Avenue Park Accountants (APA) is a newly formed small accounting firm that is based in Mott Haven Division in South Bronx. The services that the company offers include tax, management/cost accounting, QuickBooks, and premium client services (outsourcing services). With a targeted increase in bookkeeping services, the firm has embarked on the development of a marketing plan that is highlighted in this report.
The proposed marketing strategy will be crucial in the attainment of the company’s objectives. Small and medium-sized organizations have been established as the main clients for the organization. Hence, Avenue Park Accountants will market itself as the preferred choice for these organizations.
The strategies proposed for use in the marketing strategy include a detailed distribution, branding, and pricing plan. These strategies have been established as providing the necessary tools for the business. PricewaterhouseCoopers remains the biggest organization the industry and the main competitor for Avenue Park Accountants.
The suggested countermeasure to be used is the marketing of the organization as the best choice for smaller companies. There is a growing trend of companies using external accountants in their organizational financial solutions. The company will capitalize on this trend.
The company under discussion is Avenue Park Accountants, which is a small business in the suburbs of Mott Haven County of South Bronx. The company specializes in accounting services where it renders them to small and medium-sized organizations in and around Manhattan and Mott Haven County of South Bronx.
In the current organization’s environment where the hiring of staff is challenging to the overall, performance, the company will fill gaps that may exist in other organizations as they reduce the number of employees, including accountants. The company will offer accounting solutions to the target organizations around the area.
The prices will be competitive enough. It will also offer scalable and very flexible services to clients, including prospective and existing ones. The employees in this organization, who are mainly accountants, will provide accurate bookkeeping services for other companies.
The establishment of a mission statement by any company is crucial since it makes the company focused on achieving its goals and objectives.
Any company that does not have a mission statement in place is bound to fail in terms of wasting funds while trying to implement plans that do not lead to the achievement of the company’s dreams. However, APA has a strategic mission statement in place. Avenue Park Accountants’ mission is to provide quality services to clients according to international standards as the market leader in the industry.
The company hopes to make the client the main resource, with services being tailor-made for each of the esteemed customers. Any organization should use its mission to guide its operations. APA has set goals that are specific to this mission statement. According to Douglas and Craig (2011), the mission statement of an organization should guide its overall operation strategy.
Branding, Pricing, and Distribution Plan
The branding strategy that the company will utilize is focused on the customers’ services and the use of advertisements. The positioning of the company’s brand will also be based on these two classifications of advertising and customer services (Melewar & Wooldridge, 2001, p. 330). About customers, branding will be focused on retaining the already existing customer base while acquiring more customers into the organization.
The strength of the company’s brand will be dependent on the satisfaction of customers. As Melewar and Wooldridge (2001, p. 330) observe, there exists a direct relationship between customer royalty and the level of satisfaction. Through advertising, the company will aim to create a brand that is easily recognizable to the general population. The other measure is that the organization will ensure promotion drives to popularize it to the target customers.
The pricing of the services provided will be competitive. The company will ensure that the clients get value for their money. The pricing of services should be by the prevailing market trends. One way of achieving competitive pricing is through the reduction of expenses and improvement of efficiency in the organizational processes.
To achieve the competitive pricing, APA firm has managed to put in place special measures such as investing in qualified accountants and reducing the operational barriers, hence allowing room for a leaner workforce and more personnel efficiency. Competitive pricing will enable the company to achieve its organizational goals.
The distribution plan adopted by an organization can determine the success that it experiences in the achievement of its objectives (Gabrielsson, Gabrielsson, & Seppäl, 2012). APA is a service provider company, with the main target being the small organizations in the area and around Manhattan.
Despite the organizational strategy, distribution is still an important part of its operations. The company has several branches, with new ones being opened in other areas shortly. The distribution will be based on customer and organizational interests.
Marketing Strategy Information
The marketing strategy adopted by a specific organization determines its success in the respective industry. Organizations aim at putting in place appropriate marketing strategies so that they can attract and retain as many customers as possible (Melewar & Wooldridge, 2001, p. 331). The marketing strategy adopted by Avenue Park Accountants will feature the use of promotional activities and direct customer contact.
Promotional activities have been demonstrated to have positive impacts on the marketing strategy of any company. Their application is also vital in determining this success. Avenue Park Accountants will use mass/print media, social networking, referrals, and web marketing as the main promotional activities in the marketing strategy.
Other aspects of promotional strategies in the company’s marketing plan include the use of newsletters and brochures. These strategies will be significant in the provision of information to the existing and potential customers.
The information to be shared in the promotional strategies includes the organization’s mission, vision, and objectives, the services that the company offers, testimonials, some case studies, and frequently asked questions (Gabrielsson, Gabrielsson, & Seppäl, 2012).
The main methods that the company will apply include internet marketing and personalized interactions between the organization and its potential customers. These measures will be subject to regular review within the organization to establish their efficacy.
The competition that is provided to a company can determine client preference and eventually, the market performance of the company. According to Gabrielsson, Gabrielsson, and Seppäl (2012), competitors can be classified into inter- or intra-competitors. Avenue Park Accountants’ competitors can be divided into two groups. The categories are crucial in the determination of the company’s overall performance.
The main competitors of the company include PricewaterhouseCoopers. This organization is located in the same industry as Avenue Park Accountants (Burilovich, 2006, p. 328). The competitor is an example of an intra-competitor working within the accounting industry to lower the cost of the provided services.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, as the main competitor of Avenue Park Accountants, has several strengths and weaknesses that can be analyzed to establish the completion strategy that will be used. The major strength that PricewaterhouseCoopers has over Avenue Park Accountants is the long period of existence in the accounting field. It has solidified its market share, thus leading to a price reduction in the industry (Burilovich, 2006, p. 328).
The organization also offers a variety of services to its clients. Through this means, it has been able to build a strong brand name that many other organizations have not been able to compete with. The other strength of PricewaterhouseCoopers is the financial muscle. It can easily influence the market for its benefit (Burilovich, 2006, p. 328).
However, several weaknesses exist in PricewaterhouseCoopers. These flaws can be exploited by Avenue Park Accountants to gain the upper hand in the competition. One of them is that PricewaterhouseCoopers mainly serves large organizations, institutions, and government agencies throughout the world.
The smaller organizations cannot afford their services (Burilovich, 2006, p. 328). Through targeting the small organizations, Avenue Park Accountants can increase its performance even in the presence of competition from PricewaterhouseCoopers
Avenue Park Accountants needs to have a differentiation strategy to ensure that it provides unique services to its clients to withstand competition from other similar companies. According to Douglas and Craig (2011), any organization that aims to succeed in a particular industry must provide a strategy that is different from the one used by its main competitor to succeed.
Since PricewaterhouseCoopers is the main contestant for Avenue Park Accountants, a differentiation strategy is necessary. As stated earlier, one of the differentiation strategies that the company will use is the provision of services to small organizations that are not within reach of PricewaterhouseCoopers (Burilovich, 2006, p. 328).
PricewaterhouseCoopers mainly serves large organizations. There is a gap in the provision of accounting services to small and medium-sized companies in the region.
The targeting of small and medium-sized organizations will involve personal interactions between the company and the potential clients. The marketing campaigns will portray the organization as catering for the smaller markets. The organization will also tailor its services to the requirements of these small and medium-sized companies, including the provision of cheaper rates.
The other differentiation strategy for Avenue Park Accountants is to provide services to the small and medium-sized companies in their respective organizations and to sell them the templates that they can use for future services.
The company will also train the financial staff in these organizations and provide close follow-up of financial activities for them. These differentiation strategies will be crucial in ensuring that the tight competition in the industry does not affect the company’s performance.
The intention of any company in an industry is to be the market leader in the respective field by providing the best services to its customers. Avenue Park Accountants intends to be a market leader in the accounting industry in the region. It has set up measures to achieve this goal.
The intention to be the market leader is also stated in the mission and vision of the organization, with the regional leader in the industry being the initial goal. The goals set should be in line with this objective (Hinz, Skiera, Barrot, & Becker, 2011).
The company is currently not a market boss in the respective industry. Several other organizations are currently performing better. The market share is also insignificant. Despite these facts, the company is still focused on market leadership. The measures that it applies include the market share proportion, the company rankings, and the revenue status.
The use of market share is an efficient way of estimating the company’s performance and position in the market (Gabrielsson, Gabrielsson, & Seppäl, 2012). In general, Avenue Accounting targets to be the market head in the accounting industry in the South Bronx before achieving market control in the region.
Impact of Macro-environment
The macro-environment factors in an area are some of the most important aspects of the determination of the performance of a specific company (Gabrielsson, Gabrielsson, & Seppäl, 2012). The impact that they have on an organization is also significant. This section looks at the impact of macro-environmental issues on Avenue Park Accountants.
The legal factors in an organization determine the operations that the company can run, the limits that it can set, and the overall performance. The legal factors in the accounting industry that Avenue Park Accountants has to deal with include the financial laws in the country and the general accounting laws. The laws are favorable to the company’s operations.
They serve to protect it and its clients from any legal matters. Fraud is also a significant problem in the industry. The legal policies in place are strict on it (Melewar, & Wooldridge, 2001, p. 330). Avenue Park Accountants has ensured that its services are within the law and that there is no covering of any kind of financial fraud in the audited organizations.
Technology is also a major factor in the operations of the accounting company. Some of the factors that are relevant concerning technology in this field include globalization. The company has ensured the application of technology in its processes. It has embraced e-marketing and e-commerce.
The adoption of technology in the operations of any organization is currently a very important step in the path towards the success of the business (Hinz, Skiera, Barrot, & Becker, 2011). Other technological innovations that are being applied in the organization include the automation of the supply chain and the use of computer software in accounting.
The social issues that have had an impact on Avenue Park Accountants include developments in the political environment. In recent years, the changes in a political environment have had a significant effect on the accounting industry (Gabrielsson, Gabrielsson, & Seppäl, 2012).
According to Douglas and Craig (2011), the government has increasingly put pressure on organizations, especially public organizations, to be transparent in their financial accounting. This strategy is a good factor in the success of the company. More organizations will seek the services to enable them to conform to the requirements. Therefore, the organization is likely to succeed in the future.
The other macro-environmental factor that contributes to the performance of the organization is the economic environment. The economy has been performing significantly better after the resolution of the global economic crisis (Gabrielsson, Gabrielsson, & Seppäl, 2012). The financial markets have also stabilized. Reforms are ongoing in the financial sector to ensure that the future economic crisis is predicted and prevented.
The strict use of financial accounting has been suggested as one of the measures that will lead to better economic performance. Hence, there is an increased demand for accounting services (Hinz, Skiera, Barrot, & Becker, 2011). Therefore, Avenue Park Accountants is likely to gain in many ways from the prevailing financial environment and better economic performance.
Due to the improvement in the economy, smaller and medium-sized companies can afford the services of the company. These organizations also reportedly lay off a sizeable number of their staff including the accounting officers, and hence the need for accounting services as provided by Avenue Park Accountants. The prevailing macroeconomic factors described above will lead to better performance in the organization.
Trend prediction and strategy
The most significant trend that will influence Avenue Park Accountants is the increased utilization of external accountants that are being witnessed in most organizations.
The quality assurance departments and the finance departments in most organizations have embarked on gaining the confidence of shareholders and other people in the organization through engaging external auditing and accounting companies, which are perceived as being impartial, more professional, and open.
They assure members of any organization of due diligence and full accountability in terms of financial accounting. This trend is the one that Avenue Park Accountants can capitalize on to ensure that it increases its number of customers.
The company will market itself as the most reliable financial partner for these organizations while assuring professionalism in dealing with companies. The trend will see an increase in the number of clients seeking services from Avenue Park Accountants. The result of this strategy is increased performance. The market share is also likely to improve if the company manages to capitalize on the trend in the prevailing markets.
Apart from aggressive marketing, the other way that Avenue Park Accountants can capitalize on the emerging trend of outsourcing accounting solutions is through the provision of extra services to organizations that frequently use the company’s services. The company should also develop a loyalty program for clients, with special benefits being accorded to clients who remain faithful for a determined period.
Activities and Responsibilities
The implementation of the strategy developed for the above company includes several activities and responsibilities. The main activities that the organization will carry out include accounting for clients, sales and marketing, management, human resource management, and financial accounting.
These activities will be vital to the organization. However, the most important will be the accounting services provided to the companies that seek the services. The accounting team will recruit the best accountants for the job. These accountants will first be trained on the implementation of the company’s objectives and goals.
The marketing activity in the organization will entail the popularization of the brand and services that it provides. A department will be set up in the organization to oversee the marketing strategy. This department will get adequate funding and management to ensure success in overall productivity. The marketing strategy that will be applied in this department will be the main driver for success in the organization.
The department will also be adequately staffed. The manager in-charge will have the freedom to make marketing decisions about the organization. The management function in the organization will be done by a team of managers who are selected based on their experience in the various fields.
The responsibilities in the organization will initially be few, with the staff being made up of program managers and accountants. The managers will be in charge of the different departments. They will delegate the functions of the organization to the other employees.
These managers will also work as a team to assess the organizational performance over a given period while providing their opinions on the required changes. The bulk of employees in the company will be accountants. This group of employees will be crucial in the analysis of the financial accounts of the companies that seek the company’s services.
The company has to be operational within the first six months after the development of the concept. This requirement is dependent on the availability of various financial and human resources (Gabrielsson, Gabrielsson, & Seppäl, 2012). Within the first month after the establishment, the organization should have the management structure in place to ensure that the operations and other activities are planned.
The next step will be the recruitment of staff to fill the different posts. These staff members will have to be adequately qualified. This activity should be completed in the second month of operation. The company will need to launch a marketing campaign to attract potential clients. The first few months will be conducted as a grace period for customers. Special rates will be provided.
Five-Year Expansion Plan
Any organization that does not have an expansion plan can be said to be stagnating. The expansion plan for any company should be time-bound and organized in a logical and achievable manner (Sarin, Challagalla, & Kohli, 2012). Avenue Park Accountants has the goal of expanding its operations in the country and globally. However, before this goal can be achieved, the five-year expansion plan presents a short-term objective.
The company has the plan of opening another branch in the South Bronx area. This branch should be operational in the next two years. The expansion into the area will consolidate the market and ensure a better presence in the region. The new branch will also be important in the provision of the necessary resources in the expansion program.
Over the next two years after the opening of the second branch, the company will embark on the opening of the third branch in Manhattan. The Manhattan area is a large market with many companies that may provide the required market for the company. There are many medium and small-sized companies in Manhattan.
These companies are also reported to be seeking accounting solutions from outside their organizational framework (Sarin, Challagalla, & Kohli, 2012). The increased number of companies requiring services of Avenue Park Accountants will ensure increased revenue in the company. As a result, the company will increase its operations in the national and international fronts.
Therefore, the five-year expansion plan will see the creation of two more branches of Avenue Park Accountants. This step will see it develop into a regional company. The expansion into the region will also enable the company to improve its market performance. The position that it holds in the market will increase. The projections because of the expansion include the objective to double the revenues every year for the first five years. The growth in revenue and profit is expressed in the graphs below.
Figure 1: Likely trend in profit over the next five years
The media is a very potent marketing tool. The use of the media in marketing provides an advantage for any organization.
In the current age of globalization and information sharing, the media and especially the social media is recognized as having a phenomenal influence on the decisions made by clients in any industry (Gabrielsson, Gabrielsson, & Seppäl, 2012). Many tools may be utilized in marketing through the media. However, each of them has their application and advantages.
Avenue Park Accountants will use two basic tools in the marketing strategy. These tools are chosen based on their efficacy. Some of the key media tools to be used include commercials. The development of commercials in the media will expose the company to potential clients, thus increasing its overall performance in the industry.
The use of commercials is an effective way of advertising. Organizations are currently spending billions of dollars in their commercial advertising. There is also the advantage of reaching the desired client base using commercials.
The second tool that the organization will use is the creation of a website on the internet. The creation of a website will provide a platform for the company to market itself, including the provision of the necessary information to the ever-growing number of internet users.
Website development will also be important to the company, as it will help it launch its e-marketing and e-commerce operations. Clients will be able to transact with the organization through the internet. There will be the provision of the necessary information. The justification for the use of the website is that it will lead to the expansion of Avenue Park Accountants on the internet, which will, in turn, attract diversification of its services.
Managers express the requirements of performance in any organization as the performance standards. The two performance standards that the organization management will use include the increased performance of the organization in terms of market share and the increase in the number of clients. If achieved, these performance standards will be crucial in the performance of the organization.
The increased market share will lead to a better organizational profit. The increase in clients will also enable the company to expand its operations with the opening of more branches.
The monitoring methods to be used include the profitability of the organization and the mean value of the transactions. The profitability of the organization will be important in assessing whether it is viable or not while the mean value of each of the transactions will be used to measure the overall market performance.
A higher value will mean improvement in pricing and efficiency within the organization. The financial control measures that will be applied in addition to the computerized bookkeeping in the organization include budgeting and regular review of inventory. Budgeting is a known way of financial control in organizations.
If any of the other controls fail, budgeting will complement them (Douglas, & Craig, 2011). The regular review of inventory means that organizations can keep track of financial operations, and hence a good addition to the financial controls (Sarin, Challagalla, & Kohli, 2012).
Potential for Performance
The overall performance of the company is likely to improve with the marketing plan implementation. The objectives of the marketing plan include positioning the company to a greater level in the competition.
The overall performance will depend on the application of the marketing strategy and the people that are charged with the responsibility of overseeing its implementation. The proper implementation of the plan will change the company’s objectives and ensure that it can get more clients to participate.
The company has the potential to be the market boss in the region. The measure that can be used to assess this achievement is the market share. There is also a likelihood of continuous profitability, with the organization recording increased returns in the next five years.
Competition may be the biggest hindrance to success. Nevertheless, with proper implementation of aggressive marketing, the effects of the high competition will not be felt.
The alternative strategies used by Avenue Park Accountants will also position it at a better place in the productivity scale. The profitability in the organization is likely to be experienced if the management cultivates the right organizational culture since the company can record significant failure in case the culture is not favorable.
Integrated marketing communications
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) enables managers and other people in organizations to coordinate and integrate the marketing communication tools that have been developed (Sarin, Challagalla, & Kohli, 2012). IMC allows the development of a seamless program that minimizes the cost of marketing while at the same time maximizing on the impact of the plan on customers (Douglas, & Craig, 2011).
The first step in the development of an integrated marketing communications plan is the establishment of the problem. For Avenue Park Accountants, the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats have been discussed as leading to the development of the marketing plan.
The marketing objectives were also set. They were related to the market share, the competitive position, desired customer actions, and the number of sales (Sarin, Challagalla, & Kohli, 2012).
The budget is the third factor in the IMC plan. The marketing plan for Avenue Park Accountants establishes that the budget will be a useful control measure. The evaluation of the marketing strategy will use the suggested financial controls, monitoring methods, and performance standards (Douglas, & Craig, 2011). The media tools to be used include television advertising and the website designed for the organization.
In conclusion, the application of a marketing strategy is important in the success of Avenue Park Accountants. The different components of this application have been discussed in the marketing strategy. The company will specialize in the provision of accounting solutions to the small and medium-sized organizations in the area where it is established. The branding, pricing, and distribution plan have been provided.
The application of these strategies will be crucial to the success of the organization. PricewaterhouseCoopers is established as the main competitor. Avenue Park Accountants will focus on the small organizations that are not its main priorities while capitalizing on the growing trend of using external accountants in an organization. The company also intends to be the market head since the macro-economic factors in the region are in its favor.
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