It starts off with a competition analysis. This gives a good background on the competition of the industry. It goes into detail about key points in the competition at a national level and also at a local level dealing with our own personal competition. The plan conducts a SWOT analysis in detail about how our business matches up with its competition. The SWOT analysis takes me into our business relationships. It goes through the importance of alliances and our relationships with other businesses. Next is our target market. This gives a good description of who we are targeting for our business and who we aren't so much. After the target market, it guides you through our marketing strategy. This includes pricing, financial, marketing, and promotional strategies involved in the funeral business. After the strategies, it gives a thorough description of the services we provide and the prices. That leads the plan into the promotional decisions. This includes different ways our firm will promote our business to the public. Finally, it concludes with an evaluation of the performance of our business. It measures how well we reached our goals and what we need to improve on. INDUSTRY AND COMPETITORS
The funeral home industry has been at a steady decrease for the past decade. Not only is this present at a local or regional level, but at a national level. The traditional funeral service and burial are becoming less favored. Instead, across the country, families are preoccupied by external distractions. These distractions have nothing to do with the funeral homes' capabilities, but with the growing popularity of cremations. "Our cremations have tripled in the past 5 years," said Jason Monell, a funeral director in Northern Kentucky. Cremation has been a popular choice in the West for years, but the trend is sweeping the country as cremation gains wider acceptance. "In 2002, arrangements for 22 percent of all deaths in the United States included cremation, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. By 2010, the association expects that to nearly double" (Conner). There are many reasons why cremations are going to take over the industry down the road. This causes funeral directors to create other services and opportunities to make their businesses profitable.
The first main reason why cremations are gaining popularity has to do with the environment. This is probably one of the most apparent and obvious reasons. Cemeteries are starting to run out of land causing people to develop a concern. However, there are measures currently taking place to help conserve land. For example, Highland Cemetery in Northern Kentucky has dedicated a whole portion of there land to lawn crypt vaults. These vaults are eight to ten feet deep and keep two caskets in them. The cemeteries stack two caskets on top of each other with a cement vault shelf in between. The lots are often sold to older couples where they may see death occurring in the next ten years. The younger population is hesitant to purchase them due to the uncertainty of their life. Environmentalists are also concerned that rainforests are starting to get knocked out, often providing habitats for some of our endangered species. This is often the case in the South.
Another big reason cremations are gaining popularity is because of money. To most people it seems far-fetched that people think about money in such a tough and vulnerable time, but it is not uncommon. Having a direct cremation is significantly more cost efficient than having the traditional evening visitation and service the next day. The caskets or cremation boxes that are used and the services that are offered are often less expensive. These cremations add up and cause funeral homes to lose serious revenue.
The third main reason is convenience. People are starting to understand and accept the fact that they might not be living in the...