Gold Coast Airport Marathon
The market for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon consists of Marathon runners from both the Australia/New Zealand region and from the Asia-Pacific region as well. These runners can be both competitive and non-competitive alike.
Our target market is of no particular ethnic demographic, but does have a fairly consistent psychographic profile. Those who would travel to Gold Coast to compete in a marathon or half-marathon are generally of upper middle class or wealthy background. They may be expatriates living in Asia who are seeking a good reason to come home to Australia. In addition, they are competitive individuals, likely to be highly educated and in a good profession.
The market is loosely comprised of all marathon and half-marathon runners in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region. The pool of active participants is estimated to be several hundred thousand, based on participation rates at other area marathons. The 2009 Hong Kong Marathon attracted 55,000 participants for all levels. The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is the largest marathon in Australia with 23,398 participants in 2009 (Gold Coast Airport Marathon website, 2010). The largest marathons in the region — excluding shorter distances – are the Tokyo Marathon, with 27,386 starters and the Singapore marathon, which has 13,028 finishers in 2008 (AIMS, 2010). Based on these figures, the Asia Pacific region and Australia have fairly strong participation numbers, and the Gold Coast Airport Marathon has some room to grow.
Information on the Size of the Market
There is no concrete information on the size of the target market for marathons or shorter-distance runs in Australia or the Asia Pacific region. There are believed to be hundreds of thousands of runners capable of and willing to enter into a race of 10km or more. However, as the sport is not organized, numbers can merely be inferred from existing participation rates.
5.0 Marketing Strategy
The product is the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, an annual event held in Gold Coast, Queensland. The event features not only marathons but also half-marathons and shorter races as well. The place is the Gold Coast area of Queensland, on the northeast (Pacific) coast of Australia, not far from the major city of Brisbane. The location is served by an international airport and is a major tourist draw. The climate is subtropical, providing an excellent venue for long-distance running.
The cost of the marathon depends on a number of different factors. There are vacation packages offered that range from $1,335 per person to $2,015 per person for a hotel, flight, marathon and tourism package. For visitors making their own arrangements, the basic fee to enter the marathon ranges from $110 to $150 and the costs to enter other events range from $25 to $120.
Promotion has been undertaken in a variety of ways. The advertising campaign has been carried out with Internet, newspaper and radio ads. Beyond this, the organizers have partnered with travel providers to market packages for out-of-state visitors who intend to participate in the marathon. It is recommended that the promotion be extended into other Asia-Pacific regions. The marathon also has promotional material is Japanese and it is recommended that Chinese be added as well to help attract visitors from that country. The Chinese have taken to marathon running and their nation hosts several. In addition, Gold Coast is on the radar of Chinese travelers already, so stands to benefit from a higher profile in that nation. Promotion in both Chinese and English also spills over into other countries in the region, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, Taiwan and Malaysia.
In order to support this recommendation, the Gold Coast Airport Marathon should add a Chinese language and culture expert to their team. The current team is comprised mainly of volunteers, so it may be possible to add the services of a Chinese-speaking volunteer for this position, as it is not expected to be a full-time role.
The physical evidence of this marketing campaign should be materials in the Chinese language and a front-page presence on Baidu, the dominant search engine in the Chinese market. The process by which this marketing plan is implemented should include finding the right personnel, increasing the budget for promotion and setting a timetable to initiate the promotion.
6.0 Action Plan
The action plan for the marketing plan takes a couple of key steps. The first is going to be to determine the marketing targets — likely the established targets of Australia, New Zealand and Japan, along with the new targets in Greater China and Southeast Asia.
The second step of the action plan is to ensure that all of the resources are in place. This includes human resources — Chinese and Japanese speakers included — and a marketing coordinator. The latter position may be a paid position, but most likely all other marketing positions will be done on a volunteer basis due to budget constraints. The third step will be to set the budget, which will be based primarily on an accounting of existing funds.
The fourth step will be to design and write the marketing. The fifth step will be to make the necessary contacts. This will include media where we hope to advertise, and tourism agencies with whom we hope to partner and design packages. The sixth step will be to execute the various plans. The final step will be to monitor the success of the plans.
7.0 Marketing Budget
The marketing budget will be dictated by the amount of funds that the Marathon has available. There may be some assistance from our sponsors with respect to in-kind donations. For example, the Gold Coast Bulletin may provide free advertising space and promotional articles; as may 90.9FM or any other media sponsor.
For radio advertising, in addition to in-kind sponsorship from 90.9 FM, we will also need to advertise in the Brisbane market and other key Australian cities. Among key marathon demographics, 2 Day in Sydney holds a strong position, Fox FM is the leader in Melbourne and in Brisbane three stations have high listenership — B105, 97.3FM and 4 MMM (Nielsen, 2010). Television viewership can be measured as well. Seven, Nine and Ten have the largest viewership in each of the major markets (OzTAM, 2010). NBN (Nine) is already a sponsor and is likely to be a source of in-kind sponsorship.
For paid advertising, the costs would be estimated as follows. For leading radio stations, the cost is $8 CPM. Share figures do not hint at total listenership, however, making cost estimation difficult. For free-to-air television, the cost is $15 CPM, so for one ad to appear on the Nine network, with 4.391 million viewers, the cost would be $65,865. This is probably too high for the Marathon. The cost for pay TV is $8 CPM so for example an ad running on Fox Sports News (with 784,000 viewers), the ad would cost $6,272. Production of television ads, however, and the fact that they need to saturated to have a significant impact, means that they are prohibitively expensive. The NewsSpace website does not give newspaper ad rates. Other forms of media will not be used.
Our target market is widely diffused and largely aware of our event (domestically, anyway). Thus, blanket mass media advertising is unlikely to be cost effective as few of the viewers/readers/listeners will subsequently sign up for the marathon. Promotion needs to be far more targeted, with mass promotion only in local media, and through our sponsors to save costs. The international advertising will be focused on running and outdoor magazines, websites and other finely targeted media. When the budget is received from head office, the degree of intensity in this marketing can be determined.
8.0 Monitoring and Evaluation
The objective of this program is to increase participation from key regions. Monitoring the effectiveness of our advertising then is dependent on matching the number and dollar value of signups from a given region with the advertising expenditure in that area. This is particularly true of our new Chinese-language promotion. Our success will be evaluated on the basis of revenue per area divided by costs per area (roughly, return on investment for each geography). This will allow us to better target our 2011 campaign.
Gold Coast Airport Marathon website, various pages. (2010). Retrieved April 10, 2010 from http://www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au
AIMS website, various pages. (2010). Association of International Marathons and Distance Races. Retrieved April 10, 2010 from http://www.aimsworldrunning.org/statistics/World%27s_Largest_Marathons.html#2009
Nielsen radio survey. (2010). Nielsen.au.com. Retrieved April 10, 2010 from http://www.au.nielsen.com/site/documents/Metro110.pdf
OzTAM. (2010). Consolidated metropolitan total TV share all viewing. OzTAM. Retrieved April 10, 2010 from http://www.oztam.com.au/documents/2010/A1_20100321.pdf
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