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Accounting services in four adjacent counties are listed in local directories, and do advertising in local papers, but are not included in the above list. Marcus Accounting is attempting to carve out a third segment in the market; that of self-employed, home-based businesses and small businesses who, like many non-business individuals, currently maintain their own financial records and prepare their own tax returns.
A review of competitors' marketing strategies reveals no one launching a major attack on the Market County market. Many are advertising through Yellow Pages, and in newspapers during tax season, but the general approach to get new business is through networking, referrals, and personal selling.
If new business of a certain type is desired, personal calls are made with targeted accounts.
Other strategies used by area firms include telemarketing and encouraging and rewarding present clients to refer future clients. Networking within business groups, civic groups, church groups, etc. Groups may also offer the opportunity for the business person to give a talk to the membership—an excellent public relations opportunity.
A threat to be aware of is the emergence of new competitors. The barriers to entry are low, and the local university turns out hundreds of accounting majors every year.
The accounting program is very strong there, and offering classes at non-traditional times and locations attracts area adults who may be looking for a second career leading to their own self-employment in an accounting business.
Market Research Summary A hypothetical behavior sequence model for a new client individual using an accounting service for the first time might look something like the following: Individual decides to utilize the services of an accountant to prepare taxes.
The need can arise anytime, but late fall and winter months are when most people are thinking about their tax situation.
Individual investigates alternative accounting services. Criteria for selection include: Based on the information received, the individual makes a decision and schedules an appointment with the accountant.
The accountant should do everything possible to ensure a satisfactory experience for the client, so that future business and future referrals are not at risk.
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This means preparing the client as much as possible for what will happen what kinds of records and documents to bring, what kinds of questions will be asked, etc. Because of the confidential nature of income tax preparation for individuals, and financial recordkeeping for businesses, people do not tend to jump around from accountant to accountant, unless they become significantly dissatisfied with the service they are receiving.
An investment is made on behalf of both parties to understand each other, communicate, and retain information from year to year. Marketing strategies will build on this model—taking advantage of precipitating events, fostering word-of-mouth recommendations, and creating satisfaction through interacting with the client.
Summary of Opportunities and Threats in the Environment Overall, the environment appears very positive for Marcus Accounting. On the negative side, there is significant competition, and it will take a while for Marcus Accounting to get "established.
Marketing Strategies Target Markets - Business Market County Small businesses up to 20 employees with an emphasis on new business start-ups Self-employed for example, contractors Home-based businesses for example, consultants, freelance, professionals Target Markets - Consumer Market County Upper-income households New residents in the area Women elderly or single Seasonal residents Positioning and Product Strategy For both business and consumer clients, Marcus Accounting will be positioned as a full-service accounting service that takes the time to get to know the client's business or situation and become a financial partner "keeping an eye on the client's dollar.
Marcus Accounting will aim to attract the business clients needing monthly accounting services in order to even out revenues throughout the year. Consumer clients primarily need annual tax filing services; however, in keeping with the positioning, Marcus Accounting will also offer tax planning, personal budgeting, credit counseling, and checkbook reconciliation services.
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