This paper looks at how good market auditing and planning are central to Singapore Airlines’ success, and how a clear understanding of the macro- and micro environments can assist in the building of sustainable competitive advantage. It focuses on the role of business tools, marketing intelligence and research, segmentation, targeting, positioning and buyer behaviour in the airline’s success.
Singapore Airlines Limited (SIA) emerged in 1972 and is the national airline of Singapore operating major routes globally. SIA has built up a strong reputation in the aviation industry for its innovation and safety and consistent profitability despite rising and volatile fuel prices, stress in global financial markets, heightened security issues, and increased market competition. SIA has grown from a regional airline into one of the world’s leading carriers and as the first operational customers of the “super jumbo” Airbus A380. It manages its regional flights with its wholly owned subsidiary, SilkAir and has a stake in the low-cost airline market through Tiger Airways. SIA has a dedicated freighter fleet, Singapore Airlines Cargo, and has also diversified into airline related businesses1. SIA have a young and well trained staff focused on service excellence and a top ranked hub in Singapore to serve their extensive global network. The airline has built a sustainable competitive advantage using strategies that differentiated it from other airlines based on superior customer service, both in-flight and on the ground. This paper analyses how marketing activities have been used and may be used in the future by SIA to sustain its success in a changing and turbulent environment. Overview of Marketing Auditing and Planning
The marketing audit is a fundamental part of the marketing planning process. It is conducted at the beginning of the planning process as well as during the implementation of the plan, to review the plan itself2. Marketing auditing is a process that constantly scans the macro environment and micro environment to develop an accurate and objective view of the factors and issues that affect organisations like SIA and the trends and opportunities that may exist for such organisations3. The marketing planning process is a series of activities that involves setting objectives and formulating strategies for achieving them. Marketing planning aims to ensure that in carrying out the matching process, that the organisation’s resources are used in the most efficient manner4. SIA needs to undertake marketing planning for a number of reasons: •increased competitiveness in the airline industry and the inherent complexity of markets; •increased speed of technological changes and their relevance to customer wants and needs, and the way in which the organisation provides for them; •the need to identify sources of competitive advantage and customer value creation; and •to ensuring the plans are integrated and consistent across other (non-marketing) elements of the organisation4. The link between these is that in business planning which tries to predict, understand and forecast market demand, customer behaviour and competitor actions, requires the development of a clear strategy. Marketing audits allow an understanding of the organisation’s position of “where it is now?” The corporate strategy considers the current and future position of the organisation and identifying a plausible future for the organisation5. During strategic “thinking”, as much information about the organisation and its environment that affects it is gathered from marketing auditing and it clarifies the question “where do we need or want to be in the future?” Marketing planning are the methods or processes that aims to document the strategic thinking into a road map (plan) for the future. It clarifies the question “how can we get there?” The marketing activities of...