Table of Contents
1. Terms of Reference
3. The TOWS Matrix
4. Strategic Options
5. Strategic Choice
5.1 The aspect of suitability
5.2 The aspect of acceptability
5.3 The aspect of feasibility
6. Implementation & Marketing Mix
6.1 Marketing Mix
6.1.7 Physical Evidence
6.2 Marketing Control
List of References
1. Terms of Reference
Who does not know all the successful and unsuccessful start-ups in the online business sector? This market is hotly contested and changing rapidly. This is especially the case with regards to social and community platforms like Facebook or MySpace.
New entries have to have a very good business concept and a sophisticated marketing strategy to survive in this business.
TravelAdviser.net is a new entrant. It is their vision to provide an economically successful international travel information network with the main aim of investing in local communities in developing countries.
By starting a business, a vision of the future of the company is essential. However, the choice of the marketing strategy can determine success or defeat.
On the following pages, different possible marketing strategies for TravelAdviser.net will be analysed. Furthermore, one strategy will be chosen to develop a successful marketing mix and plan.
By analysing current promotion and communication activities, recommendations for a successful e-marketing campaign will be given.
In the main part of the first analysis concerning TravelAdviser.net, both the internal and external environment of the company were analysed.
The analysis started with identifying an appropriate vision, which is mentioned in the introduction, and the formulation of a mission statement.
The mission of Traveladviser.net is to build up a social interactive travel information platform which will have different features and offer raw information.
Furthermore the support of local communities and the charitable aspect are essential parts of the company`s mission.
The company`s aims and objectives are crucial in establishing future marketing strategies.
XXXX (19.2.2008) mentions that the number of users, which visit and register on TravelAdviser.net is expected to grow in the next years. The support of charity organisations should be encouraged. This can be achieved by increasing profit. Furthermore, one very important part in the online business is the aspect of the world-wide known. To make a lot of profit the brand of the company has to be known in different countries.
A travel information page can only be truly successful when every internet user around the world is able to access it.
Further objectives of the company are to reach 5 million viewers per month and attract 250000 members, in addition to giving 25 percent of profit to charity by the end of 2009.
The internal audit identified the company`s resources, which firstly are the people, where a couple of IT specialists and advisers are available. The company`s own capital and the backup of two other companies are strong financial sources.
Concerning competencies, education, experience and specific tourism and IT knowledge were also identified.
Regarding customer analysis, the target market of TravelAdviser.net was segmented into social-demographic, geographic and psychographic characteristics.
The results show that the potential customers of TravelAdviser.net are students and travellers aged between 20 to 50. Secondly, they come from anywhere that internet access is available.
The analysis of future trends in the online business was also part of the first analysis. That might be quite important for forward-looking marketing strategy.
As mentioned, the online travel information market is highly influenced by smaller and well established competitors. The analysis highlighted two main competitors: TripAdvisor and WAYN. Besides these two, smaller and sub competitors such as Facebook or YouTube were also mentioned.
Finally it can be said that the existing target market can be served with the regular development of the website. Coping with the main competitors might be more difficult as their image is strong and they already offer the same features as r Travel Adviser.
However, by developing a strong and future focused marketing strategy, the website might successful (Group Report, 2008).
3. The TOWS Matrix
Choosing the correct strategic marketing strategy is essential for the future development of TravelAdviser.net.
Thereby the development of a TOWS analysis, which is shown in figure 1, is a useful tool to evaluate different strategic options (Adcock et al., 2001).
By systemising the different strategic options from the SWOT analysis, the TOWS analysis highlights which option might be the best (Heinz Weihrich, 1995).
TravelAdviser.net (TA) is a newcomer in the online travel information network, with no image and reputation. At the beginning of operations, this might be both an opportunity and a risk. With an effective strategy, TA could penetrate the market very quickly and establish its brand.
However, the risks are much higher, because without a good strategy the business might fail. Nevertheless, every new business idea is risky and every entrepreneur has to be willing to take the risk.
As mentioned previously, number of strategic options available is very high. However, TA has to consider external realities and internal capabilities.
In addition to opportunity and risk, there is the fact that environments are not static but subject to constant change (Adcock et al., 2001).
The following strategic choice is primarily focused on customers, because, as mentioned, one aim of the company is to increase its customer base.
illustration not visible in this excerpt
TOWS analysis of TravelAdviser.net (Source: adopted by MindTools, 2008)
4. Strategic Options
Both the main strategy and strategic alternatives are very important in guaranteeing the success of a marketing strategy (Aaker, 2008).
In this section, the different strategic alternatives will be evaluated and one will be considered for future planning.
The first strategy to be discussed is market penetration, which is an element of the growth strategy. By combining internal strengths and external opportunities, different market penetration strategies can be developed, with the overall aim of growth. As mentioned previously, it is TA`s aim to grow.
In this aspect TA`s aim must be to improve market share (Aaker, 2008).
However, TA has no reputation and an unknown brand name, which could be a risk.
Nevertheless, one way of penetrating an existing product market could be by translating the website into languages which are not provided by TA`s competitors, such as Chinese or Japanese. The economy in Chinas and other Asian countries is increasing. More and more Asians will travel and they need information about different destinations.
Furthermore, TripAdvisor does not provide a version of its website in Chinese, which might be a possibility for TravelAdviser.net as well.
Further alternatives are the extension of user-generated content by adding new features or applications and by encouraging customer loyalty, for example by offering bonus programmes and vouchers, because “loyal customers are more profitable” (Doyle, 2002, p.41).
Strategic alliances with other, smaller competitors might also be an alternative, allowing the firm to compete with WAYN and TripAdvisor, for example.
Indeed, this strategy is one of the least risky alternatives, especially in the short-term (Doyle, 2006). By developing “…aggressive marketing tactics like competitive pricing, sales promotion or advertising, a success of this strategy could be possible” (Drummond & Ensor, 2001, p. 101).
Nevertheless, while it might be easy to penetrate a market, the product must be innovative and of high quality.
However, Drummond & Ensor (2001, p. 101) argue that: “…the potential for market penetration is often limited and strategic plans may require additional alternatives”.
Another growth strategy which also exploits external opportunities is the market development strategy. However, in this case, opportunities are used to balance or avoid internal weaknesses (Mind Tools, 2008).
In this case, TA will offer the same product to new markets or segments by geographical expansion, for example to Asia (Adcock et al., 2001).
This could take the form of establishing a network of Asian partners and advertising agencies which specialise in the Asian travel market.
Furthermore the use of advertising in Asia is essential, requiring contacts with Asian promotion agencies.
A considerable problem for user-generated information websites is biased information and lack of control. In this case, TA needs to hire experts who control the daily data stream. While this maybe expensive, customers are looking for high quality information.
However, Aaker (2008, p. 267) mentions that: “…market development is based on the premise that the business is operating successfully”.
This is a problem, as TravelAdviser.net has not operated before. It is the first launch of the website, without any experience and reputation.
The third strategy, which is focused on internal strengths to avoid external threats such as competition, is the focus strategy (Mind Tools, 2008). This strategy “…concentrates on a specialist product range or unique segment of the market or a combination of them both” (Lancaster and Reynolds, 2004, p. 161).
This type of strategy is based on factors such as geographic area, end-user focus and product line specialist (Drummond & Ensor, 2001).
An option for the company is to focus on the Asian market and to identify one special type of potential customer, or maybe a group of individual travellers.
Today this might be a small group; however, with increasing economies in India and China, this group could increase.
Another option is the provision of unbiased information, as already mentioned in the market development strategy.
One crucial reason for choosing this strategy could be the social background of the founder and his IT department in Sri Lanka. He may already know the needs of Asian people concerning information websites and might have some contacts in the Asian business travel sector.
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- marketing plan launch startup start-up traveladviser strategies TOWS matrix strategic options choice suitability acceptability feasibility mix product price promotion marketing mix process people physical evidence marketing control