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CHAPTER 5 Public Relations Marketing and Advertising Developing public relations is one of the most important aspects of the job of an airport man- ager. An airport is a valuable community resource and economic driver for the community. Promoting it in the community and building relations on and off the airport is critical to its suc- cessful operation. Whether communicating facility goals and vision, dealing with negative opin- ions about the airport, or addressing emergency situations, the public relations component of managing an airport cannot and should not be avoided. This chapter will address the public rela- tions process and marketing as it relates to small airport management. Developing a Marketing Plan Objective A marketing plan can be a powerful tool for developing public relations and providing strategic direction for an airport. Formal marketing plans benefit airport managers in that they evaluate opportunities and problems, identify customers, assess competition, set priorities, and measure successes. This section will provide a general overview of some of the components essential to the development of a small airport marketing program. Identifying the objectives of a small airport marketing plan is an important first step. Objectives may vary between airports and are tied closely to overall organization goals and airport vision. Examples of objectives might be to increase overall utilization of the airport facility, create an image, or attract businesses to the airport. In general, meeting the objectives of successful mar- keting plans will usually require that the airport administration and businesses at the airport be marketing oriented and focused on the customer. Market Analysis Conducting a market analysis for the purpose of developing a small airport marketing plan includes evaluating airport products, services, and facilities; assessing competition; and identify- ing target markets. The plan should take careful inventory of the airport and what differentiates it from neighboring facilities that might be considered competitors. A part of this evaluation should examine the role of the airport in the community and the vision and mission established through strategic planning of the airport. The analysis might identify the airport's customers, including tenants, transient aircraft pilots, tourists, or the local community. The marketing plan might also identify segments of the market to focus efforts on, such as business customers, recreational customers, or the community. Within these segments, desirable attributes or preferences can be identified and careful consideration given to how the airport now serves these segments of the market. As an example, if the analysis 78