Lincolnshire is one of the populous counties in England bordering Norfolk, Cambridge shire, Rutland, and Yorkshire (Absolute Astronomy).  It is mainly made up of Non-metropolitan County and it is considered the second largest county in England. It is predominantly an agricultural county. This study looks into the possibility of setting up a successful leisure facility in the county that will offer various activities including Ski/snowboard slopes, Ski Village, and Climbing wall (Absolute Astronomy).  This facility is expected to offer high quality leisure activity to the agricultural county at a price which they can afford.  The ski leisure activity is well established within the county but the market has not yet been satisfied. This study outlines market feasibility, target markets, product lifecycle, pricing strategies, and marketing communication strategies.

Market feasibility of the facility

There are important factors that must be considered before setting up a leisure facility in any place. A ski facility is not just another facility since there is cost and risks that comes with it which are not found with other facilities.  A ski leisure facility should be able to meet the standard safety regulations.

One of the most important considerations for setting up a ski leisure facility is the location. In most cases, ice lands and top mountains have been found to be appropriate sites for ski facility. However, it is has been found that even in tropical regions certain modifications enables setting up of a successful ski facilities. Although there are artificial modification that can enable setting up of ski facilities, sites with natural snow still remains the best for setting up such a facility.

Another important factor to consider is the geography of the site. In most cases, ski mainly involves running up a slope. Although the slope can be modified in a flat land, a natural slope is considered the best. Therefore in choosing a best site for such facility a site with a natural slope would obviously be the best.  Putting up artificial snow slop would prove costly but this can be considered as an option especially when there is no place with natural slop or ice in the vicinity of the area that has been considered for setting up the facility.

Customers are important for any business. It is imperative that a business is set within a location where the target customers can access it. This means that for a ski facility, there should be a consideration of the target consumers and their ability to access the facility. Setting the appropriate location for a ski facility in view of the target consumers can be tricky because while most people may be residing in cities, the best site for such a facility is mountainous regions where there is snow. This implies that there can be a great distance between the facility and the target consumers.  However if the facility is targeting individuals living in cities, it means it will have to improvise and set up a ski facility in cities which would be costly to set up and maintain. This means that there is need to have careful consideration of the target consumers and location of the facility and the easiness of the consumers to access it.

Considering these factors, Lincoln would be the best location to select the location for the facility.  Lincoln is one the best location for the facility since it is one of the most populated towns in the county.  With a population of more than 100,000 people, Lincoln is the best site for the facility since there will be more consumers compared to other areas in the county.

Lincoln town has a history of ski. There are other ski leisure facilities which are operation within its vicinity which means it would not be a new idea in the area. Among the already established ski leisure activities including Birchwood community and Leisure Center, Skegness Cable Ski, and many others. This implies that the residents of Lincoln already have an idea of what is ski and therefore if the new facility comes with competitive advantages over the competitors, it would be easier to climb the competitive ladder.

Other factors for choosing Lincoln include:

(i) The city has a history of tourism. Being a cathedral city, it attracts thousand of tourists annually from all over the world. These tourist would also comprise a sizeable share of the target consumers

(ii) Lincoln has friendly people who welcome visitors from all over the world. This means there will be less conflict between tourist consumers and the local residents.

(iii) With a population of more than 100,000, Lincoln constitute a large market base for the facility considering that the facility will target all consumers. The greater Lincoln including its villages has population of more than 250,000 which increase the consumer base for the facility.

(iv) Lincoln has several towns including Port Lincoln, South Austria, Rodomskio, and many other which provide a wider market base for the facility

(v) It has a beautiful scenery comprising of the Uphill and Downhill areas which forms ideal sites for establishment of the facility

(vi) It has well developed transport system which comprises of Railway, Roads, and others. This makes it easy to navigate around the county using different means of transport

(vii) It has well educated population which means it will be easier to find individuals to work in the facility

Target markets

The most important asset for any business is the target market. For any business there is a specific group of consumers that it targets. One of the most important questions to answer when setting up a business is who are the target consumers and every one is not an appropriate answer to this question (Michael and Kamkura 90).   There has to be a specific market that the business is targeting in its products and services.

In selecting the target market, it is important to carry out market segmentation (McDonald and Dunbar 35). Market segmentation mainly includes dividing the market into groups that share similar characteristics. Market segmentation is important in any business as it allows the business to focus on subsets that are more likely to purchase its products or services. Through market segmentation, a business divides the larger market into subsets which are composed of consumers who bear similar characteristics and whoa re more likely to purchase it products and services.  Market segmentation can be carried out in the following bases (McDonald and Dunbar 145):

(i) Demographics like age, family size, life cycles, and others

(ii) Geographical like states, regions, counties, and others

(iii) Behavior like product knowledge, usage,  attitudes, responses, and others

(iv) Psychographic like lifestyle, values, personality, and others.

Before setting up a business, it is important to consider the needs and wants of the consumers in order to come up with a market niche. A market niche is the specific   segment of the market that the business concentrates on.  For an effective marketing segmentation, the following must be considered:

(i) Segmented market or the target market must be in a position to access the  business

(ii) The target segment must be a  large enough in order to provide a larger customer base for the products and services

(iii) Each segmented groups should be serviced using a different marketing plan.

In selecting the target market, it is important to consider whether the business is B2B or B2C. B2B businesses mainly involve transactions that take place between businesses. This means that in considering market segmentation in B2B, one would be considering the business with which you make transaction (McDonald and Dunbar 55). On the other hand, B2C marketing mainly involves transactions that take place between the business and consumers. This is the most important kind of market as it directly involves the interaction between consumers and the business and constitutes the largest volume of any business transaction. It is easier to carry out market segmentation in B2C that it would be for B2B since in B2B, both entities are considered as equal partners.

In B2C market segmentation, there has been a thorough analysis of the market. There must be consideration of the dynamism in the market. In consideration of the above factors, the study would recommend the business to segment its market according to demographic characteristics (Michael and Kamkura 120). Despite using the other factors to segment the market, it has been found that demographic characteristics finally determine the viability of the target market. Considering various demographic factors, age is one of the most important factors that should be used to segment the market. In normal cases, the young are more interested in skiing compared to the old.  Therefore the skiing facility should target the young people in terms of B2C marketing.

However it is to be considered that this business will comprise of different facilities including ski/snowboard slopes, Ski Village with a restaurant, and climbing wall. This means that the business can target a wide range of consumers including the old and young. If an elderly person will not come to ski, they can come to the restaurant or the bar. This implies that the facility can be marketed as a family facility although the young people below 35 years of age will be the main target of the business.

Profile of the target consumers:

(i) With a median age of 42.6 year, this means that youths comprise the majority of the Lincoln population.  This makes the youth population the be best target market for the facility.

(ii)  Youths are savvy and are most likely to be attracted to leisure facilities

(iii)  They have moderate income but are willing  to commit more than 70% of their income to leisure activities

(iv)  Regardless of their age, youths are more likely to participate in skiing compared to the older people.

(v)   They are more attracted to modern means of communication like internet, mass media and others

Another important target market for the business will be tourists. As had been highlighted earlier, Lincoln has a history of tourism and receives quite a high number of tourists every year. It has historical sites including cathedral which are major tourist attractions. This means that the business will also be targeting tourists as its potential customer. The facility will add into the already existing tourist portfolio in the county. The following is the profile of this market segment:

(i) They are attracted to leisure activities

(ii) They have extra income on disposal hence are willing to pay for higher prices for same services

(iii)  They cut across the demographic characteristics including the old, the young, women and men, and others

(iv)  They come in seasons

In B2B marketing segmentation, it is important to consider the main business which the company will be carrying out transaction with (Michael and Kamkura 83). This involves the potential business who will need the services.  In analyzing B2B market, one must consider the line of business that those businesses will be operating in. They must be in the same line or utilize the services that the business offers.

In relation to the services which will be offered by the facility, the business will most likely be interacting with companies operating in tourism.  Being a famed tourist destination, Lincoln receives many tourists every year. Since these tourists are target consumers for the company, it means that the company will be interacting with tour operator firms now and them. Tour operator firms usually offers holiday packages for their customers. The facility will therefore negotiate with tour operators to include Skiing in their holiday package. The company will look into offering not only the skiing facilities for the tour operators but also restaurant and bar services.  

Service and products lifecycle

Diversification of products and services is important in business as it gives consumers varieties to choose from. Diversification ensures that the business looks into different products and services to support its operation. Most business tends to diverse into different fields which offer products and services with different lifecycle. Research has shown that most companies fail to growth beyond few years in their operation since they engage in products and services with shorter lifecycle and fail to diversify their operations (Westkamper 81). Therefore the company will be looking towards diversifying its products and services in order to ensure its survival in the market.

The company is looking into offering different products and service to its potential customer. The leisure industry is one of the most diversified industries with different products and services.  The industry is not limited to few products and services and most operators in the industry usually include host of products and services which are offered as a package.  In line with the trends in the industry, the company will look to offer all its services under one package.

The products to be offered by the company will be in three lines which of its facilities. These will include:

Two indoor Ski/Snowboard slopes where one will be for the beginners and the other for the advanced. This facility will incorporate and use the latest technology in the market and will mainly use ski lifts and artificial snow

A Ski Village complex which will be made up of equipment shop to sell ski products to the potential customers, a holiday booking services, a bar, café, and restaurant which will have a capacity of bout 100 people.  This facility will offer restaurant, bar, and café services,  holiday booking services including issues tickets for different holiday destinations, and various equipments which are used in skiing.

Product lifecycle:

Product life cycle describes the biological life cycle that a product goes through from the time it is brought to the market up to the time of it decline and eventual withdrawal from the market. A product lifecycle mainly include five stages. These are introduction, growth, maturity, decline, and withdrawal. This is illustrated in the following graph:

Adapted from: Marketing Teacher-a

The introduction stage defines the state when the product is introduced to the market.  The product then enters the growth stage where many similar products can be introduced into the same market due to favorable market conditions but few may make it to the next stages.  At this stage the company undertakes vigorous advertisement. The next stage is the maturity stage (Box 70). At this stage, the product takes a long period of time and experiences high sales.  Sales stabilize and the product is more profitable.  However, there are intense price wars and various attempts to differentiate the product. The product then enters into the decline stage which is marked by downturn in the market (Westkamper 89).  There are more innovative products coming up to the market and consumer preference changes.  Most companies take up cost cutting measure on the product to increase profit. The last stage is withdrawn where the product is finally withdrawn from the market.

The company products are also expected to follow the same trend.  However, in consideration of the market situation in Lincoln, skiing can be placed at the growth phase. Although the activity is not new, the concept of artificial skiing in areas where there is no natural ices is still new to the market. There are few companies which are operating the same king of facility in the county.  However, the other products like restaurant, holiday booking services, café and bar are in their growth stage which means the company may have to go an extra mile to ensure that they become viable in the market.  Considering the fact that the company will price its products as a package, it may bring into the market a completely new product but this will depend on the diversity of the service that it will offer.

Boston Matrix:

The Boston Matrix or BCG matrix can be described as a chart which is used to analyze business units in terms of their importance to the business based on their total contribution to the business revenue. BCG Matrix is important in allocation of resources and it is employed as an analytical tool used in brand marketing, management of product, and in portfolio analysis.  The following chart shows the BCG matrix:

Adopted from: tutor2u

 Stars or high growth products are product in the company portfolio which is found n areas where they are strong as compared to the level of competition. These products need heavy investment to maintain and sustain their growth.  In case of the company this product could be two indoor ski/snowboard slopes.  These products have a high growth potential and are strong in this market segment since there are few others which are operating on the same segment (tutor2u).  Their strength comes due to the fact that they are using the most recent technology of ski lifts and artificial snow.

The next category is made up of cash cows. These are low growth products which have a high market share. They are mature product which will need little investment to succeed.  These products will generate profit which will be used by the company to start its stars (tutor2u). Considering the product offered by the company, cafes, bar and restaurant   can be put in this category. These are products which will take very little time to stabilize since they will be consumed not and then. They are likely to generate cash that can be used in establishment of other hotel services.

Question marks include products which have a low market share but operate in a high growth market (tutor2u).  This implies that these products have high potential but they require a high level of investment in order to   increase their market share.  In this case, the Climbing wall can be categorized in this stage. The climbing wall has a higher potential but it will require heavy investment to increase its market share.

The dogs refer to the company products which have low market share and are quite unattractive. These are low growth products which would be sold or just closed down. Although they may generate enough money for the break-even, they are usually not worth any mo re investment.  In view of the company, there are not products which can be classified in this segment.

Pricing strategies

Pricing strategies are strategies which are used by the business to fix prices for different products and services. Pricing strategies takes into consideration different factor including the cost of the product and the desire profit margin. However, other factors like the price offered by competitors are also considered. 

In regard to the products and services to be offered by the company, it would be advisable to adopt different pricing strategies. First, the company may be forced to use penetrating pricing for some products especially those which have a higher market competition. For example for the skiing products, the company may be forced to use penetrating pricing and fix its pricing artificially low in order to gain a sizable market share (Marketing Teacher-b).  Once the company will gain a sizable market share the price will be increase.

The basic concept for the company in construing a Skiing Village is to assist the consumers to get most products and service under the same roof and at the same time helps the business to diversify its product and service portfolio (Marketing Teacher-b).  Therefore the company can decide to offer prince advantage for most consumers who purchase different product under and service under the same roof. In this regard, the company can be advised to use product line pricing where  it will  a price benefit will be realized to consumers who purchase a wide range of products and service from the Skiing village.  Product lien pricing will ensure that consumers get price bonus depending on the number of products they buy.

There are some products where regardless of the pricing method used, the company will have to recover the cost of product. On products from café, bar, and restaurant, the company will be forced to use economy pricing to ensure that the cost of production and profit market are realized (Marketing Teacher-b).  If the company wished to lower price of these products, then it would have to come up with ways of reducing the cost of production.

Since the company is offering different products and service which have different cost of production and the set profit margin, it would not be advisable for the company to use just one pricing method. The above mentioned pricing strategies will enable the company to operate profitably.

Marketing communication strategy

Marketing is important for any business as it gives a way to communicate and interact with the potential consumers. Marketing communication strategy ensures that the company not only informs the potential consumers about their existence but also the range of products they offer and reason why consumers should buy them products. An effective marketing communication plan utilizes the most appropriate strategy to reach the intended consumers.

In view of the fact the fact that the company targets different consumers, it would be advisable for the company to use integrated marketing communication campaign. This means that the company will not rely on only one means to communication to the potential consumers but rather it will use different strategies. The company will use below and above the line marketing strategies.

Some of the most important elements that will be used in the IMC include:

a) Advertising

Advertising mainly involves the use non-personal communication like through the mass media. Advertisement will be aimed at building awareness about the company and its products. Since the company is targeting tourists, the use of mass media advertisement, especially advertising through the internet will be highly prioritized (Module 1).  The advertisements will be creative and informative as well in order to attract more consumers.

b) Sales promotion

Sales promotion is direct inducement which offers consumers with incentives to purchase a product or a service.  This is usually done with an aim of creating immediate sales. In line with B2B and B2C, the company will have a trade oriented and consumer oriented sales promotion (Module 1). In B2C, the company will use sales promotion means like sampling, premium, and price off, rebate, bonus packs, and others. IN B2B, the company will use strategies like trade allowances, incentives like quantity discounts and cash discounts, contests, cooperative advertising where both companies share advertising cost, and others.  This will help to attract more companies like tourist companies to take packages offered by the company.

c) Direct marketing

Direct marketing is a form of communication which is aimed at creating a behavioral response.  This will be implemented through a number of strategies including direct mail, personal selling, and others (Module 1).  Direct marketing ensures that the company engages direct with the client and hence it is likely to give prompt response.

d) Public relations

Public relations (PR) are any activity that is meant to foster the existence of goodwill between the company and all stakeholders including the consumers and the general public. The company will set up a public relations department which will be headed by the Public Relations officers (Module 1). This department will handle all complains from consumers and also ensure follow up of consumers with thank notes. However every employee in the company will also be expected to be public relations officers in his or her own working environment.  

In order to measure the market response the company will carry monitoring and evaluation from time to time. This will evaluate whether the strategies used are creating any impact in the market. If the strategies are not creating a market impact, the company will be forced to come up with other strategies. However, the above marketing communication strategies are expected to create a bigger impact in the market and will help the company to achieve its goals and objectives.

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