No doubt that marketing plan is an important stage of establishing a business. It also a key to success of the business and it includes many aspects of planned and strategic steps which will contribute to the promotion of the business, thus to the profits generation. Many stages can be included in the marketing plan, for example like location, market research, positioning, customer group, competition, the services and products you are offering, pricing, advertising, and promotion. So the marketing plan can be part of overall business plan, however; the marketing plan is more specific to the field of marketing and includes specific provision as mentioned above.
Moreover, as one of the rare established businesses in Abu Dhabi, veterinary clinic can be profitable if we look at the number of foreigners and locals who own domesticated pets and animals. As a multinational city Abu Dhabi is attracting many expats to work in this part of the world, and they “many westerners” decide to bring their pets and animals with them, as a result of that many of their animals will need to be treated from diseases and other problems. Also many locals own domesticated pets and animals, although there are governmental veterinary clinics but in the future these clinics will have problem serving the increased number patients in our case animals of course.
As mentioned above, in the following sections we will be discussing the market plan of establishing a new business which will be a private veterinary clinic. It is location will be in the city of Abu Dhabi the capital of the United Arab Emirates. And every section of the research paper will elaborate in specific area as part of the marketing plan of this imaginary business. And in the future someone can take this idea and build a real business based on the research estimations.
Kotler and Keller (2012) mentioned that some businesses give their business units the ability to set their own strategies, and others businesses set goals for their business units but let them set their own strategies.
Always all business and corporate headquarters start with four major planning activities (Kotler and Keller 2012), and they are:
1) Define the corporate mission.
2) Establishing strategic business unit.
3) Giving resources to each business unit.
4) Assessing growth opportunities.
What is important here is to know more about establishing the strategic business unit. The main purpose of establishing and identifying the corporate business units is to develop separate strategies and assign appropriate funding for each business unit (Kotler and Keller 2012). After defining the business units, now it is time to allocate resources to each unit (Kotler and Keller 2012).
After that, it is time for the business to do the following:
- Articulate the business mission
- Do the SWOT analysis
- Formulate the goals
SWOT consists of external and internal environments, and in the following sections we will discuss in more details about the points mentioned above. In our main time we can include other steps of the business unit strategy planning, and they are strategy formulation, program formulation, implementation, and feedback and control (Kotler and Keller 2012).
UAE is considered one of the developing nations in the world, and one of the richest countries in the Middle East. UAE is one of the most attractive countries for expats to settle in, it is economic situation is better compared to other Middle Eastern countries. Many countries in the world and Middle East suffered from the financial market crisis which spread among the nations; however, UAE and especially Abu Dhabi suffered from less impact of the financial market as a result of the depending on the oil as the main source of revenue. Oil prices have not been affected during the financial crisis, so Abu Dhabi became an attraction for many expats.
As a result of being a multicultural city, Abu Dhabi has attracted many new businesses. From CNN to other international companies, they opened their branches in this city.
So that, it is a good idea to open a private veterinary clinic in Abu Dhabi. Mainly to serve the increased number of expats who bring their pets with them when settling in Abu Dhabi. It is important to satisfy the high demand of these people who are looking for a distinguished service to their beloved pets. Also they are looking for a service which can be compared to the services they receive in the western countries, specialized and professional. In this case, this clinic will be depending on the best nurses and doctors who served professionally in treating animals. We are aiming at competitive prices and distinguished services which will lead to more demand on the clinic services and more profits.
It is not only that the clinic is aiming on the expats to help in generating profit, but also it is aiming on the locals who own different kinds of domesticated animals. This will lead our clinic to be more diversified and not dependent on one source of revenue.
Kotler and Keller (2012) noted that “each business unit needs to define its specific mission within the broader company mission” (Kotler and Keller 2012). So in this case it is good practice to define the business mission statement first and then decide upon the mission statements of the other business units.
So the business can be established to accomplish something, for example to manufacture some products or provide a service to their consumers. So to define the mission statement, as mentioned by Kotler and Keller (2012) “a company should address Peter Drucker’s classic questions: what is our business? Who is the customer? What is of value to the customer? What will our business be? What should our business be? ”. In many cases the business will be exposed to new opportunities and new market conditions, so the mission may change to accommodate and take advantage of these opportunities (Kotler and Keller 2012).
Businesses develop mission statement to share it with managers, employees, and in many cases with customers (Kotler and Keller 2012). It is important to create a mission statement that reflects a vision “impossible dream” and also provides a future plan of the company for the next 10 to 20 years (Kotler and Keller 2012).
So for the clinic case, we choose a mission statement to reflect as possible the above conditions. And the mission statement is:
“Our goal is important; our ultimate mission is to help customers’ pets to have longer life, with happiness and healthiness. We think that it is significant to maintain customers’ pets in healthy condition, and this can be achieved by excellent relationship with your veterinarian. In our clinic, we are committed to the excellent caring and professional service. Our clinic is proud of keeping with the best standards of medicines in veterinary field. We are dedicated to a full service clinic with state of the art medical technology “.
External / internal environment
In this stage, it is time to do the SWOT analysis; it is part of the business unit strategic planning. SWOT came from the words (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat). The internal analysis consists of strength and weakness, and the external analysis consists of opportunity and threat.
the company analyses the external environment in order to discover the opportunities and threats that need to be addressed by the organization (Drummond, Ensor, and Ashford 2008). Business unit must monitor the keys of both macroenvironment forces and microenvironment factors which can affect their ability to earn profits (Kotler and Keller 2012).
Drummond, Ensor, and Ashford (2008) mentioned that macroevironmental analysis examines a broad range of environmental factors that can affect the organization. Some of these factors include the following:
- Political / legal issues.
- Economic factors.
- Social / cultural issues.
- Technological development.
It is true that good marketing is finding, developing, and profiting from opportunities (Kotler and Keller 2012). There are three main sources of market opportunities (Kotler and Keller 2012) and they are:
1) Offering something that is in short supply.
2) Supply an existing product or service in a new and superior way.
3) Creating totally new product or service depending on the customer’s suggestions.
In the other environmental threat is “a challenge posed by an unfavorable trend or development that, in the absence of defensive marketing action, would lead to lower sales or profit.” (Kotler and Keller 2012).
So when applying the external environment analysis on the virtual clinic, we can view many favorable circumstances that encourage us to open this clinic:
First, The economy is booming in the UAE, the GDP is ranked third in the Middle East and 30th in the world (Wikipedia 2012). And the economy in the UAE is likely to expand 4 % in the year of 2012 (Reuters 2012). So it is a good time to open this clinic in the expanding time where many expats will be hired in the UAE companies and many locals will have the budget to own domesticated animals, falcons and pets. On the other hand, booming in the economy is meaning that inflation is probably in front of our doors, so that it is better to open this clinic as soon as possible.
Second, the veterinary clinic will offer a distinguished service in new and superior way. In the proposed business goal, the clinic is committed to supply and serve the customers with professional way. It is time to provide the customers with high quality caring and curing. The clinic staff should be selected from the best veterinarian available in the field in the UAE with competitive pricing. This will give the clinic the lead in veterinary field which will reflect in the generation of profit and promoting of the business. The business is aware of the competition that the company will have which gives us the opportunity to distinguish the clinic from the others.
Moreover, the clinic can encounter threats from competitions, besides the governmental veterinary clinics there at least eight private owned clinics in Abu Dhabi which will lead a really intensive competition between the clinics. It is important to know all information about the competitors to be more valuable company. By knowing the competitors, the clinic can adjust the kind of service that it is providing to its customers.
The Internal analysis examines the strengths and weaknesses of the company, so in the clinic case there are some important strengths that can be observed. For example the clinic will be offering outstanding services compared to the other clinics. On the other hand, the clinic will face high cost. According to the clinic mission it is important to have the best doctors and staff with the best equipment and state of the art technology. Also the rent can be anther constraint as a result of Abu Dhabi trend of high rents.
Market need and opportunities
As the economy of the UAE is expanding and developing, more international companies will open branches and earn a place in the country. The economy as mentioned above is probably to grow and this will lead as a consequence to more expatriates to come to the UAE. Many of the expats come to Abu Dhabi and the other emirates bringing with them their beloved animals. These animals will need clinics to accommodate them and treat them from diseases and other emergency incidents. The market is huge and there is an opportunity that should be captured. Hopefully, Abu Dhabi economy is stable and growing; many locals own domesticated animals as a result of their high salary. Also many locals own falcons or hawks as a result of their interest in falconry which is one of the most famous sports in the UAE, and it is common among common men and the sheikhs in the UAE. As indicated before, the governmental and private veterinary clinics will encounter difficulties to accommodate the number of sick animals, so that the clinics will be crowded and it is better to open more of veterinary clinics to satisfy the high demand on their services.
What is marketing? The definition of marketing according to Kotler and Keller (2012) is the identifying and meeting of human and social needs or it can be defined as “meeting needs profitably”. Anther definition offered by the American Marketing Association states that “marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communication, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large” (Kotler and Keller 2012). Also Wikipedia defines marketing strategy as “a process that can allow an organization to concentrate its limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. Marketing strategy includes all basic and long-term activities in the field of marketing that deal with the analysis of the strategic initial situation of a company and the formulation, evaluation and selection of market-oriented strategies and therefore contribute to the goals of the company and its marketing objectives”.
So what is marketed? Many things can be marketed, like goods, services, events, experiences, persons, places, properties, organizations, information, and ideas (Kotler and Keller 2012). The clinic is marketed as service company offering a range of veterinary services that can be classified as one of the best.
Segmentation / target market
According to Drummond, Ensor, and Ashford (2008), companies and organizations undertake segmentation for reasons:
1) To meet consumer needs more precisely.
2) Increase profits.
3) Segment leadership
4) Retain customers.
5) Focus marketing communications.
In segmentation process the company or organization will identify the criteria of the groups of consumers with similar needs (Drummond, Ensor, and Ashford 2008). For the clinic case, the target market has been identified; the clinic customers will be mainly from the foreigners or expats who own pets. In the second place will come the locals who also own pets, domesticated animals and falcons. Also the clinic should arrange campaigns to encourage the population to own pets and domesticated animals. This will lead to the possibility to retain the customer’s loyalty.
The clinic will know how to satisfy the consumers’ needs by offering an outstanding veterinary services, this will lead to more demand on the clinic services and as a result more profits.
It is important to admit that, it is difficult for a starting business to attain segment leadership because it is a new business in the field, but as soon as the clinic open its doors it will be distinguished by its service compared to the other clinics, it would take time but it is a fact that the clinic is committed to a high quality of services.
Moreover, market segmentation will allow the business to identify the best media channels that can reach the targeted consumer groups (Drummond, Ensor, and Ashford 2008), this will be discussed in another section of the research.
According to Blythe and Megicks (2010) the definition of positioning is “the process of creating a perception of a brand relative to competing brands. In effect, positioning refers to the place the product occupies in consumers’ minds: high or low quality, high or low price, reliable or unreliable, and so forth across several dimensions”.
It is valuable to discuss the 4P’s which are product, price, place, and promotion. The clinic will offer a service which should be extraordinary compared to the other clinics. In this case the clinic will stick with a brand of high quality as discussed above, and it should offer an outstanding services so it is not only for treatment, it will include services like grooming, selling of healthy supplements, 24/7 emergency service, free picking and delivery service, home service for VIPs, loyalty cards with discounts, and the best medicines.
The price should be competitive; the price should not be too low or too high. The clinic has to start with lower than the rest of the competitors and it will accept lower margin of profit at the starting time.
The location is so important to the success of the clinic; the chosen location is in Khalifa A city where most of the veterinary clinics are located. So most of the costumers will be aware that most of the veterinary clinics are located there, this will make it easy for the customers to find the clinic because they will be familiar with the area. Also many of the expats live in Khalifa A city or around it; this will give the clinic the attraction it needs.
Promotion is a significant part for marketing of this clinic, so the management will deduct some of the revenue for the promotion. The clinic will depend on the spread by mouth because it will have different and distinguished services. Also the location will serve positively in the promotion; many passing by customers may change their clinic to try this clinic.
The product or service itself must have several features to distinguish it from its competitors (Blythe and Megicks 2010). Some products will be about the appearance, others about the ease of use, others about the quality and reliability (Blythe and Megicks 2010). So the clinic will offer the best quality of services regarding the treatment, technological equipment, and medicine. It will have one of the best staff in the country. It will include other services like:
2) Selling of healthy supplements.
3) 24/7 emergency service.
4) Free picking and delivery service.
5) Home service for VIPs.
6) Loyalty cards with discounts.
In this case, the clinic will have a distinguished services compared to other clinics which will push it fast among the competitors and this will promote its reputation. The clinic is aiming to the leadership in its field of veterinary treatment and services.
The threats that the clinic may face can be several, one of them is about the other competitors imitating the clinic and adopting to the same services. This can be avoided by innovating new services which can lead to more attractiveness toward the clinic.
The perception of the product will be affected by the place or location where the exchange takes place (Blythe and Megicks 2010). So that the location is very important because it will position the business in the minds of the customers (Blythe and Megicks 2010).
The location of the clinic is decided to be in Khalifa A city for many reasons:
1) Most of the veterinary clinics are located in Khalifa A city.
2) The customers will be more familiar with the location because most of the competitors are located there.
3) It is one of the largest emerging cities in Abu Dhabi.
4) Many expats are living in Khalifa A city or nearby.
5) Many passing by customers may change their clinic.
The threat the clinic may face is the high prices of rent in Khalifa A city. This is a major problem the new businesses are generally encountering in Abu Dhabi, so the clinic can manage this by increasing profits.
Integrated communication analysis
As mentioned by Blythe and Megicks (2010), promotion is so important in the early stage of developing a position, but the product is established in people’s mind it will be hard to shift. Also “over-use of sales promotions can easily damage the brand and make its position worse, whereas effective salespeople can move a brand up in people’s estimation” (Blythe and Megicks 2010).
So the clinic will be promoted by many means like:
1) The clinic will open a website that shows the services it is offering.
2) Spreading brochures and flyers in important places.
3) The clinic quality services will spread a word of mouth about the clinic.
4) The location will play a major role in converting passing by customers.
Moreover, the clinic will dedicate some of its revenue in the beginning stage of its business in more expensive promotions and an example of that is to advertise in some of the radio station like Emarat FM or Star FM which are two of the most popular radio stations in the UAE.
The threat of this promotion plan is the cost, but it is an important to distinguish the clinic among its competitors. It will be costly in the beginning but after the business gets its position, it will reduce the costly promotions and focus more on generating revenues.
Blythe and Megicks (2010) discuss that “Price not only provides income for the firm, it also signals quality. People tend to assume that a higher-priced product is also of a higher quality”. However, if the customers experience something that contradict this, he will be disappointed and probably he will complaint (Blythe and Megicks 2010).
The clinic pricing strategy is to enter the market with lower prices than the competitors and with higher quality services which can lead to capture many of unsatisfied customers from the other clinics services. After gaining a position in the market, that time the clinic can raise its prices to balance them with the quality the clinic is offering.
The clinic will face the probability of hard to accept higher prices after gaining the required position, and this can lead to losing customers to other competitors.
Ethical issues and social responsibilities
Ethical issues are important to the success of the businesses; many companies find themselves facing an external pressure to comply with the ethical issues. Many customers are curious about how ethical the company is, because they have the information available to check upon the companies if they are following the ethical issues or not. And many of the customers have the knowledge and information to choose between the ethical and unethical companies. For example the company can avoid unethical issues like:
- Violation of the basic rights of employees.
- Using child labor.
- Ignoring health, safety and environmental issues.
Social responsibility is the commitment of the organization to act to the benefit of the society at large. So social responsibility is part of the success of the business as whole, customers now a day are more likely looking for a social responsible organization, an organization that care about environment issues, accompany that participate in social activities.
The veterinary clinic in this research will be committed to the ethical issues and social responsibilities. It will arrange campaigns to show the public about the importance of owning domesticated animals and pets. Also it will participate in worldwide campaigns to protect the health of the animals and protecting the extinct animals. It important for this clinic to help in sheltering the losing animals which are spread in the streets, so it will help Abu Dhabi animal shelter to collect street animals and treat them as part of the social responsibilities. The clinic should protect the basic needs of the workers as a policy of the clinic management.
In the end, this marketing plan covered the most important aspects of establishing a new veterinary clinic. It touched the purpose of opening this business in UAE, the economic reasons which favored the opening this kind of business. Also this marketing plan covered the external and internal environment that help and constraint the opening of this kind of business. It is important in this kind of plan to include the market need and opportunities that can make a difference in the future of this business. The research covered the marketing strategy that is the core of the marketing plan. Marketing strategy mentioned the segmentation and target market of the proposed business, in this part it is significance to determine your market segment and focus on them to generate your ultimate profit. After the market segmentation, the research analyzed the 4 P’s mentioning the competitive advantages and the threats of each. In the end, the research described the ethical issues and social responsibilities that can be involved in this kind of business.
After covered all the required aspects of the marketing plan, each of the marketing plan sections was discussed in depth, thus we can conclude that the veterinary clinic can be a successful business in Abu Dhabi and the reasons for that were mentioned in the research. So it is time to open this business as soon as possible before the costs climb higher.
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