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Characteristics of an Effective Marketing Plan 49 7.2 ACTION PLAN The action plan describes the specific marketing activities that the airport is seeking to accomplish. Action plans should be reviewed and updated periodically. Depending on resources available, it is a good idea to start with one or two marketing goals and three or four primary activities to establish the program. Exhibit 7.1 recaps how to design an action plan. Exhibit 7.1--Steps to Assemble an Action Plan. Step 1. Prioritize and select goals and objectives to achieve this year. Step 2. Target the audience and formulate the message. Step 3. Choose the activities that will best communicate the message. Step 4. Estimate the resources required for each activity and the source of those resources. (This includes people and money.) This step will help match activities with available resources. Step 5. Plan each activity. Prepare a list of specific tasks associated with each activity, the person or persons responsible, dates of completion, budget for the activity. Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc. A spreadsheet is an excellent tool to help with the scoping of each activity. Once the activities are planned, cre- ate a summary sheet of the activities, schedules, and budget. Chapter 13 contains worksheets to assist with evaluating specific marketing activities, scheduling tasks, and making a budget. 7.2.1 EXAMPLES OF ACTIVITIES CHOSEN The following two examples are activities chosen by small airports as part of their action plans. ST. CLOUD REGIONAL AIRPORT MARKETING CAMPAIGN St. Cloud, Minnesota, was a recipient of a Small Community Air Service Development grant. With these funds, a marketing program was constructed that included a revenue guarantee for an additional daily frequency to MSP. Implementation of the local marketing campaign included the following activities: · Permanent billboards located on Interstate 94 featuring well known local business leaders choosing to fly from St. Cloud. · Rotating posters similar to the billboards located in downtown St. Cloud and directed at walking traffic. · Radio ads that featured first-person testimonials about using St. Cloud Regional Airport (STC). · Print ads in the local newspaper announcing the additional frequency and competitive fares. · Luggage tag giveaways. Each of the marketing activities required separate planning, a budget, and coordination. St. Cloud hired a consul- tant to serve as the temporary creative director. The consultant was responsible for the design, production, and placement of each form of advertising. The airport required separate bids for each activity and the consultant was able to negotiate very competitive rates for billboards, posters, print media, and radio ads. The campaign lasted approximately 8 months and resulted in increased enplanements at STC.
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50 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports PUEBLO AIRPORT'S CAMPAIGN TO ATTRACT NEW AVIATION TENANTS Pueblo Memorial Airport (PUB) is located in Colorado, 110 miles south of Denver on Interstate 25. The corridor that spans from Ft. Collins-Loveland to the north down through Denver and Colorado Springs to Pueblo is known as Colorado's Front Range and has experienced both population and employment growth. The airport owns 2,308 acres of land reserved for aeronautical purposes and has an adjacent industrial park consisting of approxi- mately 1,475 acres subdivided into 75 parcels. Pueblo Economic Development Corporation (PEDCO) offers exten- sive incentives for businesses that add jobs to the community. As a former military base, PUB has a long runway (10,496 by 150 feet), a control tower, and ILS on both ends of the runway. The airport's principal marketing goal was to attract new aviation business. Because it wanted to gain exposure to a national audience, its target market was vendors and visitors at the NBAA convention. They crafted a message: "Clear skies over Pueblo Airport; taking your business to new heights." The tagline was developed to remind prospects that air space was free of congestion over PUB and the airport is pro-business (i.e., willing to assist new businesses to locate at the airport). The airport, local chamber of commerce, and FBO committed to a multi-year presence at NBAA to establish identity and national visibility for PUB. The following activities were selected as effective means to contact its audience: · Operate a booth at NBAA annually. · Send invitations to registered attendees and exhibitors to visit the Pueblo booth. · Give away Pueblo Salsa and airport promotional brochures to invited and walk-up traffic. · Create a list of contacts to meet at the convention, assign team members, set up appointments to visit with specific contacts. · Capture contact information and follow-up after the convention. The Pueblo program is a concentrated marketing effort. At NBAA, the airport and the FBO also have the oppor- tunity to talk with pilots and pitch using PUB as a stopover point. The City of Pueblo, the chamber of commerce, and the FBO all contribute to the cost of the booth, promotional materials, and travel. 7.2.2 SELECTING ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR AIRPORT In selecting specific marketing activities for your airport, it is useful to ask yourself about the resources needed to accomplish each activity, as well as whether there is evidence that the activity will likely to be effective. Exhibit 7.2 provides a set of questions to evaluate specific marketing activities. Exhibit 7.2--Evaluation Questions for Proposed Marketing Activities. · Is the activity currently done by the airport today and has it been effective? · How will the current activity contribute to achievement of the marketing objective? · Can the activity be undertaken in the timeframe needed? · How much will it cost to complete the activity? · Are there enough internal resources to undertake the activity, both people and money? · Do the airport manager and staff have the capability and time to complete the task, or are technical experts such as graphic designers or computer experts required? · Can those experts be found in the local community? · Are there obstacles that need to be overcome? · Are there solutions for overcoming those obstacles? · Is it a high priority activity or one that could be scheduled for a later date? Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc.
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Characteristics of an Effective Marketing Plan 51 7.2.3 STEPS TO IMPLEMENT EACH ACTIVITY Once the airport has decided on which activities to pursue, the next step is to break out those activities into spe- cific tasks, that is, what needs to be done from start to finish, persons responsible, schedule, and budget. Since most airports undertake multiple marketing activities, there should be a separate section of the marketing plan devoted to each activity. Each section would cover the following: 1. Tasks. These are all the steps needed to complete the activity. Typically, the tasks laid out in the action plan should follow a logical sequence, listing those that need to be completed first, second, third, and so on. 2. Persons Responsible for Completing the Task. Making assignments and communicating expectations will improve the odds of completing the activity on time and on budget. 3. Due Dates. The most important date to determine is the targeted completion date for the entire activity and then work backward to fill in due dates for each preceding task. In that manner, the airport manager will be able to determine the full-time commitment required for the activity. When working on a complex activity, sometimes due dates slip for a variety of reasons. Hence, the action plan provides separate columns for revisions to dates to provide clear visibility of date "slippage." It is slippage that can mean the difference between successfully accomplishing the activity and meeting the airport's marketing objective. 4. Budget. This is an estimate of what it will cost to complete the activity. Sometimes the budget is a best guess, other times the cost is both fixed and easy to obtain. If the airport has a fixed total budget, the marketing activities are defined by the available total budget. 5. Notes. Use this area to list any important notes or comments about the action plan, including assump- tions and questions to be resolved or clarified. Exhibit 7.3 presents an example of how an activity can be planned. Spreadsheets are effective ways to describe, maintain, and communicate components of the marketing plan. A worksheet can be set up using software tools such as Microsoft® Excel or Microsoft® Project so that modifications and updates to an activity can be eas- ily accomplished and sent electronically to members of the marketing team. Spreadsheets also make it easy to summarize or sort by person, schedule, and budget.
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Exhibit 7.3--Planning a Marketing Activity. MARKETING GOAL: Increase Transient Pilot Activity at the Airport DATE: (Today's Date) MARKETING ACTIVITY: Advertise in Pilot Magazine VERSION: (for subsequent revisions, as needed) Person Assigned Start Revised Revised I.D. # Task to Task Date Due Date Start Date Due Date Budget Notes 1 Obtain list of possible publications Administrative 6/1 Readership, cost to including cost estimates Assistant or PR advertise, frequency of Consultant publication 2 Review list and decide on placement Airport Manager 6/2 3 Meet with graphic artist re: design of Airport Manager & 6/5 Need to get graphic artist ad, key message, look, and feel Graphic Artist JPEG file of airport logo and tagline 4 Create ad Graphic Artist 6/5 6/10 $ 500 5 Review and revise ad content Airport Manager 6/11 6 Ad final copy Graphic Artist 6/12 6/15 7 Ad placement Airport Manager & 7/1, 8/1, 9/1 $1,500 July, August, and Administrative September issues Assistant 8 Assess results Airport Manager 10/19 10/30 Need to determine ways to evaluate if ad is effective. 9 Ad "next steps" Airport Manager Renew, change content/ publication, or stop ad TOTAL ACTIVITY $2,000 Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc.