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1. Executive summary
This report presents an inclusive international marketing plan which has been formulated for London’s Ships, operating in the tourism industry of the UK. The marketing plan primarily aims to generate awareness within its target market regarding the products and services offered by the enterprise. This plan also aims to promote the historic partner museum ships with in the global tourists’ market. These partner museum ships are members of London’s Ships. This marketing plan is the primary plan formulated for a period of one year. The target market that has been defined by the marketing plan is formed of those people who keep keen interest in the UK’s history and heritage and falls within the age bracket of 35 to 65. This target market lives in USA. The marketing plan has been designed upon carrying out an examination of the UK tourism industry. The industry has been influenced by the distressed economic condition and requires expansion with the help of the UK government. It has been further recognised that micro and macro industrial environment has the capability to impact the enterprise and its subsequent performance. The marketing plan identifies the objectives based upon which the marketing strategy and the communication channels have been proposed. This plan also ascertains the implementation plan with identified responsibilities and time period. Furthermore it has also been postulated that the plan should be persistently monitored and assessed against the performance indicators. The key factor based upon which the plan has been proposed is the consistent monitoring and reviewing of the performance and expected outcomes of the marketing plan so that performance issues can be addressed.
2. Objectives of the enterprise
2.1. To develop and expand the business of the enterprise by means of expanding the market and develop the brand of London’s Ships.
2.2. To propagate the museum ships as esteemed members of London’s Ships as well as the heritage of the UK.
2.3. To amplify the revenues generated by the business by means of accomplishing business sustainability and subsequent expansion.
3. Assessment of the environment of the market (source: London’s Ships corporate website; Business Source Premier, 2009, case study: London’s Ships of Historic Interest Partnership)
3.1. Micro environment: Carrying out the SWOT analysis of the enterprise, it has been assessed that the strengths are representation of the company as the heritage of the UK whereas the member vessels of the enterprise are some of the famous and well known museum ships. The weaknesses of the enterprise are its dependency on the tourism industry of the UK which had directly affected the performance of the enterprise. London’s Ships lacks in adapting to the technological innovation such as e- commerce website that can facilitate the business in increasing its sales and revenues through providing information, knowledge regarding the offered products and services by the enterprise. Additionally an e- commerce business infrastructure can also provide the international tourists to do online booking, which also is the missed opportunity by the company. Thirdly the major weakness has been observed as the uncompetitive website of the company which lags far behind in providing information and interaction of the business with its customers and stakeholders. The opportunities that lie ahead of the business are to take advantage of the investments by means of expanding and enhancing the e- marketing and online presence. Secondly with improvements that are expected in the UK economy are also expected to influence the industrial development, hence laying positive impacts on the business growth. The threats to the enterprise are seen in the form of competitive tourism industry of the UK which has the potential of attracting new market entrants who are eager to snatch the opportunities through forming associations with existing companies and increasing their market share. Secondly the other business affiliates such as hotels, car rental service providers etc can also threaten the company through making strategic alliances with the competitors.
3.2. Macro environment: the tourism industry of the UK had got affected by the existing economic turbulence. Therefore the tourists’ operators have been under constant scrutiny that whether or not these operators effectively furnish the value for money. The number of tourists visiting the UK has been declined since last nine years (Mintel Oxygen, 2009). Therefore the tourism industry is facing challenges in terms of attracting the tourists due to slow development, lower business revenues and scarcity of competent and skilled people.
3.3. It has been assessed that in order to provide efficient services by the industry, hit mandates persistent investments to be made in the development of people and the products. The tourism industry of the UK demonstrates high potential to survive even in the distressed economic situation nevertheless, significant considerations must be made by the government to promote UK tourism as one of the key economic drivers. The subsequent result of expanding the industry will be job creation within the industry, increased revenues that will be shared by the market and most importantly giving a boost and financial injection to the distressed and recovering UK economy.
4. Identification of the target market
The marketing plan primarily aspires to target a single market which is USA market. Upon the effective implementation of this marketing plan, other target markets will be defined and approached. As indicated, the target market falls within age the age bracket of 35 to 65 years. The target market has been assessed to keep a keen interest in exploring the world tourist’s sites due to their expenditure power. A brief analysis of the USA market has been given below along with the reasons for choosing this market as the target market for the marketing plan:
4.1. PESTEL analysis of USA (USA country profile, Euromonitor International, a, b, c 2010)
The political arena of the USA raises concerns due to its involvement and approach towards international politics. Within the USA the expenditure of the government on social security and Medicare contributes towards two- fifth of the spending of the federal government which has been accused of increasing with an unjustifiable rate. Therefore due to the economic turbulence this funding has been affected which translates into instability of the USA government. The economic condition of the country appears to be distressed. Although currently the GDP seems to be stagnant, however it is expected to grow up to 3.1 per cent by the end of year 2010. The GDP is also expected to grow up to 2.6 per cent by the end of year 2011. The social landscape indicates towards a high living standard inclusive of yearly and even frequent trend of holiday making. The tourism spending has increased by the end of 2009 whereas decline in the inflation rate also indicates towards a promising picture. There has been increasing interest noted by the global tourist industry in the UK tourism industry due to increased efforts made by the local industry in increasing inbound tourism in the UK (Mintel Oxygen, 2009). Out of the most famous tourism attractions in UK are its historical buildings, museums etc. There has been an increase in inbound tourism in the UK, hence attracting the tourists from the USA market has been done because the USA is bigger market with increasing expenditure on tourism.
5. Marketing Objectives
The marketing objectives have been drawn on the business objectives of the enterprise as indicated in section 2. These objectives have been set as:
5.1. To obtain a larger market share of the global market and also obtaining a larger share up to five per cent of the USA market in first year of implementation of the marketing plan.
5.2. To develop the relationship with the customers and stakeholders of the enterprise.
5.3. To develop a brand of the enterprise by means of creating an awareness of the enterprise as well as museum vessels.
6. Proposing a marketing strategy (inspired by Bangs, 2002; Chinsall, 1995).
The following marketing strategy has been proposed to be adapted by the enterprise so that the defined marketing objectives can be attained:
6.1. Product: The enterprise requires developing its product and branding portfolio by increasing the quality and operational characteristics of the products and services that are being offered to the customers. It is recommended that the developed products and services should be coordinated with the needs and demands of the USA tourists. In addition to the development of the product portfolio the enterprise also requires to provide effective customer services that are designed to gain ultimate customer satisfaction. These efforts should be made in line with the brand development initiatives under taken by the management. Within the same context, introducing products such as green tourism should also be introduced that supports preserving ecology and bio- diversity. The prime objective of the developed product and brand portfolio should be addressing the target market coupled with services such as loyalty scheme, extra mileage scheme, easing out the accessibility for the disabled tourists.
6.2. Price: The adapted pricing strategy of the enterprise should be a combination of competitive and premium pricing strategy. This has been proposed so that the tourists can be capable enough of spending on the tourist products and attractions with varied choices.
6.3. Place: There is an immediate requirement of the development of the e- commerce based infrastructure of the enterprise. It has been therefore suggested that London’s Ships should form strategic alliances with other tower operators to come up with competitive tourists products laden with trade discounts, competitive products etc. The development of e- commerce channel should be in line with brand development as well as creating the brand awareness of the corporation and its products and services.
6.4. Promotion: The enterprise should adapt multiple promotional channels such as e- marketing, public relations, social networking and so forth. Most importantly the company should concentrate on making a strong and consistent presence of the company as well as expansion of e- commerce website within this regards it has been suggested that the company should make its distinction on major search engines like Yahoo, msn etc. The reason behind doing so is to generate online traffic for the company as well as including provision of shared links in coordination with other e- commerce websites / companies offering similar services and products to the customers. The company can also improve its web presence by means of including familiar key words and by means of paying a specific amount to major search engines so that the web link of London’s Ships can be sponsored and appear with the results of the search engine. This can be made possible through outsourcing a search engine placement company whose job is to generate customer awareness, increase online traffic etc. for the enterprise. Most importantly London’s Ships should adapt to the process of email marketing. An e- mail marketing campaign that is designed for generating revenues as well as retaining customers likely to provide benefits such as higher number of customers visiting the website, increased brand awareness, brand development. Further on email marketing can also benefit the company through giving a cost effective solution that is equally influential in attracting global tourists towards the UK tourism industry. Some of the compatible channels of communication of e- marketing are newsletters, brochures etc.
6.5. In addition to the above recommendations the company should also adapt to the online public relations so that the customers and stakeholders are consistently kept well informed about the company and the brand along with development of the brand in context of supporting global ecology, low carbon economy and green tourism pertaining to bio diversity.
6.6. Most importantly the company should also strengthen its relationships with its customers and business partners so that the objectives of retaining the customers and obtaining a higher percentage of global market share can be attained.
7. Implementation plan (inspired by Kotler, 2006)
Strategy- Implementation plan -Identified responsibilities -Start date-End date.
Develop products portfolio and brand of the company along with creating the product and brand awareness: implying marketing and advertising channels along with branding and online public relations actions in order to promote the product portfolio. Creation of the awareness of the company and its brand should be carried out through promotion the marketing massage which is influential enough to successfully attract the customers to the member vessels of the company. Marketing manager, executive and team members September 2010-August 2011.
Develop competitive and premium pricing strategy Revisions of the pricing strategy so that the company offers varied prices that cater different social classes with in the identified target market. Competitive prices can be possibly accomplished through cutting down the cost of business. In order to premium price the products, the enterprise should undertake some strategic actions such as making strategic alliances with allied services (other tour operators) so that the customers can be provided with value for their money(family packages, annual passes, fast track access etc.). Marketing manager, operations manager and their team November 2010-March 2011.
Develop relationship with the stake holders Develop communication channels so that the customers and stake holders are kept well informed about the developments and activities of the company. Marketing manager, Business manager and his team October 2010-August 2011.
8. The marketing budget
The desired marketing budget for this marketing plan has been assessed to be £ 20,000 for the first year. The desired resources that should be allocated for the implementation process of this plan are human capital, financial budget, and continued support of the management as well as marketing personnel.
9. Monitoring and evaluation
The evaluation of the marketing plan should be carried out against the following performance indicators as suggested by Punniyamoorthy and Murali (2008). These indicators are higher number of customers, increased brand awareness, experiencing the anticipated outcomes of marketing activities, successfully implemented competitive and premium prices paid by the customers, improved quality of customer services, higher market share etc.
10. Critical Issues (source: drawn from the case study)
London’s Ships is assessed to challenge by the following critical issues which must be addressed prior to the implementation of the marketing plan that has been proposed above:
10.1. A process of consistent monitoring and reviewing should be carried out so that the marketing manager is well aware of the performance evaluation of the plan and can take corrective measures accordingly.
10.2. In addition to the implementation of the marketing plan the company should also concentrate on the development of its e- commerce infrastructure and web site so that the proposed strategies can be effectively implemented. It is also important so that the customers / foreign tourists can draw information and knowledge regarding the company and partner museum ships through the website as well as securing online purchases long before entering into the UK.
10.3. London’s Ships should also adapt to strategic business practices such as development of e- supply chain, forming strategic alliances with business partners with an ambition of offering tourist packages etc.
10.4. In addition to above issues the management should ensure that the company is well equipped with skilled and competent personnel which is capable enough of coping with the significant changes that the company has been suggested to go through. Therefore sufficient amount of training and development needs to be provided to the people along with learning and identifying the needs and demands of the people.
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