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Marketing Tools 41 Exhibit 6.1--Relative Cost of Marketing Tools. Cost of Marketing Tools Free or Minimal $ $$ $$$ Press Releases Website Radio TV Ads Editorials Promotions (e.g., free tickets, gifts) Newspaper Ads Travel Related Articles Receptions Billboards E-Mail Newsletter Open House Chamber Speeches Networking Testimonials Source: Oliver Wyman Fortunately, the marketing tools that small airports use most frequently and find most effective are also the tools that cost least. The top three marketing tools for small airports are the airport website, newspaper articles, and press releases. Only the website has an associated investment and it can be a very modest one in terms of the cost to set up the website. It is worth pointing out that the small airports that are the most effective at marketing seem to market continu- ously. Even with limited budgets, they are in the public's view with great regularity. A low cost technique that is used by many of these airports is networking. Managers of these airports take every opportunity to meet with business leaders, community groups, news people, public officials, airlines, tenants and potential tenants, developers, industry groups, and a host of other individuals and organizations. Through this relentless network- ing, these airport managers succeed in getting out their message. Since much of this networking is either free or low cost, the importance of networking cannot be overstated. 6.3 TOOLS AIRPORTS USE TODAY In deciding what marketing tools to use, it is helpful to know what tools other airports are already using. Based on the interviews conducted with managers of small commercial service airports and general aviation airports, all airports rely heavily on three top tools--the airport website, newspaper articles, and press releases. Beyond these "top three" tools, airports use a wide range of other marketing tools. There are some differences, although not major ones, between the tools used most frequently by commercial service airports and those used by gen- eral aviation airports. COMMERCIAL SERVICE AIRPORTS Nearly all commercial service airports reported making the most use of their website. This was followed by the use of articles in newspapers and magazines, and then press releases and radio ads. Newspaper advertisements, chamber lunches, TV advertisements, and billboards were also used by nearly one-half of the commercial service airports. In contrast, very few commercial service airports relied on airport open houses, student education events, electronic newsletters, or magazine ads--although all these tech- niques were used to some extent. Exhibit 6.2 shows the tools used most by commercial service airports.
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42 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports Exhibit 6.2--Marketing Tools Used Frequently by Commercial Service Airports. Number of Airports Reporting Used "A Lot" Airport website Articles in newspapers or magazines Radio ads Press releases Billboards TV ads Chamber lunch Newspaper ads Printed marketing brochure Electronic newsletter Student education events Airport open houses Magazine ads 0 2 4 6 8 10 Responses Source: Airport Marketing Survey, June 2008 Airports differed in their views regarding the usefulness of market research. Some airports, both large and small, conducted customer satisfaction and travel destination surveys. Others said they regarded market research as useful, but did not have the budget for it. Still others said that they did not need to conduct market research because they knew the issues. GENERAL AVIATION AIRPORTS As shown in Exhibit 6.3, the most popular marketing tools among general aviation airport managers are the same top three tools--the airport website, press releases, and articles in newspapers and magazines. More so than commercial service airports, general aviation airports minimize the use of the more expensive market- ing tools and instead rely on a variety of low cost marketing tools. General aviation airports make use of economic impact brochures, printed marketing brochures, and printed newsletters to a greater extent than do commercial service airports. And they make much less use of the more expensive marketing tools--television, radio, and billboards. Although both general aviation and commercial service airports engage in substantial networking activities, general aviation airports focus more heavily on this form of promotion than do commercial service airports. Most general aviation airports reported multiple ways in which they networked on a regular basis (see Exhibit 6.4).
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Marketing Tools 43 Exhibit 6.3--Marketing Tools Used "A Lot" or "Somewhat" by General Aviation Airports. Number of Airports Reporting Airport website Press releases Articles in newspapers or magazines Printed marketing brochure Airport economic impact brochure Magazine ads Printed newsletter Newspaper ads Electronic newsletter Radio ads Advertising on other websites Billboards TV ads 0 5 10 15 Responses Source: Airport Marketing Survey, June 2008 Exhibit 6.4--Networking Activities Used by General Aviation Airports. Number of Airports Reporting Meet with existing tenants on regular basis Participation in state Airport Operators Association (AOA) Attend conferences Public speaking in community Meet with business prospects Membership in AAAE Participation in local chamber or rotary Operate booth at conference/convention Guest speaker at conference Meet with airlines Other Membership in ACI-NA 0 5 10 15 20 Responses Source: Airport Manager Survey, June 2008