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OCR for page 79
Public Relations 79 identifies business aviation as a market segment, desirable attributes might include having excel- lent instrument approaches or even clean restrooms. The airport manager can then assess current conditions or set priorities based on identified attributes. A good marketing plan will also allow for a detailed examination of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of the airport. It may be helpful to organize this assessment in relation to the identified target markets. As in the previous example, if business aviation is a target market, then the SWOT analysis should break down how the airport currently serves this market and list the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to serving the business aviation segment. Developing Marketing Strategies and Priorities Marketing strategies for small airports vary widely, from simple to complex depending on the resources available to a particular airport. An airport marketing plan should identify and list these strategies, which may include materials such as brochures, tours, print advertising, events, press releases, direct mailings, or a website. These are just a few potential airport marketing strategies but by no means the limit. Airport managers should be innovative and list all potential ideas, focusing on attributes of the airport, community, or geographical region that may lead to new strategies. After compiling the potential marketing strategies it is important to prioritize these efforts and their frequency. For example, if the plan identifies the strategy of publishing an airport news- letter, the airport manager can rate this as a high marketing priority to be disseminated quarterly. Developing marketing strategies, prioritizing, and determining frequency of application will assist the airport manager in implementing the plan toward effectively meeting plan objectives. Small airport budgets do not usually allow for nor is it normally practical to implement all potential marketing strategies identified in a small airport marketing plan. Prioritizing strategies and scheduling implementation will help managers phase in marketing techniques and adjust budgets accordingly. Often there are few costs involved and techniques are ongoing. Measuring Success It is typically very difficult to measure the effectiveness of a small airport's marketing program. A good marketing plan, however, will attempt to measure the effectiveness of implementing mar- keting strategies and how effective these strategies are toward meeting objectives. A system of monitoring and surveying customers about these programs may be helpful. Other indicators of success can be measured, such as monitoring changes in the number of based aircraft or opera- tions. Determining these indicators depends largely on what strategies are implemented to reach which target market. An airport manager should also review plan implementation and effective- ness periodically to assess any changes in objectives or overall marketing goals of the airport. Community Relations An airport is an important part of any community, and as part of the public relations effort, airport managers must understand the needs of the community and build relationships with the community as a customer and stakeholder in the facility. Airport representatives should provide open communication not only with primary users of the airport and tenants but also with com- munity groups, political leaders, neighbors, and others. When communicating the benefit of the airport to citizens of a community, it is important to describe the elements of the airport that make it valuable. The community should be made aware