What are your Services?

If you have already completed the 'define your customers' worksheet, then the next step in producing your marketing plan is to formally define what your products and services are, and to quantify this. This can often be easier than defining your customers because you can get real figures from your accounts if you have collected the information already.

But what do we mean by a service? Surely being a dive centre is the service you offer. True, but unless you understand the split of your business into different types of activity, you cannot start to market effectively to the different types of buyers who want the different services.

Our Hint: Start by being honest and splitting up what you make today - if you can, put some rough percentages alongside each service (eg 30% certified divers, 20% courses). Then in the final column decide what you want in the future. All you need to do then is work out plans to specifically target those groups.

Service Examples My Profile Today Target Future Profile
Certified Divers Local or day excursions with divers who already have qualifications. If this is a large %, break it down more .. eg Shore diving, boat diving, wreck diving.    
Diving Courses Training people to dive, or undertaking more advanced qualifications    
Try-dives Discovery dives, DSD's, Introductory dives, in the sea or the pool    
Snorkelling Organising snorkelling training, excursions, or rental    
Retail Sales Sales of diving equipment, logbooks, training packs etc    
Air fills, Equipment Rentals    
Referalls, 3rd Party Sales E.g. Sales of insurance policies, Commissions from hotels and lodging    
Minor Services (or "Other") If you are only making small amounts on some categories then they are not a focus, so group them as "other"    

Put the words together and you should be able to come up with a definition of your services something like this :

  • Example 1 - A dive centre near Scapa Flow or Truk Lagoon "75% of the business comes from excursions by boat; 10% comes from advanced courses such as Nitrox; 10% comes from retail - sales of T-shirts, books; 5% comes from minor services including fills, rentals, servicing and boat excursions by non-diving groups"
  • Example 2 - A beach-front dive centre in a popular tourist destination (not renown for the quality of diving). "30% of our business will come from try-dives; 20% from courses and 20% from certified divers; 18% from retail sales including beach gear; 7% from commissions and 5% Other"

Tips on using your service profile

For every part of the statement you have put together above, you now have empowered yourself - you can make important decisions about what you are going to offer and how.

Here are some Marketing Hints to help you use the results.

  • The first and most important rule is "you cannot sell every service". Now is the time to focus on what is sucessful!
  • Focus on the three most important, and put your effort into marketing just these.
  • Make sure that your most profitable service is your biggest service, if not aim to grow it so it becomes the biggest.
  • There is no 'ideal mix'. It is up to you and depends on the costs of providing each service. Two dive centres side by side may have different service focus, or different facilities and both still be sucessful.
  • In your future profile, try not to be "me too" and just copy some competitor .. look for the gaps, what are they not offering ?
  • Be realistic in how much you can change.
  • Check out the photos on your publicity material and website. Do the pictures reflect the type of diving you want to promote? Are there separate pages in the website about each of your main services?

What is the next step in Building your Marketing Plan

If you have now completed the customer profile worksheet and the service profile worksheet (above) you have probably already got some ideas about where you could grow your business.

The next step is to complete the source of business worksheet and come up with a simple split of where you get your business from. When you have all three worksheets completed it is time to get some final information and then work out your plans to achieve the growth or change in focus that you want.