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Marketing Plan Basics 7 A marketing plan addresses all these questions and typically includes background information to establish the reasoning behind the marketing effort. This is useful because marketing is an on-going effort and typically many people are involved. The marketing plan brings everyone up to speed and serves as a departure point for future efforts. A marketing plan is a blueprint for action and should be reviewed and updated every year. To visualize what might go into an airport's marketing plan, Exhibit 2.2 shows a sample outline of a plan. Exhibit 2.2--Sample Outline of a Marketing Plan. SITUATION ANALYSIS · What are the airport's strengths and weaknesses? · What are its main services and who are its users and tenants? · How is recent performance, and what are trends at the airport? · What are market trends in the region (and nation)? · Who is the airport's competition in each important functional area? · What are the problem areas (internal or external) that might dampen the airport's prospects? · What are the opportunities? MARKETING GOALS AND OBJECTIVES · Airport's top marketing goals (three to five) · For each goal Who is the target audience? What is the airport's competitive edge? What are achievable objectives to address this goal? What actions will help to achieve the specific objective? ACTION PLAN (CURRENT YEAR) · Specific objectives for current year · Marketing activities to achieve objectives · Sequencing and mix of activities · Staff, other organizations, and volunteer resources required · Budget and funding sources · Management and review Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc. 2.3 SEVEN STEPS TO PREPARE AND EXECUTE A MARKETING PLAN A marketing plan should be viewed in the same light and addressed with the same degree of energy as other important airport plans. Given the many ways to market an airport and the limited resources available, it is essential to have a focus for the marketing plan, that is, to define the goals and objectives, establish the mes- sage, and allocate resources. There are seven basic steps in the creation of a marketing plan. The first five steps are the planning phase of the plan and the last two are the implementation phase of the plan. The steps are shown graphically in Exhibit 2.3 and then described.
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8 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports Exhibit 2.3--Seven Steps to Creating a Marketing Plan. Planning Step 1 Goals/Objectives Step 2 SWOT Resources Step 3 Redefine Goals/Objectives Step 4 Audience/Message/Actions Tools to Reach Audience and Step 5 Deliver Message Executing Step 6 Execute Plan Step 7 Monitor/Evaluate Source: GMH Consulting, LLC 2.3.1 PLANNING PHASE Step 1. Define marketing goals and objectives. What issue is the plan designed to address; for example, attract new air service, increase hangar rental revenues, expand existing facilities? In simple terms, what is the issue you wish to address and what is your "hoped for" outcome? Step 2. Conduct strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT) analysis and assess resources. This step will probably require the most thought and input in the creation of the plan. The SWOT analysis requires you to analyze each of these attributes for your airport. In some cases, the dis- tinction between strengths and opportunities will be blurry, as will the identification of weaknesses and threats. Categorization is not important. What is important in the process is to honestly identify the positive aspects (strengths and opportunities) that will aid in accomplishing your goals and objectives as well as the negative factors that must be addressed and overcome. A survey of the resources available to accomplish the goals and objectives (e.g., finances, staffing, etc.) should also be done in conjunction with the SWOT analysis. In many cases, staffing and finances will be included in the SWOT analysis as either a strength or weakness, but resource availability requires specific attention because it influences the scope of the marketing plan and the tools used to reach the target audience.
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Marketing Plan Basics 9 Step 3. Revise goals and objectives. Based on the material developed from the SWOT analysis and assess- ment of resources, the original goals and objectives should be revisited to ensure that they are realistic and attainable. If not, the goals and objectives should be revised as necessary. Step 4. Identify the target audience, message, and marketing actions required. Based on the information obtained in the previous steps, the basic message, target audience, and actions required must be identified. An example of selecting the target audience comes from Arnold Palmer Airport in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. There, the ultimate objective was to secure air service. At first glance, one might assume the logical target audience was the air carriers. However, to persuade air carriers to provide service, community support (especially from the area businesses) was required. Thus, the target audience, at least initially, was the community. Only after first securing community support did the air carriers become the target audience. In this example, had the airport gone to the air carriers without securing community support, there is a good chance the campaign would have failed. The target audience must be in a position to react to the message and take appropriate action. Step 5. Select tools to deliver the message to the audience. The resources available to you will play a big role in what tools (e.g., use of television, billboards, Internet, etc.) are selected to deliver the message to the target audience. Chapters 10, 11, and 12 describe the many tools available to execute a marketing plan. 2.3.2 IMPLEMENTATION PHASE Step 6. Execute the plan. This phase of the marketing plan is the easiest to understand. After the plan is com- pleted, it needs to be executed, preferably with a single individual firmly in charge and responsible. Step 7. Monitor and evaluate the plan. All marketing plans, no matter how well thought out and executed must be monitored and evaluated to determine if the stated goals and objectives are being met. The monitor- ing and evaluation results might range from directly quantifiable results for some campaigns to anecdotal reports for others. The simple question to be answered is "Are we meeting the goals and objectives we set in our marketing plan?" If not, the plan needs to be modified. Each of these steps is described in greater detail in Parts 2 and 3 of the Guidebook.