Ski Marketing Plan

Ski Rossendale is a charitable trust, owned by Rossendale Borough Council. The trust also includes Bacup Leisure Hall, Haslington Sports Centre, Haslington Swimming Pool and Marl Pits Swimming Pool. In order to raise its awareness in Rossendale and the surrounding areas, Ski Rossendale needs to create an effective marketing plan. This project will look at all the stages involved in creating Ski Rossendale's Communications plan.

The Customer Context

‘The context analysis is different from the situation analysis, because the situation analysis considers a range of wider organizational factors, most of which are normally considered in the development of marketing plans (while the communication focus is lost).'

(Fill 2002)

Segmentation Characteristics

Between 2005 and 2010 there is a 7% perceived projected growth amongst 18-30 year olds, which will be marginally higher amongst men (Mintel 2005). As this is the target audience for extreme sports this should bode well for Ski Rossendale, especially as it is men who tend to dominate the market for extreme sports. Women have much lower levels of participation than men and in order for Ski Rossendale to increase their customer base they will need to create a more female friendly environment.

According to Mintel's exclusive consumer research, skiing has the highest level of participation or future consideration than any other extreme sport (15% and 16% respectively). Only 3% of respondents have ever snowboarded but future consideration was much higher at 9%, suggesting further growth for this sport.

The strength of the UK economy is also an encouraging factor; as disposable income and consumer confidence continues to rise then those interested in skiing will be more able to spend money on the appropriate equipment and participation (Mintel 2005).

The socio-economic groups are a good indication of affluence and levels of education, which are major determinants in extreme sports participation (the exclusive market research conducted for this report shows that participation and interest in extreme sports are much higher amongst students, as well as those in the top socio-economic groups).

With many extreme sports being generally more costly than standard sports due to the specialist equipment needed as well as the necessity to travel to specialist sites, levels of affluence and disposable income tend to provide the means to participate. At the moment the AB adult population is currently experiencing the highest levels of growth of the socio-economic group at 27% over the decade shown, which also good news for extreme sports organizers (Mintel 2005).This is particularly apparent for skiing, which also tends to involve a holiday.

Another key potential target audience for Ski Rossendale is the youth market. TGI data have already indicated higher than average levels of participation in extreme sports amongst the 11-14-year-old market. While sports participation does tend to tail off in the late-teens to early-twenties, extreme sports such as skiing have that element of cool which could potentially lead to more prolonged levels of involvement (Mintel 2005). It is up to Ski Rossendale to maintain the appeal from youth to young adult, particularly as participants begin to have more of their own disposable income.

Levels of awareness, perception and attitude towards the brand/organization

No research has been undertaken by Ski Rossendale to show what current levels of awareness are. This is presumed to be low due to the current lack of marketing communications. However the website may have generated some awareness, through search engines. Again no research has been conducted through the website to identify current levels of awareness.

Types of perceived risk

Physical

‘The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says that more than 10,000 people visit British hospitals each year as a result of skiing and snowboarding accidents' (http://travel.timesonline.co.uk). This could be a factor which discourages people from visiting Ski Rossendale. Those with physical ailments may not perceive skiing as a suitable form of recreation. Also parents may not perceive it as being a safe sport for younger children.

It is a sport which is physically demanding so this will be a concern for many people. However it must be taken into account that more people are taken to hospital regarding injuries such as slipping on rugs at home. Therefore skiing is a safe activity if the necessary precautions are taken. This is a fact which needs to be taken into consideration when advertising to the target audiences, that skiing and other snow sports are safe.

Financial

There are various costs associated with skiing and other snow sports. This includes the cost of equipment, membership and courses, all of which are quite high. Those who are associated with going on skiing holidays tend to be of a higher socio-economic group, so the financial risk may be lower for these groups.

Ski Rossendale hires out the equipment so this initially reduces the risk associated with learning to ski and this does not require full membership. Equipment can also be purchased second hand. Once the user has purchased the necessary equipment the costs are lowered with only annual membership and the day pass fee required.

Spending on sport participation is consider non- essential and is strongly linked to consumers level of personal disposable income, however Ski Rossendale offer concessionary prices for students, unemployed and over 60s.

Social

For those who are seen as more upmarket, skiing is likely to have low social risk. However the lower socio-economic groups are likely to have higher levels of social risk, as the sport may be off putting to them. Also these groups may wish to exercise in a gym or swimming pool, or through group activities such as football, all of which are also lower in financial risk. Ski Rossendale also offers snowboarding as an activity and this is perceived as an extreme sport. This is seen as fashionable amongst the younger age groups and may be because of computer games such as SSX Snowboard Super cross Platinum which is a popular game on the Sony Playstation 2.

Levels of Involvement

Due to individuals perceiving snow sports to have a high level of risk, they are likely to seek information before participating. ‘A great deal of information is sought initially and an attitude is developed before a commitment or intention to trial is determined' (Fill 2002:100). In order to enable customers to overcome the levels of risk, Ski Rossendale should ensure that information is available to help in reducing the levels of risk.

The Business Context

Corporate and Marketing Strategy

Ski Rossendale have recently out-sourced the production of a website, which contains basic information concerning opening times, courses, costs and allows for electronic queries to be raised. They are currently working on customers being able to book on-line within the next few months.

This will give present and potential customers better information about what the organization offers. However, it is important they promote the new website in order to allow customers to know of its existence. Through the website, records of customers that have booked online can be added to a mailing list which will allow direct marketing to take place.

Little communication is undertaken by the organization. That which takes place involves leaflets available at the ski slope and other organizations within the trust. They also attend the annual Ski Show in Manchester, which takes place in October, and run ski lessons on the ski slope at the event. Some mutually beneficial marketing communications have been undertaken with Jaguar at Bolton and Blackburn, which involved Ski Rossendale banners and information being put up at their showrooms, while Jaguar brought demonstration cars to Ski Rossendale for a weekend. The Marketing Manager feels that far more could be undertaken in this area, and this would help to stretch the small budget he has of £10,000 per annum.

Brand/ Organizational Analysis

Current key strengths include- excellent travel links, on-site café, function room, disabled adaptive instruction, high quality facilities and a kids club. However not enough is currently being done to promote these key strengths.

Competitor Analysis

The club needs to consider both direct and indirect competition.

Direct competitors include:

Xscape Castleford

Xscape Castleford is an organization under the management of X- Leisure Company which opened in October 2003. Its location is considered very convenient as it has access from all over the country via major motorways. It is considered to have invested the largest amount of money of all the ski/snowboarding organizations in the UK (approximately £56 million). Xscape and the other developments of X- Leisure have become widely regarded as the most successful and innovative sites of the leisure industry.

One of the best competitive advantages Xscape has over its rivals is the fact that it contains the largest real snow slope in UK, which is a major factor for skiers and snowboarders when deciding where to practice. Furthermore Xscape has more than a real snow slope to offer. Extreme sports such as ice- skating and rock climbing are found within the site as well as a cinema, a bowling alley, skate park, laser zone, dodgems and a health and fitness gym. Visitors also have the chance to shop in a variety of outlets selling sport brands to sport equipment for their outdoor activities.

Xscape also offers a variety of cafes, restaurants and bars as well as conference rooms for meetings and social activities. One real advantage for this leisure site is the fact that next to it is a 120 room hotel convenient to visitors that want to continue their sport activities the next day.

Xscape Castleford is something more than a ski/snowboard facility; it is a leisure park combining everything for an enjoyable leisure day out, however as Xscape has the only real snow slope prices are therefore much higher than Ski Rossendale and the other competitors (e.g. 1 hour £20, 2 hours £30, lessons from £26).

Promotion of Xscape is mainly through an integrated and very easy to use website which provides information about all the sport and leisure activities within the site, as well as future events and videos/pictures of the facilities, in order for the people to have a better view before visiting the site.

A monthly Xscape Castleford magazine is also available featuring new events and news regarding sport and leisure matters. Xscape is sponsored by companies such as Coca- Cola, Fosters, Toyota, Trespass, Salomon and Boost who promote their products through sponsorship, conferencing, corporate events and hospitality (www.Xscape.co.uk).

In comparison to Ski Rossendale, management in Xscape has benefited from many years of experience regarding marketing and business issues which have helped the leisure site become successful within just a few years. Xscape Castleford is the most important competitor of Ski Rossendale in terms of integration, promotion, management and business structure.

Sheffield Ski Village

Sheffield is the largest artificial snow sports venue in the UK based on Snow Flex and Dendix. The slope has many graded runs, plus the UK's only permanent half pipe. Sheffield is currently planning to move their snow slopes indoors in order to convert to using real snow. This would mean Sheffield would become a serious rival for Castleford Xscape (www.snowboardclub.co.uk).

The Ski Village boasts over a mile of shops for customers to visit, including totally unique facilities such as the Sprite Freestyle Arena (SFA) with its big air jump, half pipe and grind rail. The majority of SFA's slopes are SNOWFLEX virtual snow. Other activities Ski Village offers to visitors include: a full range of lessons, Thunder Valley Toboggan Run, Penguin Park adventure trail and Children's play area. Furthermore visitors can find onsite a snow and rock shop, offering ski and snowboard wear from popular brands. Other leisure activities include bars offering English and European cuisine, cafes providing hot and cold snacks and beverages and function rooms for any purpose.

Although Sheffield Ski Village has excellent facilities is not seen as a main competitor for Ski Rossendale, due to its distance. Their main concern is to compete with Castleford Leeds regarding ski/snowboard facilities, leisure facilities and prices (1 ½ hour start from £21 per adult).

Halifax

Halifax Ski Centre is much closer to Ski Rossendale than Sheffield although the ski slope is smaller. The visitors are mainly snowboarders as it has a wide range of jumps (e.g. main 20ft kicker, side jump and 10ft quarter pipe). Halifax's management understand their disadvantage (small ski slope) over the other competitors and try to promote their services mostly towards snowboarders due to the existence of their many jumps.

Although snowboarders are mostly attracted to Halifax Ski Centre, the management also tries communication messages to attract skiers. There is a particular message they use in their website (www.skiandsnowboard.co.uk): “it maybe a little short length ways but we definitely have enough vertical”. They don't deny their drawback but they also state that they have exactly what it needs for a perfect experience. They associate the phrase ‘enough vertical' with something extreme. This can be considered a good idea as the ski/snowboard sport is mostly regarded as extreme.

Halifax Ski Centre also includes facilities such as: a bar area, a restaurant and a family room. There is also an enclosed playground area in the garden for the kids with swings and climbing frames.

The prices in Halifax can probably be considered the most competitive in comparison with the other competitors. This is due to the fact that the facilities are not as competitive as the rivals' and this pricing strategy is a way of attracting customers (e.g. 1½ £14.50 for adults and £10.50 for children.

Indirect competitors would include other outdoor sporting centres and other entertainment sources such as tourist sites and leisure centres in the area.

Competitor Evaluation

Ski Rossendale must take into consideration the three competitors in terms of facilities development, innovation, services offered, convenience and prices. As it was mentioned above the main competitor is Castleford Leeds because it is situated close Ski Rossendale which may impact on their number of customers.

In order to compete with the most successful leisure site in UK, management has to be productive and innovative in terms of attracting new and existing customers and in terms of promoting the club efficiently. Having just the most innovative facilities and the best leisure activities is not just enough; communication must commence in order to capture the minds of potential visitors to the site.

Perceptual Map

The lack of recorded information and more specifically perceptions about Ski Rossendale from existing customers makes it difficult to understand what are consumer's thoughts and beliefs about the company and the services it offers.

It is difficult to create a map that defines the market in terms of the way buyers perceive key characteristics of competitors in the ski/snowboard industry, because of lack of recorded perceptions regarding these key characteristics. Secondary research has been undertaken regarding Ski Rossendale and the four main competitors in the particular industry. The use of the basic perceptual map uses information that already exists (prices-quality of facilities, services).

The basic perceptual map of price and quality is illustrated below:

Financial Constraints

The budget is £10,000. This can be stretched due to the mutually beneficial marketing communications with Jaguar and by attending the annual Ski Show in Manchester. There is no record of the total avenue revenue.

Marketing Expertise

The marketing teams meet every two weeks to discuss marketing activities. There is one representative from each of the organisations. There are only two members who have any marketing knowledge; one has a CIM qualification but little marketing experience.

Organizational Identity

To promote Ski Rossendale and its facilities to those who are going on winter holidays. To “establish Rossendale Leisure Trust as a benchmark organisation of its type in the UK”. To get “Rossendale on the move”.

Ski Rossendale is also part of the Rossendale Borough Trust which also includes Bacup Leisure Hall, Haslington Sports Centre, Haslington Swimming Pool and Marl Pits Swimming Pool who are also looking to provide a long term legacy for the community of Rossendale and to use their resources effectively at all times.

Agency Suitability

With such a small budget it is highly unlikely that agency expertise can be purchased. Therefore the club are reliant on the expertise of the marketing team.

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The External Context

Key Stakeholders and communication needs:

These have been identified as follows:

Existing Users of Ski Rossendale – Need to be kept up to date with news and encouraged to keep coming back. They are key assets and a source of income. Word of mouth promotion comes from these members.

Potential Users of Ski Rossendale- Source of income/growth for the club, specifically disabled groups, 15-24 year olds and individuals who go on winter ski/snowboarding holidays, within a 30 mile radius. Need to create interest and attract customers during the off peak months.

Media- Important to build relationships with relevant media in order to receive an increase in awareness through, for example, press releases and leaflets.

Local Community- Need to increase links with local schools and community sports clubs, as well as any scouts, brownies or guide clubs in the area.

Rossendale Borough Council- Ski Rossendale is a charitable trust, owned by Rossendale Borough Council. The trust also includes Bacup Leisure Hall, Haslington Sports Centre, Haslington Swimming Pool and Marl Pits Swimming Pool. Advertising in the other clubs of the trust would help raise awareness of Ski Rossendale, specifically to individuals already interested in keeping fit.

A variety of organizations through which target audiences can be reached such as local schools/colleges/universities and disabled organizations.

PEST Analysis

Political

The government have recently announced a target of getting 75% of schoolchildren to enjoy two hours of physical activity both within the curriculum and out-of-school by 2006 (www.education/gardian.co.uk). Long term, the government sees the promotion of sport in schools as especially important. The strengthening of links between schools and community sports clubs and the re-establishment of sport as an extra-curricular activity could be crucial in motivating schoolchildren to maintain their participation after they leave education, by introducing them to methods and venues for playing outside school. Also, increased sports participation in general is likely to encourage greater participation in extreme sports (Mintel 2004).

Economical

Spending on sport participation is considered non- essential and is strongly linked to consumers level of personal disposable income, however Ski Rossendale offer concessionary prices for students, unemployed and over 60s.

Social

Potentially, anyone interested in keeping fit and outdoor activities could be targeted by Ski Rossendale. Extreme sports are most popular with 15- 24 year olds, with a stronger interest by males than females. This group is set to increase by 11% by 2006, since 1998. Single people and students showed a higher than average propensity towards these sports. As people remain single for longer, it is likely they will continue to participate in these sports well beyond the age of 24 (Mintel 2004).

Research indicated that outdoor activity participants are sporting all-rounders, with many taking part in three or more sports overall (Mintel 2003). Ski Rossendale see one of their key target markets as being those people who are going on winter ski/snowboard holidays. The ski slope is at its busiest during the December to March period, as many people prepare themselves for their winter holiday and lessons tend to be at full capacity during this peak period.

Technological

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A new SNOWFLEX slope is being planned for Summer 2006, which will bring Ski Rossendale up to the same standard as their competitor Halifax in terms of the facilities available.

Swot Analysis

Strengths

Excellent travel links. Buses to Manchester passing every 15 minutes within 1 mile of Ski Rossendale. Also positioned just of the M66.

Three main slopes: Main, fun, nursery. All made from SNOWFLEX virtual snow. Slopes appeal to all types of skiers, from experienced to toddlers.

On site café offering drinks and meals. Provides both indoor and outdoor seating.

Part of the Rossendale Borough Council.

Two members who have marketing knowledge.

Good links with disabled groups (Uphill Ski Club). Rossendale caters for the disabled better than the competitors. The club has specialist instruction, equipment and concessionary rates.

Kids club, catering for children as young as three.

Website with the introduction of online booking. Also provides information for interested customers on courses, booking, prices, etc.

PR-attendance of annual Ski show.

Marketing Communications with Jaguar.

Weaknesses

No customer database; therefore no detailed analysis of those using the slope.

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The on-site café is underutilised, although there has been no formal research undertaken on the customers views/ perception of the café.

No marketing objectives in place.

Limited marketing experience within the marketing team.

Poor links with local schools, however this could be an area of growth for Ski Rossendale.

Opportunities

Increased usage of function room, for children's parties, etc.

Improve links with schools as government promote sports in education.

Build relationships with existing customers-create a database.

PR activities

More mutually beneficial marketing communications (such as with Jaguar and other companies who may be interested).

Threats

Direct/Indirect competitors, such as Xscape, Castlefield and other leisure clubs in the area.

Weather conditions. Heavy rain may put skiers off.

Key Issues

The following key issues have been identified as a result of the context analysis:-

No marketing objectives or marketing communications have been formalized by the club and there are no formal marketing or marketing communications plans currently in place.

A marketing team meets every two weeks to discuss marketing activities. The committee consists of one representative from each of the organizations within the trust. Only two members have any marketing knowledge, one of which has undertaken the Charted Institute of Marketing Qualifications, although it is from an operations background, rather than an experienced marketer.

It is likely there is a low level of awareness of the club both locally and regionally, due to lack of marketing effort in the past few years.

There is no detailed analysis of those using the slope. It is essential customers details are taken in order to know who the existing customers are and to build a profile of the members. Direct marketing can also be used on existing members to persuade them to visit more.

Lack of segmentation and targeting to key target audience. Currently anyone interested in keeping fit and/or interested in outdoor activities could be targeted. In order to build a successful campaign, a target audience is essential.

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Underutilization of function room and café.

Objectives

Corporate objectives

To increase membership by targeting potential customers. At least 10% of new visitors signing up for membership.

To increase market share against our competitors in the north west by providing better outdoor snow facilities.

To strengthen relationships between all organizations of the Rossendale Borough Trust.

Marketing Objectives

To increase members using the club, and attract new audiences, by at least 30% throughout the year.

To build on the number of customers between May to November, the clubs off peak time.

To increase customer retention.

To generate enquires about the club by 50% throughout the year.

Marketing Communications objectives

To build awareness throughout schools of the health benefits of extracurricular activities such as skiing, in line with governments plans for increased school sports participation

To build awareness and relationships of Ski Rossendale throughout schools, universities and colleges in the North West.

To increase customers knowledge of skiing activities including the health and social benefits they include.

To increase the North West public knowledge of Ski Rossendale Rossendale by 50%.

Target Audience

Based on the segmentation information gathered above, it can be seen that Ski Rossendale's target audiences are as follows:

Young people under 30- Both directly and indirectly through schools, colleges and universities in the North West: Focus will be on students (11-14 years old),18 to 30 year olds and children (3 to 5 year olds)

Disabled people within the North West: mainly indirectly through disabled organizations

Active people: Mainly those who travel on skiing holidays or who participate in extreme sports

Current users: Directly

Positioning

There are many different types of positioning strategies Ski Rossendale can use such as position by price/ quality; position by user or position by attributes or benefits.

Position by price/ quality:-

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Currently Ski Rossendale charges one of the lowest price of all its competitors regarding use of the slopes. As some people think that extreme sports are expensive, the low prices can be a selling point in attracting more customers. This is especially true when looking at the target market in terms of the students and 11 to 15 year olds who are likely to have low disposable income. As they are not willing to spend too much money they are more likely to visit Ski Rossendale rather than any of the competitors in order to get value for money.

In terms of quality, Ski Rossendale has quite high quality facilities including an on-site café, three different slope areas and a function room available for parties. However other competitors also offer excellent facilities, in particular Xscape Castleford who boast a bowling alley and cinema as well as a real snow slope. Therefore, Ski Rossendale is unlikely to be able to position itself regarding its excellent facilities alone. It also needs to advertise the value for money customers would be getting.

Position by User:-

By positioning by user, the target market can be clearly identified. Ski Rossendale can use marketing to target audiences such as disabled users (by promoting their disabled adaptive instruction, equipment storage area and concessionary rates that are provided), active people who go on skiing holidays (by offering incentives for individuals, families and other groups to increase their usage of the slope and lessons outside of the peak season) and 3 to 5 year olds (through their Saturday Kids Club).

Position by attributes and benefits

Ski Rossendale can target its target audience of 11-14 years old and 18 to 30 year olds through promotion of the health benefits of exercise and the thrill of extreme sports. It can promote itself as an alternative to the usual exercise of swimming or going to the gym. This should prove especially effective with males, as they are more likely to be interested in extreme sports.

Marketing Communications Strategy

There are three main types of marketing communications strategy. These are as follows. All three of these strategies will be used in order to reach the objectives cited previously for Ski Rossendale.

Pull strategies: to influence end user customers (consumers and b2b).

Pull strategy is generally used when the intention is to generate increased levels of awareness, change and reinforce attitudes, reduce risk and to provoke motivation within a target group. This strategy is aimed at encouraging customers to pull products through the channel network. This strategy refers to the messages which are targeted at particular customer audiences and to the overall task a campaign seeks to achieve.

For Ski Rossendale a pull strategy will be used to target specific target audiences including those under 30 and the active target groups. This will be done through advertising (in particular regional advertising); direct marketing will be used to target the existing users and sales promotions will be utilised to create awareness among non-users.

Push strategies: to influence trade channel buyers

Push strategy is used to target the group who buys the products and services, adds value to the product and then moves it through the marketing channel. The group refers to the business to business sector. This form of strategy involves the presentation of information to influence other channel organisations and to encourage them to take stock and allocate resources to the product or service. There is often an emphasis on personal selling here.

For Ski Rossendale a push strategy will be used to target local secondary schools, colleges and universities. Direct marketing will be used to create awareness of the business to the institutions. Personal selling will also be used. It can be arranged that members of the marketing team could visit local education institutions and sell the benefits of Ski Rossendale. This will be complimented by sales promotions.

Profile Strategies: to influence a range of stakeholders.

Profile strategy is used to target stakeholders of the business who need to understand the organisation rather than purchase its products and services. Therefore this strategy focuses an organisations communications on its corporate image and reputation both internally and externally

Profile strategy will be used to create awareness of Ski Rosendale throughout the local community and the region. There will be regular press releases in the local press. Open days will also take place to allow prospective customers to sample the facilities available (Fill 2005 p334-341).

Promotional Mix

The promotional mix will be carried out by looking at each of the above strategies.

Pull Strategy

The pull strategy will focus upon leaflets and posters, with a small amount of advertising. A number of sales promotions will be combined with these. Direct mail will be used in conjunction with other organizations.

Leaflets- door-to-door leaflet drops will take place between July and November within the area as this is one of the quietest times at Ski Rossendale. The leaflets will be delivered by members of the existing marketing team and will advertise taster sessions, open days, courses and costs.

Sales promotions will be integrated into the leaflets advertising discounts and special introductory prices. Leaflets will also be available in all other members of the Rossendale Borough Council which includes Bacup Leisure Hall, Haslington Sports Centre, Haslington Swimming Pool and Marl Pits Swimming Pool. Advertising in the other clubs of the trust would help raise awareness of Ski Rossendale, specifically to individuals already interested in keeping fit.

Posters will be produced with similar themes to the leaflets and displayed in the same areas as the leaflets, as well as any libraries, youth clubs and other leisure centres in the area, where possible. These will be continuous throughout the year but will be regularly updated in order to provide relevant up to date information about what is happening at Ski Rossendale.

Graphics will also be advertised on Manchester city centre buses (external- sides; back) for two x four week slots. These will be booked in July (after the SNOWFLEX slope is complete) and the middle of November (in order to attract people booking skiing holidays for Jan/Feb). A total of 14 buses will be selected. The aim will be to raise awareness of skiing and to advertise open days. Manchester is the closest major city to Rossendale which will mean the buses are more likely to be seen by a higher majority of people than in Rossendale itself.

Greeting Cards- Greeting cards will be used to target our most regular customers during the Christmas period to offer sales promotions and information about future activities taking place in the club. The greeting cards will be used as a way of rewarding loyal customers, as will the sales promotions they also receive.

Newsletters - Newsletter will be sent out every three months to all customers on our mailing lists outlining Ski Rossendale future events and activities. They will also contain information about what is happening in the rest of the Rossendale Trust.

Yellow Pages- Winter Sports section- 30mm standard/logo semi display.

Regional Holiday Brochures- Ski Rossendale will contact tourist information centres throughout the North West and Midlands in order to become part of their Regional Holiday Brochures. This will enable tourists visiting the area to see what is offer in regards to activities and will hopefully attract tourists coming to stay nearby.

Online Banner Heading- A banner heading will be placed online for one month in conjunction with google. Whenever a search is made through google containing the word ‘skiing', Ski Rossendale's website will be the first option during the one month subscription. As it is expensive it is only a trial basis to be used at the same time as the majority of our sales promotion in April 2006, once the SNOWFLEX slope is completed. If it is found to be successful (measured by google based on the number of customers who click) it can then be used for longer periods of time.

Sales Promotions

To day skiers/snowboarders- we will focus on making it worthwhile to come more frequently to the club. Sales promotions will initially involve 3 visits for the price of 2.

To young people- sales promotions will also be targeted at those young people who have selected to undertake skiing activities through their school/college/university. They will be targeted to attend outside organized school events during fresher's fairs. Sales promotions such as 3 visits for the price of 2 and special 4 week rates for the school holidays will also be offered.

To families- special weekend introductorily courses will be offered to families with 1 and a half hour tuition as well as one hour free skiing, including free equipment hire. This will only be done as an incentive during the quieter periods.

Existing users- existing users are a useful source of word of mouth recommendation. Therefore, to encourage members to do this, for each person recommended by a user, they will receive a half-price ticket for their next visit.

Direct Marketing

To existing users- a database will be put together of all day passes issued/booked online etc. This will be done by asking the customer to complete a brief application form, which will contain the name and address of each individual. Direct mail will be used in conjunction with sales promotions to try to increase their usage. Ski Rossendale should also aim to begin a membership service for those interested in using the facilities more often.

Leaflets offering sales promotions will contain a small form that will need to be completed by the customer in order to become valid. This form will be used to record the customers' details in order to then receive direct mail regarding other future promotions/ open days/ activities at the club.

Emails- Direct marketing emails will be used to update customers about forthcoming events and promotions within the club.

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Push Strategy

The push strategy will focus upon mainly school teachers within secondary schools with the aim of offering during and after school skiing and snowboarding activities. Links will also be forged with colleges and universities with the area.

Key to the push strategy will be the use of personal selling. Initially contacts will be gained within each secondary school and a telephone call will be made to explore possible interest in the club. Publicity will also be targeted at these contacts. The final stage will be a visit and presentation to the school. The marketing team will try to visit one school per week. Scout, badger and cubs groups will also be targeted in this way. The same procedure will also be utilised for colleges and universities. Disabled groups within the area will also receive literature, even though established contacts already exist.

Profile Strategies

The profile will consist of mainly open days as well as mutually beneficial marketing communications (such as previous marketing with Jaguar at Bolton and Blackburn).

There will also be regular press releases to local and regional newspapers/magazines, radio and TV as appropriate. This will help ensure a regular profile within the media and may include:

Rossendale Free Press

Manchester Evening News

Manchester Metro

Lancashire Evening Telegraph

Yorkshire Evening Post

Lancashire Life Magazine

Granada TV

BBC Television

2BR

Century 105

Galaxy

Open days will be planned for summer 2006 after the new SNOWFLEX slope is complete as well as September and November in order to encourage customers to start preparing for their skiing holidays earlier. Awareness of these events will be through posters, leaflets, word of mouth, personal selling, direct marketing and press releases.

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The open days will include free skiing/ snowboarding taster sessions, demonstrations of skiing and snowboarding techniques and free refreshments at the outside café. It is hoped this will cater for the whole family and provide a fun day out.

Open days in September will be carried out at Universities and college fresher fairs in order to allow students to sign up to a skiing club and enable them to receive information and special offers on at Ski Rossendale. A snow machine will be used at the fresher's fair to attract attention and give the students a feel of what to expect.

Banner- A banner will be commissioned to create a greater awareness of the club and will be placed on the main road, enabling passing cars and buses to notice it (One 6' x 2' banner). The banner will be in Blue and Silver in order to relate to the overall colour scheme of Ski Rossendale and will contain the website address as well as the booking number.

Website- The website will be completed enabling existing and new customers to book online, as well as providing information on opening times, courses and costs. It will also be updated to include information on special offers, open days, etc. the website will also be updated to include a members only area that will have information on member chat rooms, discounts and online skiing information.

Publicity - Updated leaflets will be put together by the marketing team to use in the push and pull strategies.

Charity Day- In order to promote Ski Rossendale to the local community a charity day has been proposed. There are many benefits of this event:

To create awareness of the business to the local community

To attract press interest. This may be through local print media, radio stations and the local news programmes. This will give the business free advertising.

To raise money for local charities.

The cost of it is kept to a minimum as present members will be able to help run the day.

The charities which will be involved with the event are:

Save the children

Rossendale District N.S.P.C.C.

Local schools and disability groups.

In order to make the day enjoyable for all visitors, light refreshments will be provided and there will be various activities. This will include the opportunity to test the facilities. There will also be competitions with the prizes being donated from local businesses. Local celebrities will be approached in order to make a personal appearance, as a gesture of goodwill for their attendance a free three month ski-pass will be presented to them. The celebrities will include local footballers, Coronation Street or Emmerdale stars.

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Local businesses will be able to hold a stall. This will be mutually beneficial as the businesses get to promote their products and services and it lowers Ski Rossendale's costs for holding the event.

The event will be promoted through a press release in the local press and through posters advertising the day situated at local schools, supermarkets, libraries, Rossendale trusts and also in the premises of the businesses which are participating.

All proceeds raised from the event will be split equally amongst the above charities.

Promotional Tools to be used at Open Day

Balloons

The balloons will display the Ski Rossendale logo, website and telephone number and will be used at the open days and charity event. They will be used to attract attention and to make the event more colourful and fun. The balloons will be given out to the younger children.

Bouncy Castle

This will be hired for the day of the charity event. This will be for the children aged eleven and under. The use the bouncy castle a fee of £1.00 will be charged, with the profit going to charity.

T-Shirts

These will have the company logo on it and will be for staff to wear. This will create togetherness among the staff and will be used so that visitors to Ski Rossendale will be able to locate the staff. The t-shirts will be blue with a silver logo in order to fit in with the brand colours. The t-shirts will also be worn at open days, visits to schools, universities and at fresher's fairs.

Gym Sacks

These will be given to the first twenty five people who sign up to become a new member of the ski club. They will again be blue with a silver logo in order to keep with the brand image and include the website and telephone number information. Those who receive a bag will be creating awareness of the company when they use it.

Car Stickers

The car stickers will be given out at fresher's fairs, the open days and will be available to pick up at Ski Rossendale reception. The stickers will act as mobile advertising for the company. If they are put into people's cars a large audience will be reached. The stickers will display the logo, website and a contact number for Ski Rossendale.

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Advertising Formats

Emotional Advertising

Advertisements that trigger an emotional response can grab an audience by the heart, hold their attention, and leave them with a warm and cosy feeling about the company, product or service.

Who responds to emotional advertising?

The answer to this question is everyone. However Stout and Rust (1993) found that females and older people are most easily persuaded by emotional advertising. These groups are more likely to feel empathy towards the situations presented in emotional ads as a result to view the company more favourably.

Some will wonder then why should Ski Rossendale make use of emotional advertising at the time that their main target audience is youngsters and reports show that participation in these sports by women or older people is small; the answer could be that Ski Rossendale is a charitable trust and one of their main objectives is to expand its services into other areas such as arts and leisure/entertainment where there will be a possible participation by these groups.

Due to the limited budget of £10,000 Ski Rossendale should create low cost advertising that compels customers to go to them. Using a system of direct mail, leaflets and email they can get customers to come and use their services. The purpose of this concept is to get the attention of customers and to make them curious enough to respond. What happens in emotional advertising is that you look at people's needs. Ski Rossendale should include emotion based ads about what people want and what they feel compelled to respond to.

Warm feelings can translate into success. To get there, emotional advertising should be used. There are many different ways to use emotional advertising. Before using any of these ways efficient knowledge must exist regarding your target market. Some of these ways are included below.

Successful emotional advertising begins when a company understands totally the needs, desires and love people have for specific matters. Almost everyone loves country, family and children and everyone responds positive to these feelings.

Use stories that have emotional impact

Every society, every community has experienced triumphs and tragedies. These shared experiences can be powerful emotional triggers.

Successful advertisements appeal to the emotional needs of the audience using a promise that the product/service being advertised can satisfy emotional needs such as:

The need for acceptance/belonging to a group

The need for security

The need for change, variety and excitement

The need to be attractive

The need for self-acceptance

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Advertisers associate their products with luxury, wealth, fame, beauty, family, fitness, happiness etc. In the case of Ski Rossendale the company can advertise its services in order to satisfy specific emotional needs of the audience. A way of doing that could be an association of ski/snowboard as a pretty extreme sport satisfying people who look for excitement and high adrenaline. Another way is to deliver a message that states participation in these sports where endurance and strength are required leads to health fitness.

Advertisements also make use of the oldest persuasion method, FEAR. They suggest that terrible things can happen to a consumer if they don't use their services/products. As consumers we are afraid of:

Being unattractive

Being rejected

Being ridiculed

Being unsafe/in danger

This is another broadly used approach of emotional advertising nowadays. In the case of Ski Rossendale this approach should be avoided. Ski Rossendale should capture the attention of its target audience by using positive emotional advertising rather than ads based on consumer's fear.

Ski Rossendale should definitely use an emotional advertising tactic to capture the ‘hearts' of consumers. Although the budget for promotion action is limited and there are restrictions in using popular mediums such as television, emotional advertising could be used in smaller scale advertising tactics such as leaflets, posters and their website.

Emotional advertising is not only to trigger emotions about the services/products offered but furthermore about the company. Ski Rossendale can take advantage of the fact that is a charitable trust and trigger sensitive emotions to the community. Almost everyone respond positively to charities. In achieving that banners could be used to state that Ski Rossendale is a charitable trust working for the community of Rossendale.

Emotional advertising is a good tactic but there could be potential drawbacks when using it incorrectly. According to: ‘the Centre for Emotional Marketing' an analysis showed that advertising which provokes a strong emotional response without providing sufficient product information often breaks through the clutter, but is unlikely to change behaviour and increase market share. If this occurs then Ski Rossendale has to associate these strong emotions with the services it offers.

The Creative Brief

Why are we Advertising?

To make our target audience aware of what we have to offer.

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Who are we talking to?

Our target audience is comprised of people under 30 with a focus on students (11-14 years old), 18 to 30 year olds and children (3 to 5 year olds) within the area.

Also aiming to target disabled people within the area, active people, mainly those who travel on skiing holidays or who participate in extreme sports and current users of Ski Rossendale.

What are we saying?

That Ski Rossendale is able to fulfil customer's needs and offers slopes that cater for anybody from experienced skiers to toddlers at good value prices.

How are we saying it?

Skiing and snowboarding are extreme sports that are demanding and challenging. We need to get the message of fun and thrill across to our target audience. This will be done using emotional advertising.

Executional guidelines

We have to show our target audience the value for money we can offer. Also it is important to get the message across that Ski Rossendale is able to cater for all abilities of skiers.

Requirement

All marketing communications must fit within our budget of £10,000 while aiming to reach as much of our target audience as possible.

Leaflets

In order for the leaflets to be effective we need to look at creative tactics that will help the leaflets stand out while also offering all the necessary information.

Headlines- Large headlines will be used to help grab the audience's attention. These will be in a bright colour and will use captions that talk of fun and thrill which fit well with extreme sports.

Body Copy- The main text will provide information on all Ski Rossendale's courses, prices and available facilities such as the slopes available, the on-site café etc. it will also contain a map showing the location of ski Rossendale.

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Sub Headings- Sub headings will be used to move from one subject to the next and to highlight the important facts on the leaflet. It will also enable the viewer's get to the area they are interested in easily and quickly, whether this is the prices, the courses on offer or general information about the club such as where it is situated.

Captions- Captions are short descriptions of text used to highlight important facts and capture the viewer's eye. Captions will be used throughout the main body of the leaflet to make it more visually appealing while also highlighting facts such as other people views on the club (in terms of quotations) and information such as ‘Skiing is an excellent way to keep fit' gathered from secondary research.

Repetition- Repetition will be used to ingrain important information about the club in the customers mind, such as Ski Rossendale's location (‘Just off the M66') or offers and deals available at the time the leaflet is printed, e.g. ‘Buy three ski lessons get one free'.

Calls to action- Calls to action involve free phone numbers/coupons and trials. The leaflets will include coupons offering discounts and special introductory prices to persuade the customer to visit the club. It will also have Ski Rossendale's number which will allow the customer to call and book as well as the internet address which will offer a 10% discount if booked online.

Pack shot- A pack shot is a visual of the product which will be used on the leaflets. It will include photographs of ski Rossendale's different slopes and the on-site café to allow the customer to get a feel of what ski Rossendale has to offer.

Imagery- The leaflets will be light blue as it is a bright colour and will attract the customer's attention. Writing used on the leaflets will be a contrasting silver to grab the audience's attention while also providing the conation's for snow.

The leaflets will use a combination of emotional and informational advertising. Emotional will be used to attract customers through offering them a good time as well as allowing them to increase their fitness. Informational advertising will be used to simply provide information on the club and its prices and courses.

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Posters

Headlines- There will be one major headline used across the top of the poster to attract the audience's attention. The posters will be in a light blue colour with silver contrasting writing to provide connotations of snow.

Body Copy- The body copy will be short as customers are unlikely to spend too long reading it. It will only provide basic information such as prices and courses available as well as a map showing ski Rossendale's location.

Sub-Headings- the only sub headings used on the poster will be those to move from one section to the other such as ‘Prices' and ‘Location'.

Captions- Few captions will be used on the poster due to a lack of space. Those that will be used will be similar to the leaflets such as ‘Just off the M6'

Repetition- No repetition will be used on the poster due to a lack of space.

Calls to action- Calls to action that will be used on the poster to give information of the 10% discount on the website. It will also mention the discounts available on the leaflets, such as ‘Pick up a leaflet for more information and discounts'

Pack Shot- A pack shot will be used as the background to the poster to attract the audience's eye. This will be effective with the target audience, especially those who are interested in extreme sports.

Imagery- The posters will be light blue as it is a bright colour and will attract the customer's attention. Writing used on the leaflets will be a contrasting silver to grab the audience's attention while also providing the conation's for snow.

Budget

DESCRIPTION

COST £

Source/comments

PROFILE

Open day(s)

£240.00

Cover hire of snow board machines,

Banner headings

£1000.00

www.google.com

Web site update

Free

Set up by marketing team

Press releases

Free

Written by members of the committee.

PUSH

Personal selling

Free

Representative of each organisation within the committee.

Direct mail

£176.00

Costs for postage and paper

PULL

Leaflets (5000)

£399.99

www.Koolprint.co.uk

Posters (50)

£69.99

www.koolprint.co.uk

Advertising – Regional holiday brochures, (tour attractions)

£1,482

www.travelbrochures.co.uk

Advertising – click on banner headings internet

£2,205

www.google.com

Advertising – Yellow pages and Thomson directory

£360.00

www.yellowpages.com

www.thomsondirectory.com

Sales promotions-

Holiday 4 week passes

free

Sales promotions – families (weekend offer)

free

Sales promotions – existing members discounted reduction per new member recruited

free

Less income from members, however, it pays for itself through increased membership

T shirts with

Company logo(50)

£198.58

https://www.unionleisurewear.com/cart/

Advertising – city centre buses (Manchester)

(back, sides)

£2,700

www.adbus.co.uk/bus_advertising.php

1000 latex balloons with a 2 colour logo on two sides

£195.00

http://www.signatureballoons.com/printing/costing-examples.html

500 customized car stickers

£179.99

http://www.koolprint.co.uk

250 greeting cards (140mm x 203mm / 108mm x 140mm)

£199.99

http://www.koolprint.co.uk

Newsletter

£360.00

Costs for postage and paper

TOTAL BUDGET: £9,766.54

Control and Evaluation of the Plan

The evaluation is an integral part of the communication plan. This communication plan aims to create awareness of Ski Rossendale and subsequently attract new members. This will result in a larger market share and to establish Rossendale Leisure Trust as a benchmark organisation of its type in the UK. According to the Tavistock Institute:

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"An evaluation plan should simply identify what the evaluation priorities (questions) are, how they will be investigated and what kind of results can be expected. The plan should specify how evaluation activities will be arranged, when they will be done and by whom. Any resourcing implications or dependencies should be noted. It should also be remembered that evaluation planning and planning user involvement or the execution of tests, trials and test sites should be closely co-ordinated” (www.hylife.unn.ac.uk).

The purpose of the evaluation is to identify which communication strategies were effective and which were not so successful. It is also used to identify if the objectives were met. Furthermore the results of this provide guidance for future plans. It should be noted that the measurement is taking place throughout the communications plan and not just at the end.

Open Days

The numbers of people attending these open days will provide measurement for how successful the days are. Each customer that attends will be asked where they heard of the open day and details will be taken down to be used for direct mailing. The number of people who revisit the club, whether for a day or as a new member will also show the effectiveness of the recruitment of new members, especially in regards to those who chose to book a membership or course of lessons whilst at the open day.

Questionnaires may be used throughout the open day by members of the marketing team to gauge people's reactions to the activities, events and advertising of the open day. This will help in the future planning of open days.

Charity Events

The same measurement method as the open days will be used, along with how much money was raised for the said charities. Evaluation of the press releases will be carried out, namely which types of media vehicles were used (radio, television, newspapers) and how to increase the coverage in the future.

Advertising (Posters, Buses and Banners)

Ideally all advertising should be pre-tested by showing the adverts to a focus group that reflects the target audience. However due to the limited budget of £10,000 the opportunity for pre-testing is limited. Therefore post-testing will be the main measurement of success. This will involve asking all people who make enquiries about Ski Rossendale to state where they heard about /seen the company.

Personal Selling

Records will be kept at university/college fresher fairs of all the people who signed up to join the skiing club. This will then be compared against the number of people who visit the club during the year. A high figure will show the fresher's fair is a successful form of personal selling, while a low number shows more work is needed as well as more effective sales promotions at the fairs to ensure a good supply of customers.

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Direct Mail/ Leaflets/ Greeting Cards

Sales promotions in the form of direct mail/ leaflets and greeting cards will all be coded in order of where they have been placed and what the promotional offer included. This will show how quickly customers responded to the sales promotions, and which were most effective. It will also allow Ski Rossendale to create a profile of which leaflets at which places were most successful and noticed by interested customers. Those that are not being taken up will not be used the following year while the more effective ones will be increased in order to target more customers.

Online Banner Heading

Google will be in charge of evaluating how many customers used the online banner heading. As it is only a trial for one month at the moment it can either be continued or rejected depending on how often it was used. Ski Rossendale will also need information on how often people passed over the banner in favour of another, how often there was a search for ‘skiing' (if not often then online advertising may not be cost effective) and how often a click on the banner lead to an online booking.

Press Releases

This is measured through the amount of free publicity received. Members of the staff will be encouraged to scan the media (mainly printed mediums) for any publicity for Ski Rossendale.

Regional Holiday Brochures

The effectiveness of advertisements placed in holiday brochures will be recorded through the process of asking the customer where they heard about the club. If it is successful Ski Rossendale could look at other forms of advertising through tourist sectors, such as Manchester Online and other guides within the area.

Longer Term Objectives

As well as short term objectives, Ski Rossendale needs to devise the long term plan for the company as regards to increasing the success of the business. Possible future plans could include:

The out sourcing of the café and the function room. This could be leased to a local business or even a larger organisation such as McDonald's. This would generate more revenue for Rossendale as money will be received from the tenant and also capital will not be used in the running of the café. By out sourcing, more visitors may be attracted to visit Ski Rossendale, particularly if a franchise such as McDonalds is involved.

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The leasing of a mini-bus or hiring a coach to transport visitors such as school students and university students. Special deals could be devised such as the transport to and from Ski Rossendale and a day pass for one set fee. This is something which can be considered after this year's school visit and fresher's fairs visits. If enough interest is generated then the transport could become a regular event.

Ski Rossendale may also consider having more leisure activities available at the site, to enable them to compete with Xscape, Castlefield. This is something which can only be considered when a large amount of revenue has been generated, the brand is strong and there is a strong customer base.

Ski Rossendale already has a children's (3-5 year old) skiing club and a disabled group. In the future other clubs may be set up at Ski Rossendale such as a teen skiing club and a student's club. This will allow participants to feel that they belong to a group and able to share their experiences with other members. Mini-tournaments may be held within each group with the winner obtaining a trophy; this will encourage people to practice.

Maybe setting up an on-site store. This can sell various products, such as ski equipment, clothing and other gifts. Ski Rossendale may also wish to introduce gift vouchers for day passes etc.

References

www.Xscape.co.uk)

(www.snowboardclub.co.uk).

www.skiandsnowboard.co.uk ):

www.education/gardian.co.uk).

Company Structures, David Wainman, 1995, published by Sweet And Maxwell Limited.

Organizations, A strategic Perspective, Paul R Ferguson Et Glennys J. Ferguson, 2000, Macmillan Press LTD

The Formation of Inter-Organizational Networks, Mark Ebers, 1997, published by Oxford University Press.

http://www.audioart.co.uk/uk-radio-stations/manchester-england.htm

www.stage.manchesteronline.co.uk/newspapers/rossendale.html

www.google.com

Stout, Patricia A. and Roland T. Rust (1993), "Emotional Feelings and Evaluative Dimensions of Advertising: Are they Related?," Journal of Advertising, (March), 61-71.

Centre for Emotional Marketing (www.technologymarketing.com )

Company Structures, David Wainman, 1995, published by Sweet And Maxwell Limited.

Organizations, A strategic Perspective, Paul R Ferguson Et Glennys J. Ferguson, 2000, Macmillan Press LTD

The Formation of Inter-Organizational Networks, Mark Ebers, 1997, published by Oxford University Press.

(http://travel.timesonline.co.uk).

-FitzGerald, Maureen Marketing communications classics : an international collection of classic a . - London : Thomson Learning, 2000

-Jobber, David Principles and practice of marketing / David Jobber . - 4th ed . - London : McGraw-Hill, 2004

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www.education/gardian.co.uk).

www.hylife.unn.ac.uk )

wells, W Burnett, J & Moriarty, S (2003) Advertising Principles and Practice- 6th edition, Prentice Hall

Fill, C (2002) Marketing Communications:Context, Content and Strategies 3rd Edition, London ,Prentice Hall

Fill, Chris Marketing communications : engagements, strategies and practice / Chris Fill . - 4th ed . - Harlow : Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2005

Belch, G E and Belch, M A, (2001) The fundaments of advertising 2nd Edition Butterworth Heinemann

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