Given the demands of today’s competitive and dynamic environment, it is quite challenging to understand strategic marketing issues facing organizations and develop the capability for long term business success. In this case study, this report aims to explore the marketing strategy of Gordon Highlanders Museum (GHM) in order to build and maintain a competitive advantage in the dynamic marketplace.
The critical analysis mainly focused on how marketing mix 7’P’s in GHM come together to build and develop the existing museum’s marketing strategy. More specifically, existing overall marketing strategy in GHM emphasize the differentiation option on product, price and promotion to meet the demand of adult, senior citizen, children and other different visitor group. And it also combines with focus strategy to build the customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
In addition, based on the 7Ps analysis, the strategic opinion for GHM in future is also identified as a combination with differentiated and focused strategy in order to build the awareness of visitors as well as profit generation. Moreover, differentiated strategy of GHM should emphasize three offers: product, promotion and process to enhance its competitive advantage. More specifically, process act as marketing mix in future can be improved by offer on-line booking service on line to boost its efficiency.
Finally, future position of GHM is presented after the analysis of its target market and its differentiated advantageand. It should emphasize on offering the unique visit experience in the featured environment to distinguish its advantage with other competitors in a sustainable way. All in all, it is important to be aware of the success of marketing strategy is largely relied on successful implementation by senior managers in GHM.
Gordon Highlanders Museum (GHM) is one of the main local visit attractions in Aberdeen. It has unique collection of regiment’s treasures and dramatic story of one of the British Army’s most famous regiments, which spans 200 years of world history. The attractiveness in GHM is its unique history as well as a variety of special product and service. And the museum employs professional managers to introduce new approaches, marketing strategies and promotional activities at low costs, which would increase the number of visitors and income generation.
This report analyzes all the elements (7Ps) of existing marking strategy of GHM and. After assessment of current marketing strategy of GHM, a future strategy option is presented to raise the awareness of visitors and generate income to make ends meet. Finally, how to positioning in future for GHM to gain competitive advantage in the future is concluded in the last section of this report.
The seven elements (7Ps) of the marketing mix are used to analyze and examine the various strands of existing marketing strategy of GHM. And how these elements work together to create and maintain a competitive advantage of museum.
Product is a key element in the market offering as revenue earners (Goulding, 1999). GHM has a wide range of products and service including tea room, gardens, unique collections, shop gifts etc. The main distinct products are analyzed below in the term of marketing strategy.
Differentiated products offer in GHM such as Dunchess Jean’s Tea room, the gardens and
educational workshop make great contributions to meet the different market segments. Dunchess Jean’s Tea room is a specialized product of GHM that targeted on adults and senior citizen and meet satisfy their needs. As an important source of revenue generation in museum, tea room service give visitors a unique experience that other competitors can’t stay even. Differentiated product makes GHM prominent in the market share and obtains sustainable advantage in the long term.
The garden is also a featured product that target on senior citizen, children and those who use the tea room socially. As a memorial and as a place of beauty and tranquillity, it perfectly combines with tea room service for brand-building of the museum. It is substantially beneficial to help museum to develop brand-loyalty visitors and win a good reputation through visitor’s publicity.
Educational workshop is also a differentiated service that helps GHM establish sound reputation and attracts more children follow to museum. With the full utilization of its internal resources, such as historic photographs or uniforms, museum provides the high quality of teaching course about World War Two to school parties to educate them with history background. This workshop can generate both economic and social value to the brand of museum so that more school parties will follow up to museum.
GHM also provide the evening dinner service and buffet suppers and cocktail parties to build a brand that reinforce its image to customers and develop loyalty customers. A strong correlation exits between its brand choices and culture that certain product represents (P. Kotler, 1991). Waterloo dinner and the doornkop dinner is one of the most featured services provided by GHM. It perfectly combines the traditional dinner service with regiment culture style such as ancient decoration and Gordon Highlanders featured Whisky. Hence corporations and group visitors would view GHM has a unique brand and organising meeting, dinners or celebrity luncheons amidst the regimental treasures would be a symbol of class.
Price remains a critical element of marketing mix for GHM, many existing strategic pricing tactics are evaluated including product mix pricing, discriminatory pricing, and promotional pricing with the consideration of price objective of the museum.
As a non-profit organization, GHM pricing objectives is to cover its operation costs, so the price setting of GHM for admission tickets, tea room service, and other relevant shop gifts is cost-based. All the income from the sales of vouchers, shop products and other service will be allocated to pay staffs and volunteers and bills.
In addition, considering the intensive competition in market place, GHM takes some promotional pricing tactics and adjustment such as initiating seasonal discount during the off-peak month of April and October or offer free to tickets to each child who visits school to increase the numbers of visitors. So present charge for admission stay at a reasonable level in comparison with other local attraction. It is very helpful for the museum to build a competitive defence and attract potential visitors.
Product mix pricing is one dominant pricing strategy of GHM. Because the museum has not only collections and exhibition halls but also integrating with a wide range of supporting services and products such as tea room, evening dinner, online shop etc. And these differentiated products and service need to be priced separately as an entity to serve the need of a number of different groups and individuals and build a strong competitive advantage across the market. Actually some mixed products in museum are mutually supported. Senior citizens who choose to visit the museum may result in subsequent tea purchases. Therefore, different products or service sells at different price which come together to benefit the museum as a whole.
The museum also takes discriminatory pricing as current price strategy. It sell admission ticket a at different prices to different market segments, more specifically is to charge a lower admission fee to students and senior citizens, it is particular fundamental to pricing, for customers differ enormously in price sensitivity, for example to senior and children price is the dominant criterion, but for adults and group visitor, high quality of service are much more significant. The recognition of different price sensitivity and perceived value among customers enables GHM to formulate current price setting more practical and acceptable.
The promotional mix in GHM consists of advertising, sales promotion, and public relations to attempt to communicate with various target audiences and raise the awareness of potential visitors.
Within the marketing mix, advertising also plays an important role in generating income and build an awareness of product or service. GHM puts advertising in a heavily important position to build brand preference within the scope of cost control. The most wide spread advertising way for GHM is to produce large number of leaflets which covers all aspects of the museum, including garden, tea room and shop. Although the relevant costs including print and distribution costs are comparative high, it is really worthy for GHM to attract more visitors and create a good reputation in the long term. Furthermore, the GHM focuses the majority of advertising activities in Aberdeen and Grampian area or surrounding place in a cost effective way to build brand preference. Such as bus and library poster or advertising in local press and journal. Through a variety of ways to adverting it not only increasingly raises the awareness of potential visitors but also becomes powerful tool to maintain its market share and improve its competitive position.
Public relations (PR) involves a variety of programs designed to promote or protect a company’s image or its individual products (Kotler, P.605). As for GHM’s promotion strategy, building a good quality relationship with various media to create and maintain an appealing image in publics accounts for a large proportion of all promotion activities. For example, the museum takes advantage of good relationship with press to place PR stories in national newspaper, local publications and magazines to build awareness of reputation and bring attention to interested groups. Occasionally PR stories are placed in more target publication to build good will in school group and senior citizens. In addition, because of cost reason, the museum also adds TV advertisement as a supplement to reinforce appealing image to publics in local Grapmian or BBC Scotland at least once a year. And a sound PR relationship for promotion has become an indivisible part of promotion strategy of GHM.
Sales promotion as an effective tool is also used by GHM. During the off-season period of May and October, GHM will rum some promotion activities to encourage more individuals or groups to visit museum, such as Two-for-One, Kids Go Free deals and group visit discount. These price-promotions as short-term incentives attract more groups, kids and adults to the museum. And GHM’s sales promotion strategy also usually combines with advertising to mutually support to achieve a better performance. For example the special sales promotion ‘Kids Go Free deals’ is in conjunction with advertising in local press to boost the visit rate of kids. Moreover, the museum even provides free vouchers for existing tea room customer to take a free visit to museum. By all means these added-value promotions for free voucher will increase the revisit rate of tea room as well as museum and is quite conducive to build brand-loyalty audiences in the long run.
Place, as where the museum service takes place, is also of great significance to formulate the existing marketing strategy. Because of its unique location in the peaceful and attractive area, the museum perfectly combined its featured building with outskirt beautiful environment to attract visitors at all levels. Moreover, the unique historic St. Luke building, ample free of charge parking and easy access are its differentiated advantage that other competitor can’ stay even. But one problem for GHM to offer service and deliver products is that the museum is not clearly sign posted around the main road, to some extent, it loses parts of tourist tract in local area. Anyway, the place can’t be relocated. So such problem can be solved by successful promotion within local area.
Service largely depends on people to perform on them. It is quite amazed to find that only four full-time staffs and two time secretaries work in museum. And because of the small size and simple structure, the different management job is allocated on a job-share basis. It is a great advantage to easily measure and monitor the performance of staffs and do some flexible change to improve their service and meet the different requirement from visitors. In addition, a large number of volunteers work in a variety of roles in museum. These friendly and knowledgeable volunteers also receive training and some of them acquire the expertise of specialist which give visitors high standard customer service as well as the positive aspects of the visitor experience. The efficient and high-class service is made since long-term supplementary value offered by volunteers as well as management role other paid staffs playing in museum.