Our marketing strategy will be based mainly on making the right information available to the right target customer. We will ensure that our services’ prices take into consideration people’s budgets, and that these people appreciate the service and know that it exists, including where to find it. The marketing will convey the sense of quality in every picture, every promotion, and every publication.
There is already a sense of segment strategy in the way we define our target market. We are choosing to compete in areas that lend themselves to local competition, service and channel areas that match our strengths, and avoid our weaknesses.
Our strategy calls for the development of relationships with investment bodies, attorneys, accountants and financial institutions to support our business with referrals. Interviews with commercial loan officers have indicated that there is a serious need for a professional firm like ours to help their clients in market/marketing research, and development of comprehensive and concise business and marketing plans.
There are numerous companies operating in Nigeria who classify themselves as "business consultants". However, upon contacting these, it appears that the vast majority of these companies are bookkeeping and secretarial services companies. There are some companies that provide services similar to those offered by us and that is good, but none of them specialize in market/marketing research.
The following are some of our main competitors:
The high-level prestige management consulting firms
Strengths: Prime locations managed by owner-partners with a high level of presentation and understanding of general business. Enviable reputations, which make purchase of consulting an easy decision for a manager, despite the very high prices.
Weaknesses: General business knowledge doesn’t substitute for the specific market, channel, and distribution expertise of Sipas, focusing on local markets and products/services. Also, fees are extremely expensive, and work is generally done by very junior-level consultants, even though sold by high-level partners.
General Business Consultancy firms
Strengths: Expertise in certain functional areas particularly bookkeeping. Sipas intends not to compete with general business consultancy firms in these markets.
Weaknesses: The inability to spread beyond a specific focus, or to rise above a specific focus, to provide actual marketing and market research expertise, experience, and wisdom beyond the specifics.
The most significant competition is no consulting at all, companies choosing to do market research, business development and channel development in-house.
Strengths: No incremental cost except travel; also, the general work is done by the people who are entirely responsible, the planning is done by those who will implement it.
Weaknesses: Most managers are terribly overburdened already, unable to find incremental resources in time and people to apply to incremental opportunities. Also, there is a lot of additional risk in market and channel development done in-house from the ground up. Finally, retainer-based antenna consultants can greatly enhance a company’s reach and extend its position into conversations that might otherwise never have taken place.
Attorneys and Accounting firms
Strengths: Able to provide sound accounting or legal advice and services with the plans being done by the partners.
Weaknesses: They often lack the imagination to write a comprehensive and effective business plan. The attorneys tend to dwell on the legal aspects and contractual arrangements while accountants sweat over the balance sheets, cash flow statements, product costs and income statements. Very little market research, if any, is often undertaken, and often ineffectively.
We have sought to identify competition in terms of companies that satisfy the same client needs that we intend to. Our competitors are few in our main service, and, including Government agencies, numerous in our ancillary services. There will be a need to strongly differentiate ourselves from these other businesses. However on a broader scale our competition comes in several forms:
The most significant competition is no market research consulting at all, companies choosing to do market research, business development and channel development in-house. Their own managers do this on their own, as part of their regular business functions. Our key advantage in competition with in-house development is that managers are already overloaded with responsibilities, they don’t have time for additional responsibilities in new market development or new channel development. Also, Sipas can approach alliances, investment bodies, and channels on a confidential basis, gathering information and making initial contacts in ways that the corporate managers can’t.
The high-level prestige management consulting: XXX and international firms. These are essentially generalists who take their name-brand management consulting into specialty areas. Their other very important weakness is the management structure that has the partners selling new jobs, and inexperienced associates delivering the work. We compete against them as experts in our specific fields, and with the guarantee that our clients will have the top-level people doing the actual work.
The third general kind of competitors are the various trading and Investment bodies. These companies are formidable competitors for published market research and market forums, but cannot provide the kind of high-level customized consulting that Palms and Bonds will provide.
The fourth kind of competition are the business consultancy firms, which undertake business plans for various organizations. The fifth kind of competition are the numerous "fly-by-night" business consultants that claim to offer the same services as we do. Often they offer a below par service with no qualified personnel.