not be going after the "social event market" which is an alternative market niche within the event planning industy. The corporate customer is a company that contracts with CRP to plan and typically host an event for the company. Corporations will be turning to CRP to plan the events because: 1. It is cost efficient for a third party to plan the event. This is the case because the third party only does event planning so they can plan and host the event more efficiently. 2. The company does not have additional people who can be taken away from their daily jobs, nor time to invest in an infrequent event. Our event planning services for corporate retreats will typically be utilized by larger corporations. A larger company can be generally defined as one with more than 40 employees. Smaller companies sometimes will utilize this service of ours, however, it is the larger corporations that typically have the budget for this activity. For our product launch event planning, we will be servicing companies of all different sizes. Typically the companies that use this service will be product based companies, but we will also offer this service to service-based companies who desire to announce a new service that they are offering.

Positioning
CRP will position itself as a niche service event planner serving the Seattle corporate market. The Seattle market will recognize the value that CRP provides with its specialized services. CRP will leverage its competitive edge to achieve the desired positioning. CRP's competitive edge will be based on two factors, specialization and strategic relationships. CRP will be specializing in two distinct areas of corporate planning. While specializing essentially precludes CRP participating in some other market niches, it allows the company to excel in serving its chosen markets. Additionally, the expert knowledge allows CRP to provide the service as a cost saving to the client company because it can concentrate on improving the current offerings. Improvements that CRP strives for are a reduction in cost charged to the client and an improvement to the level of services offered. CRP's second competitive edge is based on the use of strategic relationships. Geoff clearly realizes that he and his staff cannot be good at everything. CRP believes it is better to concentrate on a few things, excel in those areas, and form strategic partnerships with companies that excel in the service areas that CRP doesn't. Applying this philosophy, Geoff has decided that in addition to planning corporate retreat training sessions, he wants CRP to offer the service of hosting/ leading these events as well. The service of hosting/ leading however, is quite different than planning and CRP believes that it would be more cost effective to form a strategic relationship with an expert in this field instead of trying to become proficient in-house. CRP then is able to offer a top notch service offering of hosting/ leading the training seminars but does not have to invest heavily in developing the programs.

Strategy Pyramids
The single objective is to position CRP as the premier niche event planner serving the corporate market. The marketing strategy will seek to create customer awareness regarding the services offered, develop the customer base, and work toward building customer loyalty and referrals. This objective will be communicated using several different methods. This first method will be through the use of CRP's website. The website will be a rich source of information detailing services offered, previous customers, examples of their work, etc. The second method of communication will be through networking with Chambers of Commerce. The networking activities will be important and fruitful as a significant amount of business gets conducted through the Chamber of Commerce. By being an active member of the Chamber as well as networking with other members, a lot of business will be derived from these relationships. The last method of communication will be through participation at various trade shows. Trade shows are an excellent venue for generating awareness of the company because most or all of the participants at a trade show are there because they are seeking information. Participation at several of the larger trade shows will be an excellent source for contacts at prospective companies.

Marketing Mix
CRP's marketing mix is comprised of the following approaches to pricing, distribution, advertising and promotion, and customer service.

Pricing- The pricing scheme will be based on a per project estimate tailored to each customer. Distribution- CRP's service's can be performed throughout the Seattle regional area, determined by the needs of the customer. Advertising and Promotion- Several forms of advertising and promotion will be used including a website, partnerships/ networking with the Chambers of Commerce, and participation at various tradeshows. Customer Service- The company goes about the day-to-day operations with the belief that 100% customer satisfaction is required in order to make the business a success. All levels of the organization have been taught this and practice it.

Marketing Research
The main source of marketing research that CRP used to validate and improve their marketing plan was a comprehensive questionnaire that was administered via email. By using email as the method of delivery CRP was able to to send out far more questionnaires for the same amount of money than if they were to use more traditional, labor intensive methods, and received more responses with a faster response time. The questionnaire was comprised of 75 different questions with each question having four possible answers to choose from. The questionnaire was designed to elicit information regarding customer preferences, the different types of outsourced activities companies typically use, as well as to test assumptions held by the founders regarding the perspective market. The survey was constructed by a Statistics graduate student from the University of Washington and was heavily tested to ensure valid, significant, relevant results. A total of 300 questionnaires were sent out with a return rate of 8

31%. This return rate is far better than a traditional survey. The main factor in this extraordinary return rate is that the participants were friends or acquaintances of the CRP or someone connected to CRP, and the participants were given a heads-up to prepare them for answering the upcoming survey.

Strategic Alliances
Corporate Retreat Professionals will develop a group of strategic alliances to enhance its service offerings. The first two will be:

1st-At-The-Top.com- CRP will depend upon its website for marketing promotion and client proposal development. A clean, easy to navigate website is essential for e-commerce. But first a customer has to find the website. Listings with the large search engine data bases and subsequent placement in search results displays are a mystery to most people. In reality, it requires skilled specialized work to get a website out where customers will find it. CRP will utilize the expert services of 1st-At-The-Top.com Internet and E-commerce Consultants to build their website and position it on the Internet. Innovative Learning Goup- CRP is negotiating with the corporate trainers at Innovative Learning Group to provide the program content and facilitation of the leadership and team training seminars CRP will plan for its corporate clients.

Additional host/presentation/service provider alliances will be built, allowing CRP to offer complete start-to-finish event planning and implentation.

Financials
This section will offer a financial overview of Corporate Retreat Professionals as it relates to the marketing activities. CRP will address break-even analysis, sales forecasts, and how they link to the marketing strategy.

Break-even Analysis
The Break-even Analysis indicates that $13,129 will be needed in monthly revenue to achieve the Break-even point.

Break-even Analysis

Monthly Revenue Break-even

$9,301

Assumptions: Average Percent Variable Cost Estimated Monthly Fixed Cost 5% $9,300

Sales Forecast
CRP will, for the most part, be using the sale strategy of personal selling. With his five years of consulting for larger corporations, Geoff has formed relationships throughout the business community, and will leverage these relationships into an initial client base. Once things get rolling and CRP has developed some satisfied clients, Geoff will be building additional relationships with his network of friends generated through the Chambers of Commerce and trade shows. Geoff's spiel to prospective customers will be based on the high level of service offered and cost advantages by going with CRP. The cost savings can be quantified and shown to the customer while the higher level of service can be guaranteed as well as communicated through testimonials from satisfied clients. The website will be utilized as a powerful communications tool, supplying introductory information to prospective customers, providing an avenue for questions and answers, as well as presenting more

10

specialized information such as cost estimates and event proposals. The first month will be spent setting up the office. It is unlikely that there will be any sales activity within the first two months. During the first and second month, Geoff will be developing some systems to provide a template for future event planning. Once this is set up CRP should be able to process customer service requests rather easily. The third month will see some sales activity trickle. It will not be until the fifth month that things will really kick in. During months six through 12 sales will steadilyincrease, and this increase should continue well into year two.

Sales Forecast 2006 Sales Large companies Small companies Total Sales $58,764 $35,602 $94,366 $122,547 $65,458 $188,005 $135,855 $78,958 $214,813 2007 2008

Direct Cost of Sales Large companies

2006 $2,938

2007 $6,127

2008 $6,793

11

Small companies Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales

$1,780 $4,718

$3,273 $9,400

$3,948 $10,741

Expense Forecast
The marketing expenses are budgeted so that they are fairly high during the first quarter of operation, a strategy to develop visibility for the start-up organization. After that the expenses will ramp up during certain months to cover the costs of specific events such as different trade shows.

Marketing Expense Budget 2006 Website Networking Other $2,100 $2,950 $5,100 -----------Total Sales and Marketing Expenses Percent of Sales 2007 $1,200 $3,500 $7,000 -----------2008 $1,200 $4,000 $9,000 ------------

$10,150

$11,700

$14,200

10.76%

6.22%

6.61%

12

Controls
The purpose of this marketing plan is to serve as a guide for the organization. The following areas will be monitored to gauge performance:

Revenue- Both monthly as well as annual tracking. Customer satisfaction. Margins- A relative comparison between the two types of services offered. Percentage of new business relative to repeat customers.

Implementation
The following milestones identify the key marketing programs. It is important to accomplish each one on time and on budget.

Milestones

Advertising Marketing plan completion Website development Trade show #1 Trade show #2 Trade show #3 Name me Name me Name me Name me Other

Start Date 1/1/2003 1/1/2003 4/1/2003 7/1/2003

End Date 2/1/2003 2/1/2003 4/30/2003 7/31/2003

Budget $0 $1,000 $1,500 $2,000 $600 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Manager Geoff Geoff Geoff Geoff Geoff ABC ABC ABC ABC ABC

Department Department Department Department Department Department Department Department Department Department Department

10/1/2003 10/30/2003 1/1/2003 1/1/2003 1/1/2003 1/1/2003 1/1/2003 1/15/2003 1/15/2003 1/15/2003 1/15/2003 1/15/2003

13

Total Advertising Budget PR Name me Name me Name me Other Total PR Budget Direct Marketing Name me Name me Name me Other Total Direct Marketing Budget Web Development Name me Name me Name me Other Total Web Development Budget Other Start Date End Date Start Date 1/1/2006 1/1/2006 1/1/2006 1/1/2006 End Date 1/15/2006 1/15/2006 1/15/2006 1/15/2006 Start Date 1/1/2006 1/1/2006 1/1/2006 1/1/2006 End Date 1/15/2006 1/15/2006 1/15/2006 1/15/2006 Start Date 1/1/2006 1/1/2006 1/1/2006 1/1/2006 End Date 1/15/2006 1/15/2006 1/15/2006 1/15/2006

$5,100 Budget $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 Budget $0 $0 $0 $0 Manager ABC ABC ABC ABC Department Department Department Department Department Manager ABC ABC ABC ABC Department Department Department Department Department

$0

Budget $0 $0 $0 $0

Manager ABC ABC ABC ABC

Department Department Department Department Department

$0

Budget

Manager

Department

14

Name me Name me Name me Other Total Other Budget Totals

1/1/2006 1/1/2006 1/1/2006 1/1/2006

1/15/2006 1/15/2006 1/15/2006 1/15/2006

$0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $5,100

ABC ABC ABC ABC

Department Department Department Department

Contingency Planning
Difficulties and risks:

Problems generating visibility. The entry into the Seattle market by an overly aggressive competitor. A sudden boom in the economy that encourages companies to take on projects that they would otherwise outsource.

Worst case risks may include:


Determining that the business cannot support itself on an ongoing basis. Having to liquidate equipment to cover liabilities.

15