The company started out simply as a concierge services business. It became clear that the services we offered were in demand. If we wanted to grow the company, we had an opportunity to do so. Expanding the company has been hard work and sometimes difficult. I am head of the marketing division. I planned well, planning carefully how to approach each new market. It is hard to plan for every detail especially in the international markets. Each market had to be treated differently because of differences in culture, languages and regulations. Before I could market the service really well I had to have some idea of the number and type of services we would be offering so I did not make promises that the company would not be able to keep. For example for the babysitting services – how many people would be available? For drivers – How many people would be available? I could not market to hotels if the projections for their needs were greater than the employees we had to do the job.
At the same time the expansion was taking place all the regular work had to be done. A big challenge was keeping the databases 100 percent up-to-date with the information marketing could provide. Along with the expansion into new markets, new services were added. This caused a stretch to the capabilities within the marketing department.
The marketing plan was divided into subsections. For example the first was to gain a detailed overview about the new market under consideration. We needed to know how many conferences were held each year in the city and how many people attended. Then we needed to find out the types of concierge services that were already available. If every hotel offered rides back and forth from the airport to the hotel then there was no need to market that service. We also needed to look at the types of services hotels were offering and estimate the gap in services that needed to be filled.
The international markets were the most challenging to establish because they were so ready to sign up for the services there was a problem in marketing selling more packages that could not be met exactly on time. This caused a lot of frustration on everyone’s part. We had marketed to high profile corporations for our services and needed to be able to meet our promises. Other markets were more flexible (like international hotels and conference centers) but the corporate customers were difficult because they had no room for flexibility.
The situation created a lot of tension and anxiety but in the end it all seems worthwhile because of the success of the company. I had more experience than ever before in communicating with team members who were non-marketing. I prefer to work on my own and workout all the marketing with aid from people in my own department but I have never talked with people from other departments. The experience of team work with people from different parts of the company was a strange concept for me. The experience was valuable though. More and more I am asked to deal with problems as part of a team so I need to change my style. The diverse marketing plan is great in terms of making sure the company can remain stable when economic times are hard in one country. So when part of our market is on hard times the other part of the market can see us through until everything improves. I had to deal with personal challenges to my usual style of doing business. This will help me in the future.