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This sample marketing plan was created with Marketing Plan Pro software.

AEU will use several different forms of communication for their marketing strategy.  The first effort will revolve around their Internet site.  AEU's demographic relies heavily on the Internet for information.  While AEU currently has a website, they recognize that resources are required to maintain the site as well as continually improve it.  The website will constantly tested to determine that it is coming up as one of the top results when key words are entered into a search engine.

Another form of communication is magazine advertising.  The advertising will occur in magazines whose readership has similar demographics as AEU. The magazine advertisements will be used to increase visibility of AEU and position it as the top service provider in the high-end hard adventure market. 

As time progresses and a loyal customer base is established, AEU will rely on email newsletters and direct mail to the customers that are on the mailing list.  The newsletters will share specials (both trips as well as special deals) to this select group of customers.  The goal of the newsletters is to incentivize the past customers to join AEU for another trip with a special deal.

As operations progress, the AEU will continue to measure our progress relative to competitors and to the growth of the market(s) in which we operate. Though the primary target market has been defined, there may be new possibilities to serve additional segments. As the product is defined and the strategy differentiation is defined based on competitive strengths, AEU will be better able to determine whether adjustments in positioning are necessary. Access to important information concerning the market, competitors, etc., is available. However it is not free. For the purposes of this project, we feel it is unnecessary to incur additional expense.

The marketing strategy will be to develop long-term relationships with customers. AEU will keep a database from which to obtain important demographic & psychographic information. As the business becomes profitable, plans will be implemented to expand. There is virtually no limit to the number and variety of trips AEU can provide. Trips can take place on every continent and in most countries. The goal is to establish AEU as an international provider of top of the line hard-adventure travel.

Mission

Adventure Excursions Unlimited's mission is to provide the customers with the highest quality outdoor adventure.  We exist to attract and maintain customers.  When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place.

Marketing Objectives

  1. Maintain positive, steady growth each quarter.
  2. Experience a growth in new customers who are turned into long-term customers.
  3. To be recognized as the premier high-end hard adventure trip provider.

Financial Objectives

  1. A double digit growth rate for each future year.
  2. A reduction of fixed overhead through disciplined growth.
  3. Continue to decrease the variable costs associated with the production of trips.

Target Marketing

AEU will target two different groups:

  • High income, health conscious individuals: this group  of people are typically professionals, with an average income over $75,000.  This group works hard, but when they have time off, they play hard with active vacations.  They are willing to spend more money on a vacation to get more personalized attention.

  • Young, active "trustafarians:" this group of people tend to be younger than the other target segment.  This group has a lot of disposable income, but not because they earn it, but because they have wealthy parents.  This group tends to live in cities such as Boulder, CO, Bend, OR, Bellingham, WA or Taos, NM.  They choose these cities because these are "active cities."  All of them have many outdoor activities within minutes of the city.  This group makes up a much smaller population relative to the other targeted group.  This group loves to play in the outdoors, pushing themselves physically, and have their parent's money to do so.

We are targeting these special populations for several reasons:

  • This segment up until now has been underserved.
  • This market segment traditionally spends a fair amount of money on adventure trips.
  • This target segment seems to be willing to pay a premium for a top-shelf adventure excursion.

Positioning

AEU will promote/position itself as a differentiated provider of luxury hard adventure travel, and will price themselves accordingly within the chosen service niche.

AEU positioning will leverage their competitive edge:

  •  The competitive edge in our services is the access we provide to popular "hard" adventure sports without the budget constraint of typical travelers.

  • The majority of providers cater to these people.  Adventure Excursions Unlimited intends to use the same service providers but provide more exclusive trips.  Accommodations will be primarily in small luxury hotels and resorts.  Meals will be exceptional, more like gourmet cuisine.

  • The adventure activities will be better than average because the clients have more disposable income.  They won't get stuck with people they don't like; they will get access to the best terrain, sections of rivers, etc.  AEU's activities are very popular.  People have no problem spending $4,000 per week on heli-skiing.  Moreover, they generally make this type of activity an annual event.

Additionally, AEU's competitive edge is customer attention and customer service.  AEU has a very low client to employee ratio, allowing AEU to provide close personal attention to the clients.  This is the level of service expected at this price point and AEU intends to exceed the customers expectations.

Strategy Pyramids

The single objective is to position AEU as the premier, high-end, hard adventure service provider, commanding a majority of market share within seven years.  The marketing strategy will seek to first create customer awareness regarding their services offered, develop that customer base, and work toward building customer loyalty and referrals.

The message that AEU will seek to communicate is that AEU offers the highest level of service for their high-end hard adventure trips.  The message will be communicated through a variety of methods.  The first will be their website.  The second method will be magazine advertisements, the third method is a direct mail (snail mail and email) campaign.

Marketing Mix

AEU's marketing mix is comprised of the following pricing, distribution, advertising and promotion, and customer service.

  • Pricing: AEU does not compete on price, they compete on service.  Additionally, the target market is not price sensitive.  To a large degree price is irrelevant as long as it is reasonably proportional to the services offered.

  • Distribution: AEU's services will be distributed throughout the United States and the world, depending on the location of the trip.

  • Advertising and Promotion: The most successful advertising will be the magazine advertisements as well as the direct mail.

  • Customer service: Obsessive customer attention is the mantra.  AEU's philosophy that is established throughout the organization is whatever needs to be done to make the customer happy must occur, even at the expense of short-term profits.  In the long run, this investment will pay off with a fiercly loyal customer base who is extremely vocal to their friends regarding referrals.

Marketing Research

During the initial phases of the marketing plan development, several focus groups were held to gain insight into the customers needs and desires for a high-end hard adventure trip.  These focus groups provided useful insight into the decisions and the decision making process of target consumers.

An additional source of dynamic marketing research is a feedback mechanism based on a suggestion card system.  The suggestion card has several statements customers are asked to rate in terms of a given scale.  There are also several open ended questions that allow the customer to freely offer constructive criticism or praise.  AEU will work hard to implement reasonable suggestions in order to improve their service offerings as well as show their commitment to the customer that their suggestions are valued.

The last source of market research is competitive analysis.  AEU will be constantly observing the competitors to look for any changes in service offerings or business model changes.

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