Marketing Plans

This page can help to provide you with ideas which will enable the production of a successful marketing plan.

Developing a marketing strategy/plan

Many people mistake marketing for advertising, but it is much more than simply an advert in a paper or a shop window. It is made up of four main parts:

  • The service you offer
  • Your staff's experience and the facilities of the setting
  • Your fees
  • Communicating all of the above to potential customers

The service you can offer

As part of your market research (i.e. understanding your customers needs), you should have asked the community what they are looking for in childcare, what are their "must haves" (e.g. safe/ caring environment, special diet, opening times etc). Now you must decide what you can offer? (both tangible and intangible services) e.g.:

  • Days / times of opening;
  • Ages / needs of children;
  • Activities / equipment / facilities;
  • Additional Services, e.g. school runs etc

As part of the decision process it is important to identify a thing call Unique Selling Point, (this can be one thing or a combination of a number of different things) your business can offer. This could give parents a reason to choose you over the competition (e.g. special extended opening times, extra services, outings, particular activities, addressing cultural needs, etc).

Your staff's experience and the facilities of the setting

You need to ensure that when selecting staff and premises, how this will work to meet the customer demands.

Your fees

A pricing strategy is the way in which you set your charges for the services you will offer, ensuring you cover costs.

A pricing strategy should recognise that:

  • Parents want a choice on fees / services according to their needs or they may look elsewhere
  • To maximise profits it is necessary to maximise income
  • Offering a range of services can services can result in a range of fee

When deciding a fee structure there are a number of factors which should influence your decision on what and how to charge:

  • What are your competitors charging, make sure you compare like for like services
  • Consider quality versus price: too cheap will leave parents asking why you are cheaper than the local provision, whereas too expensive may price you out of the market for some parents
  • Charge to discourage what you really don't want to offer to offer e.g. parents arriving late, late payment of bills etc

You are now in a position to decide on the message you want to deliver to potential customers. Make sure it is:

  • Clear / concise / informative / creative
  • Stands out from the rest
  • Refresh old adverts - make sure they are smart an up-to-date
  • Assume parents need to be told everything - even obvious information
  • Use emotive words e.g. safe, secure, happy, friendly, caring, healthy
  • Aim for advertisements to entice not to sell - raise the parents' curiosity levels but don't tell them everything in the advert, otherwise they may not feel the visit is necessary
  • Leave out prices and vacancies - discuss such subjects face-to-face

It should contain the following:

  • The business name, colour scheme, logo
  • Your advert
  • Type of services offered
  • Location
  • Opening times
  • Activities
  • Skills / qualifications of staff
  • Your Unique Selling Point