There are many elements to developing a marketing strategy. However, each element of a marketing strategy should in essence add customer value to the products or services being offered. Indeed the main purpose of marketing management is to bridge the gap between the multiple divisions of an organization and the internal and external business environment. The marketing management is accountable for various activities such as product development, promotion, pricing and distribution decisions, as well as market segmentation and marketing research (Briggs, 2001).
The complexity in developing a marketing strategy is no less evident than in the tourism industry, one of the most highly competitive industries in the world. In the UK, holiday-makers take some 36 million overseas holidays each year. Of these, almost half are "packaged holidays" - where the consumer buys a complete package of accommodation, flight and other extras - all bundled into one price. This is a highly competitive market with a small number of large tour operators (including MyTravel, Thomson Holidays, First Choice, JMC) all competing hard for market share (Business Casebook, 2004). Effective tourism marketing will create competitive advantage for the tour operator by ensuring that their delivery is superior to their competitors (Jefferson and Lickorish, 1991).
This report focuses open the multiple factors that a marketing strategy of a company must encompass in order to provide maximum potential value to the customer. To illustrate the importance of these factors, the report will utilize the tour operator MyTravel to provide examples of why each of these strategic factors plays an important role. At the same time the structure of the report will be based upon Nigel Piercy's concept that marketing strategy processes fall into either defining, developing or delivering customer (Piercy, 2002).
Company Profile - MyTravel
In November 2001, global tour operator Airtours launched MyTravel, an e-commerce initiative under which it would link several tour operators, with their brochures, call centres, high street shops and new media sales channels under one travel provider. The MyTravel channel, covers consumers in the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and the US. The major problem then was to establish a marketing strategy for MyTravel that could account for all the many elements not only selling holidays but accommodating the separate divisions of the group (MyTravel, 2006).
1. Marketing Information
Even before any marketing strategy can be devised an organization will require specific information on the markets the company are targeting and the consumers within those markets (Sharpley, 2002). In fact, the modern business organization would normally be constantly engaged in obtaining information, not only to generate action plans but also to test the effectiveness of their existing strategies. Good research data can help an organization to effectively partition resources. This data can also help the tourist organisations to decide about the likes and dislikes of their customers. In addition, one can further understand from customer surveys, how to improve a service and how it should be marketed. Market research is a very useful tool, which can be used for product and service development, testing market acceptance, and campaign development. Given the diverse customer base of MyTravel, marketing information would have been invaluable to ensuring they understood their customers needs and expectations and gauging and benchmarking their competitors. The data can be so diverse in nature that special systems have been designed to help companies gain benefit from the information.
2.Marketing Information Systems
A marketing information system (MIS) is intended to bring together very broadly different forms of data together so that the data becomes a body of information that is useful for predictive capabilities....