Liverpool John Lennon Airport
- Introduction. 3
- Synergistic Marketing Planning at the Liverpool John Lennon Airport 3
- Marketing Audit of Liverpool John Lennon Airport 4
- Marketing Communications Mix of Liverpool John Lennon Airport 7
- Internal Marketing. 8
Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) established in the 1930s and originally known as the Speke Airport has been suffering from a number of issues in recent times. For example, the airport currently faces competition from nearby Manchester airport. Additionally, the airport is not easily accessible by public transport. These issues have led to a reduction in the number of customers using the airport, thus limiting its profitability and growth potentials. As a newly appointed Marketing Manager at the LJLA, I present a report that discusses marketing issues critical to business performance improvement of the LJLA. The report covers four main areas: First, the paper explains the synergistic marketing planning process through a discussion of the analysis, planning, and implementation issues; second, the paper aims and conducting a marketing audit to identify the key issues currently facing the LJLA; third, the paper provides a discussion of how the marketing communications mix incorporated into the marketing plan should be employed to synthesize on the new identity in order to promote the growth of the passenger base; fourth and finally, the paper discusses how internal marketing can be used to deliver improved service quality at the LJLA.
Synergistic Marketing Planning can be defined as a process whereby all organizations work together towards achieving the same goal using the same methods. It is a process of determining future courses of action for the organization to take in the wake of its present situation. A marketing plan is a structure that serves as a reasonable basis for deciding on the target market for a product or service, the target market’s needs and wants and fulfilling those needs and wants more than competitors can do. (Hiebing and Cooper, 2003). An effective marketing plan requires “disciplined marketing planning”. (Hiebing and Cooper, 2003). “Disciplined marketing planning is a comprehensive, sequential, interlocking step-by-step decision and action process”. (Hiebing and Cooper, 2003: xxiv; Hiebing and Cooper, 2004 ). The marketing plan should be directly linked to the corporate strategy through the marketing strategy. The marketing plan should be based on thorough analysis of consumers, competitors and other forces around the organisations environment such as the culture. (Wind and Robertson, 1983). This analysis should be integrated with other strategic inputs such as research and development, design, human resource management to arrive at an integrated business strategy. (Wind and Robertson, 1983). Therefore, LJLA management needs to reconsider its business and marketing strategies. The airport needs to begin by determining its target customers. As mentioned in the case report, the City of Liverpool is considered a cultural and commercial centre with the population witnessing a 2 percent increase over the period 1998 to 2008. Moreover, the City has been rebranded as Britain’s “Capital of Pop Music”. These attributes provide an opportunity for the growth in the target market. The LJLA needs to begin by understanding the needs of this growing market and work towards meeting those needs more than its competitors, especially Manchester Airport. It should incorporate the needs of the target population into its marketing and business strategy. Wind and Robertson (1983) emphasise the need to test the resulting strategy against the reaction of consumers, competitors and other stakeholders. That is, the LJLA should try to assess the likely market response to the proposed strategy by the target consumers and competitors. As noted in the case study, the airport is not easily accessible by public transport. Moreover, Manchester airport is just by the corner and poses significant competition. It is obvious that there are plans to make the LJLA more accessible by public transport. There has also been increased concern regarding the protection of the environmental and the quest for less CO2 emission. The LJLA management therefore needs to consider how environmental protection agencies are going to respond to the construction of railway lines and other accessible routes to the airport. What are the measures put in place to ensure that damage is not done to the environment? Moreover, there have been increased concerns on airport security following the September 11 terrorist attacks. The LJLA management needs to also reassure consumers that it has good security measures in place to avoid such incidences.
The objective of a marketing audit is to gather information about the company’s current marketing situation. (Stapleton and Thomas, 1997). SWOT analysis serves as critical framework for the marketing audit. (Stapleton and Thomas, 1997). SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strengths represent internal capabilities such as skill or specialised technology, which cannot be matched by competitors; weaknesses on the contrary represent internal inadequacies in resources and skills as opposed to competitors; favourable situations in the environment such a growth in the customer base represent opportunities that the company can take advantage of; and threats are unfavourable situations in the macro-environment that can have adverse effects on the company such as slow market growth, increase in the bargaining power of suppliers, unanticipated changes in technology and promulgation and enforcement of regulations that inhibit the progress of the company. (Stapleton and Thomas, 1997).
By applying SWOT analysis, the company achieves a reasonable basis for systematically identifying the above factors and thus facilitates the best match between them. The prevailing factors at a given point in time call for a different business strategy. For example, as shown in figure 1 below a company can be in one of four quadrants (Q1 to Q4) at any given point in time in a SWOT analysis grid or a company may straddle across different more than one quadrant. One can observe that the first quadrant Q1 is the best quadrant to be in. It is characterised by strengths and opportunities. A company that is completely in this quadrant with no threats and weaknesses needs to adopt an aggressive business strategy. A company in the second quadrant is characterised by both strengths and threats. A company in this situation should consider a diversified business approach. A company in the third quadrant, Q3 is in the worst state. It is plagued with weaknesses and threats and finally the fourth quadrant Q4 describes a company that is characterised by opportunities but has weaknesses. such a company simply needs to adopt a turn around approach. The LJLA can be said to belong to all four quadrants but its most relevant quadrant is the fourth quadrant. The growing nature of the City provides opportunities to increase it s customer base. The recent global financial crisis, the increased environmental regulations relating to carbon emission and nearby Manchester Airport pose threats to the company. The company is has strengths in that it has a good management team that can help it to revamp its current position. Its weaknesses include financial constraints, lack of adequate skills in some areas etc.
Figure 1: SWOT Analysis Grid
Source: Stapleton and Thomas (1997).
Current product analysis
Liverpool airport has recently been re-branded from its old name Speke airport into the Liverpool John Lennon Airport which was named after the Beatles a famous pop group who came from Liverpool. The Air port provides various products and services.
Some product can be purchased from the duty free shopping area or in the form of a travel product such as different flight packages for standard and premier offer. The airport has seen an increase in profit due to the new launch of Easy Jet low cost airlines. This will provide customer a chance to fly at a lower price. However the nature of the business is predominately made up of different service this being the key element in making the business ran smoothly.
The branding attribute in the pass has left a poor representation of the company image however the due to the re-launch of the new name the airport aims to create a new positioning in the publics mind of a modern image, in exchange for its old fashion perception. The recent development of the new infrastructure development that would help to connect the airport with the main city making it easy for people to get in and out of the centre faster.
The branding strategy that that has been used to help re-brand JLAP are perceptual mapping and positioning map. In the begging Speke airport was position in the lower left half of the quadrate “we are less acceptable/affordable” and we are cheaper and more affordable however due to the new association with the Beatles song group the image looks more hip and youthful. As a result the have shifted to the right bottom right quadrate between “we are more acceptable/affordable” and “we are cheaper (more affordable).
The methods employed by firms to inform, persuade, incite and remind consumers both directly and indirectly about the brands they sell are referred to as marketing communications. (Keller, 2001). According to Smith et al. (1999 marketing communications is a systematic relationship between a business and its markets in which the marketer assembles a wide variety of ideas, designs, messages, media, shapes, forms and colours with the objective of stimulating a particular perception of products and services by individual people who have been aggregated into a target market. The outcome of the marketing communications process described in Smith et al. (1999) is called the “marketing communications mix”. The marketing communications mix depends on a number of marketing communications tools, which include personal selling, advertising, sales promotions, public relations, direct marketing, design, word of mouth, etc. (Smith et al., 1999; Chen and Xie, 2004). Using a particular tool depends on the distance of the product from the target consumer. When the product is distant from the consumer, the marketer can using advertising as a direct marketing tool or he/she may use public relations as an indirect marketing tool; when the product is close to the consumer or it is at the point of sale, personal selling is employed as a direct marketing tool and point of sales promotion is employed as an indirect tool; finally, when the product or service is close to and/or distant from the buying point, the direct tool employed is direct marketing (e.g., through direct mail; or exhibitions) and the indirect tool employed is design (e.g., packaging, brand signatures and corporate identity. Word of mouth is also common in the latter case. (Smith et al., 1999). The media that is used for advertising should depend on how often the target consumers use the media. For example, if target customers most often use the TV then the company should use the TV. LJLA is open to a variety of media and different customers use the different media in different ways. Therefore, the management of LJLA should begin by studying how often the different media so as to decide which media to use to broadcast the message. Some consumers may prefer receiving direct mail, while others may depend on personal selling. The company should conduct a study of the different customer groups so as to gain insights about how they want to communicate with the company. is it through the internet, through the phone, through the radio or through the TV. Understanding these different preferences will help the management of LJLA to design a marketing communications mix that best suits the needs of the customers and thus increase the potential to increase revenue. Middle class and old people for example may prefer direct mail and radio communications while youths may prefer using the TV. The management should also understand that communications tools may change over time as a result of changes in technological and demographic factors. For example, a few years back advertising on the internet was not as common as today. Today radio and TV are facing significant threats from the internet as far as advertising is concerned. (Keller, 2001; Chen and Jinhong, 2004).
The internal marketing concept views employees as internal customers. (George, 1990; Rafiq and Ahmed, 2000). The objective of internal marketing is the achievement of effective internal exchange between the organisation and its employee group, which serves as a prerequisite for successful exchange with external markets. (George, 1990). Employee motivation is an important aspect of the internal marketing concept because the idea behind the internal marketing concept is to improve product and service quality. (Rafiq and Ahmed, 2000). Employees work directly with the products and often encounter customers during the distribution face of the product or service. They can only provide high quality products and services to customer when they are satisfied. It is therefore necessary to ensure that employees are satisfied because it is only through the satisfaction of employees that the company can satisfy customer and thus increase sales and profitability. The management of LJLA therefore should consider its employees’ working conditions very important. Employees should be treated as if they are part and parcel of the organisation. They should be motivated by providing them with incentives such as share appreciation rights and other bonuses. With the notion that they may one day own shares in the company, they will work harder to meet the objectives of the firm. It is also important for the different departments of LJLA to work in close collaboration. The marketing, R&D and other departments should share information about current developments in the market and this should be taken into account when developing or revising strategy.
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