PATS' marketing/sales strategy will be two pronged, one to address each of our two segmented targeted groups:
- Families/individuals: PATS will be using advertisements as a way to increase visibility for the company. The advertisements will be placed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the local newspaper with the highest readership level in the area. The ads will appear in the weekly travel section. Premier will also be working with associations such as the American Automotive Association (AAA) and other community groups to try to build up a network of users. PATS believes that working with these groups will provide them with a steady flow of customers. Additionally, since a lot of these groups are close knit among members, referrals will be quite powerful when they are coming from a member who already has established a trust bond with the other organizational member.
- Business Travelers: PATS will be contacting the travel department of many of the different companies in Cleveland that have employees traveling and tell them about PATS' service and offer them an introductory discount. This will be an important segment to win over, as companies routinely have employees traveling throughout the year. Businesses are also valuable because once the initial contact is made, the relationship can be turned into a steady stream of business. Additionally, there will be advertisements targeted for this market segment. The ads will appear in the Business Journal of Cleveland as well as the business section of the Plain Dealer.
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The mission of Premier Airport Transportation is to provide the customer the finest airport transportation service available at a reasonable price. We exist to attract and maintain customers. When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place. Our services will exceed the expectations of our customers.
- Steadily gain in market share.
- Increase repeat customers by 3% per quarter.
- Decrease customer acquisition costs, measured by a decrease in marketing costs divided by the number of new customers.
- Increase the profit margin by 1% per quarter.
- Decrease training costs of employees every two quarters while simultaneously improving service quality.
- Decrease the operation costs of the leased vehicles through improved preventive maintenance and behavior modification.
The customers can be divided into two groups: families/individuals on pleasure trips, and business travelers.
- The first group is taking a trip for pleasure and will either be an individual or a family. Their choices are to drive and park in long-term parking, take a taxi, or use a limousine service. This group does not typically mind paying a bit more for a solution that takes care of their transportation to and from the airport. Since they are on vacation, they appreciate having a service that gets them to the airport in a seamless way so they do not have to worry about anything. All they have to do is make the reservation and show up at the arranged pickup point.
- The second group is the business traveler. In the past the company would typically hire a limousine service to pick up their worker. With PATS as an alternative, there is a transportation service that functions like a limousine (you can pre-schedule pick up dates and be taken directly home or to the airport) but without the overly fancy car and the high price. As companies are always looking at ways to cut costs, PATS offers a very reasonable solution in terms of comfort and cost.
PATS will position itself as a professional, reliable airport transportation service with limousine like service at affordable rates. PATS will achieve the desired positioning by leveraging its competitive edge.
PATS' competitive advantage will be based on an incentive system that rewards the driver economically when they achieve good service, develop repeat customers and act in a team fashion instead of competing against other company drivers. This incentive system will reward drivers when:
- The company receives positive feedback about the driver (a feedback system will be set up).
- The customer is turned into a repeat customer.
- The driver develops new customers.
- The driver acts in manners that are team based instead of individual gain.
Through this complicated but purposeful system, PATS is incentivizing behavior that it believes will help the company succeed. Additionally, PATS will be having the driver lease the cars through PATS for several reasons:
- With PATS leasing the cars, they are able to get a volume discount for the leases. PATS will actually be passing on the costs to the drivers.
- Leasing through PATS encourages a long-term employee as there are fees to break a lease and PATS includes provisions in the lease that do not allow drivers to use the cars for more than two months beyond termination of employment.
- By having the drivers lease the cars, they have an economic incentive to maintain the cars as they are financial responsible for damage beyond reasonable wear and tear.
The single objective for Premier is to position itself as the market leading airport ride service. The marketing strategy will seek to first create customer awareness regarding Premier and its services offered, develop its customer base, and work toward building strong customer loyalty and new customer referrals.
The message that Premier seeks to communicate is that it offers limousine-like airport service without a limousine price. This will appeal to both business travelers as well as families that use the airport for their travels. This message will be communicated through a variety of methods. The first method of communication will be advertisements. Two different sources will be used for the advertisements, The Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Business Journal of Cleveland. Within the Plain Dealer, ads will be placed in both the business section as well as the travel section.
The second method of communication will be visibility generated through relationships cultivated with organizations such as American Automotive Association. AAA in particular has an active, loyal membership base and visibility in its membership newsletters and display posters at the office will help position Premier.
The last method of communication will be networking with different companies travel departments. Sam is well connected within the community and will leverage these contacts to gain "entry" into the larger companies in hopes of generating a constant stream of business from the travel departments.
Premier Airport Transportation's marketing mix is comprised of the following approaches to pricing, distribution, advertising and promotion, and customer service.
- Pricing: The pricing model will be based on a per-trip rate with a slight discount offered for round trip service.
- Distribution: By virtue of the type of service offered, distribution will occur where ever the customer requires it to be.
- Promotion and Advertising: Premier will use various activities to achieve positioning and visibility including advertisements and strategic relationships.
- Customer Service: The business model has been premised on the assumption that outstanding customer service is required in order to build a sustainable business based on repeat customers and new customer referrals.
Premier Airport Transportation used a survey to gain insight into prospective customers preferences, needs and desires. The surveys were given out to travelers at the airport. The surveys were composed of a total of 20 questions. The number of questions were kept low to encourage people to complete the survey.
Sam used a statistics graduate student to develop the surveys. The careful construction of surveys is imperative to achieve a statistically significant results that are meaningful. A total of 200 surveys were handed out and 59 were returned completed, a fairly high return rate.
The results of the survey ultimately served two functions:
- Confirm/validate previously held assumptions;
- Provide insight into prospective customers preferences and thought processes.
The surveys provided copious amount of information for both functions. Due to the large amount of information that was mined, Premier plans to conduct more primary research in 18 months.
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