Application of the Marketing Mix

A product can be either goods or a service that is sold either to a commercial customer or an end consumer. The product is the basis of a whole marketing process. Drayton Manors product is the rides and attractions. It’s slogan ‘Family run for family fun’. Its main market segment is families. They try to cater for all the families’ needs. They do this in a number of ways. They have a zoo for younger children and small rides such as in Robinson’s Land. Its has family rides such as Golden Nuggets. It has a special show called ‘The Drayton Manor Circus.’ They not only do family rides but also have ‘thrill seeker’ rides, which include Apocalypse and Sky Flyer. There are many stalls, which families could play and win prizes.

However, I don’t believe that Drayton Manors does this as well as they could, because in my opinion, most of the attractions are aimed at teenagers or young adults

Product Life Cycle

The product life cycle consists of four parts.

Introduction

The product is tested and developed before it is launched. Initial sales will be low until the consumer starts buying. At this point, production costs are much higher than the revenue from sales. When Drayton Manor first introduces a new ride, it’s very expensive to make for example Exalibur cost �70,000 to make. The ride is promoted heavily and launched.

Growth

As sales increase production becomes more profitable. The early development costs can be recovered. The success of the product can lead to brand loyalty and repeat sales. Once people hear about the new ride, it will be very popular and busy.

Maturity

The product reaches its peak of sale and is at its most profitable point for the company. Competitors have now entered the market, which may reach saturation point.

Decline

As new models and designs come out, or fashions change, a product may become obsolete. Sales fall, as does revenue. It is no longer profitable to produce it. As rides have been there for a number of years, it becomes less popular and demand for the ride begins to decline. Drayton Manor will have already on designing a new ride. Often old rides are replaced to make space for the new rides for example the Python was replaced by Klondike in 1995.

Extending the Product Life Cycle

Drayton has to release a new ride every two years to extend their product life cycle and keep people interesting in the park and their latest ride is Excalibur, A Dragons Tale. This ride is in keeping with the theme of Drayton Manor as it is a family, scenic ride.

Drayton also offers a range of different services. They cater for parties, in particular children’s parties in which they do lunch and goody bags. They cater for corporate events, have firework displays and special charity days. They also have three hotels in or near Wales and a camping and caravan site. This helps boost sales revenue especially during low season when the park is not so busy.

Drayton also sells foods, and souvenirs.

Product Differentiation

To keep customers interested in Drayton Manor and encourage them to keep coming back rather the go to a different theme park, Drayton Manor has to offer the customers a range of different products. If the product is a good, the ways of differentiating a product include; name, packaging and branding. Because Drayton Manor offers a service, rather than a product, the ways in which to differentiate their product is different. Drayton Manor does this by offer new types of rides that have not be seen or experienced before. These include;

* Maelstrom – This ride is the UK’s only gyro swing

* Shockwave – This is Europe’s only stand up roller coaster

* Apocalypse – This was the worlds first stand up tower drop

* Storm Force 10 – This is the only water ride with a backward drop.

Launching these new rides gives Drayton Manor an edge, however, after the launch rivals will copy the ideas.

Promotion

Promotion is an important part in marketing a product. The main aims of promotion are to persuade, inform and make people more aware of a brand, as well as improving sales figures. First, the company has to decide who their market segment is. Advertising is the most widely used form of promotion. Drayton Manor uses a wide range of promotions. The theme park spends a total of �2 million on advertising. These include:

* Television – Many companies use television to advertise their product. So, I would therefore expect Drayton to use this. There are many advantages of using television to advertise a product. Using television advert can sometimes have an emotional impact on it viewers. Also, there is a large audience, which will see the commercial. However, there are disadvantages to using television. Television adverts are very expensive and are not kept forever. Drayton Manor spends 65% of their marketing budget on television advertising. This is around �1.3 million. Drayton Manor chooses not to broadcast their television adverts nationally. They only broadcast locally. They do this because they are a small a company and their main market are the people who live locally, within a 50-mile radius.

* Radio – Radio is a useful form of advertising. Using radio to advertise is useful because the audience will be easy to target. Also, radio advertisements are relatively cheap. The disadvantage of radio advertising is that there is only a small audience. Drayton Manor uses local radio to advertise the theme park.

* Posters/Leaflets – Posters are widely seen and so therefore a useful form of advertising. They have a big impact on the audience, however it is hard to target a specific audience. Drayton Manor doesn’t really use billboard posters to advertise their product. However they use leaflets. Their leaflets often promote new rides or special promotion they are running. They use this form of advertising during the off-peak season.

* Internet – Internet is a useful form of advertising. Advertising a product on the Internet can be successful because the Internet is widely used. However, advertising on the Internet has its disadvantages. If a product is advertise in the form of a “pop up”, this maybe unsuccessful as “pop ups” are usually ignored. Having a website to market a product could be advantageous. Drayton Manor has an official website (www.draytonmanor.co.uk). The website provide information about the park. This is useful to Drayton Manor as it shows the potential customers where the park is and the features of the park. There is also an unofficial website (www.udmps.co.uk).

Companies use sponsorship and public relations to improve their image, notably through financing sports, the arts and public information services. Drayton Manor frequently uses PR to open new rides. Atomic Kitten opened Excalibur when it was opened in 2003.

Place

Getting the place is crucial to the marketing mix especially with Drayton Manor. A business must be easily accessible. Drayton Manor Park is near Tamworth, Staffordshire on the A4091, close to Junctions 9 & 10 of the M42.

The accessibility is crucial to a theme park because if it is difficult locate, consumers will go elsewhere. Because Drayton Manor is near the motorway, it is easily accessible by car. Drayton has air links and public transports links. However in saying, when I have travelled myself to Drayton Manor I didn’t find very easy as the bus that goes to Drayton Manor does not run regularly. Drayton Manor has a big car park also has a special area for coach parking.

Place also deals with the location of the products. Drayton Manor is not a very big park, however, it does provide a train going through the park to take its visitors from one place to the next. This is beneficial because Drayton Manor’s visitors because the walk around the park will not be tiring for them. This is especially useful for families, Drayton Manors main target audience, because little children will get tired easily.

Drayton Manor has located its rides effectively as it has mainly grouped the rides and attractions together in accordance to who will use them e.g. thrill seeker rides such as Maelstrom, Shockwave and Storm Force 10 are all close together. For children, the zoo, circus and small rides are grouped closely together. Drayton Manor also has many signposts around the park instructing visitor where different things are in the park.

Price

Charging the right prices is essential in today’s competitive market where firms have to compete with their rivals. There are different ways in which to set prices. These include;

* Premium Pricing – This is using a high price where there is uniqueness about the product or service. This approach is used where a substantial competitive advantage exists. When premium pricing is used, consumers are led to believe that they are paying for luxuries.

* Penetration Pricing – The price charged for products and services is set artificially low in order to gain market share. Once this is achieved, the price is increased.

* Price Skimming – This is charging a high price because you have a substantial competitive advantage. However, the high price tends to attract new competitors into the market, and the price inevitably falls due to increased supply.

* Economy Pricing – This is a no frills low price. The cost of marketing and manufacture are kept at a minimum.

* Cost Plus Pricing – This when a company calculates how much a product cost to make, then a certain percentage is added on for profit. I think that Drayton Manor would find this hard to do because it would be difficult to calculate how much to charge each person in the price of wristbands, so it would be enough to cover the rides and add a profit on top because not all people go on all the rides and when a ride is being run, it isn’t always full.

Drayton Manor uses a different range of pricing. The pricing methods are as follows;

Standard Price Period

* Adult Age 12 + – �17.50

* Child 4 to 11 years – �13.50

* Grandee Age 60 + – �9.00

* Disabled visitor & Helper – �9.50 each

* Child under 4 years – FREE

* Family Ticket 2 adults & 2 children – �57.00

* ‘Xtra’ Family Ticket 2 adults & 3 children – �69.00

Off-Peak Price Period

* Adult Age 12 + – �16.00

* Child 4 to 11 years – �12.00

* Grandee Age 60 + – �8.50

* Disabled visitor & Helper – �9.00 each

* Child under 4 years – FREE

* Family Ticket 2 adults & 2 children – �50.00

* ‘Xtra’ Family Ticket 2 adults & 3 children – �60.00

They also do ‘Admission Only’ ticket which allows entry into the park and the zoo but without ride access. These prices are;

Adult Age 12 + – �7.00

Child 4 to 11 years – �5.50

Grandee Age 60 + – �5.50

Disabled visitor & Helper – �5.50 each

Child under 4 – FREE

To increase their sales, Drayton Manor not only sells their tickets at the gates of the park but also sells them on the Internet through their website. This is called E-Commerce. The advantages of this to Drayton Manor are short queues at the gates and lower administration costs. Also, in the future, fewer people will be need to sell tickets at the gates which could lower Drayton Manors expenditure through not paying wages. The advantages to the customers are that they can buy their ticket anytime of the day. However the disadvantage of this to the customers, is putting credit card details on the Internet can be dangerous. A disadvantage to Drayton Manor of using e-commerce, is that if the computer breaks down, this could cause a delay or halt in ticketing process.

Drayton Manor using a variety of pricing strategies. They have different prices for the different seasons, i.e. Drayton Manor charges less in the off peak season, the winter months, than in the peak season. This is advantageous to Drayton Manor because it attracts more customers during the not so busy times.

I think that Drayton Manor using competitive pricing. They look at the rivals pricing, and charge what they can get away with. Recently, Drayton Manor has put up their prices up for around �11.50 to �17.50. I think that this is because when they were charging �11.50, they were on the cheaper side of the market, which might have made people to believe that their product wasn’t as good as other theme parks. So, by putting up their price so drastically, it appears to consumers their product is of better quality and they can compete with the rivals, like Alton Towers.

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