It is always the case: appliances breakdown when you need them the most. Today’s high will be 94, with the heat index at about a million. After venting my frustration at an inanimate object, I realize someone must repair the air conditioner; however, it will not be me. Since I know as much about repairing appliances as I know about quantum physics, I solicit recommendations from friends about repair companies. Jenn Electric, a local company, is highly recommended. I confirm on Angie’s List that it is reputable. I call; a repair person will come out in three days between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and charge 60 dollars for an estimate.
When the repair person arrives at 2:05 p.m. to my surprise it is an old friend from college. After some reminiscing and current events, John Paul says, “Since you=re in marketing, how can I increase my business?” In other words, improve my company’s sales in the next five minutes or be exposed as a charlatan! A simple question with a complicated answer.
We discuss the business: he advertises in the Yellow Pages and the Penny Saver (i.e., a weekly publication of local news but mostly advertisements), but most advertising is by word-of- mouth; he places stickers with the company name and number on repaired items; and he distributes business cards. The busiest time of the year is summer. A company representative will travel up to 50 minutes for a customer, basically, the entire Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area. The business is family owned. John Paul and his father are the repair people, and John Paul=s wife is the receptionist/office worker. Both repair people are certified by GE Electric, the father with more than 19 years of experience. Although John Paul has worked for Jenn for only three years, the business was started by his father 14 years ago.
In between dismembering my air conditioner, John Paul offers me his business card which he explains is basically the same as the Yellow Pages and Penny Saver advertisements. The business card is as follows:
Dismemberment, though, is not listed. With parts strewn all over, I am hoping John Paul concentrates on repairing the air conditioner, but he continues to [email protected] me for information.
The problem, according to John Paul, is getting new customers, not in keeping current customers, most of whom seem satisfied although they do not gather information on customer satisfaction. With each household having multiple appliances, even a small increase in customers could prove very valuable. “We did create a flyer once,” he mentions, “a simple one-page that detailed the same info as the business card and Yellow Pages, but it didn’t produce any results.” After further questioning, John Paul reveals that the advertisement may not have looked very professional and was only delivered on one occasion to areas within walking distance of their office. John Paul asks, “Maybe you could design an ad for us?” Jokingly, although I am hoping he will agree, I say, “Maybe we could barter the repair cost for my assistance in your advertising?” He does not answer.
In detailing competitors, John Paul says, most are short-lived. Hence, it is easy to start a business but difficult to stay in business. Jenn Electric’s customers, according to John Paul, want affordable, dependable service with a company that will be in existence a year from now. When I press him about which is more important, he admits he does not know. The company does not even keep a list of customers.
Although John Paul wants a quick, succinct answer, I promise to consider his situation and get back to him within a few weeks.
Assuming Jenn Electric operates in the Tampa Bay area, how would you improve Jenn Electric, specifically, to increase the number of customers, company profit, and customer satisfaction? Your answer must detail, at a minimum, (please answer by question):
i) specific company objectives (SMART);
ii) segmentation (list possible segments in the market)(be very specific);
iii) Jenn=s target market (choose one or more segments from part ii);
iv) Jenn=s competitive advantage (provide justification);
v) marketing research (include a survey questionnaire on a separate page);
vii) product modifications (marketing mix/4Ps);
viii) creative brief and advertisements; and
ix) media plan (types of promotion used and a schedule of when they run for the next six months).