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5.0 An investigation into the marketing principles in place within International Aviation

The marketing officer from International Aviation was considerate enough to give up some of his time to be interviewed. The intention of the interview was to impartially, and without bias examine which, if any, of the aspects of Borden’s (1964) twelve point framework were viable within the organisation.

In order to remain impartial and not to lead the interviewee while still allowing him to talk freely very little structure was given to the interview. The student carried out the interview without a pre-designed set of questions taking only a list containing each of the twelve points from Borden’s (1964) framework into the interview.

At this stage the plan was to establish which of the twelve points were applicable to International Aviation. Following this the interview would be scrutinized for any evidence of the other five theories examined [four P’s, seven P’s, push and pull, CRM, the 6 I’s] on the marketing timeline. The intention was to prove that by meeting the twelve points of the marketing foundation theory [Borden’s (1964) twelve point framework] they would, due to the extensiveness of the framework, also cover most of the later developed models examined and that this would be evident from the interview.

The complete report on the interview is located in Appendix C; however, a brief summary follows:

Of the twelve issues raised most of the ones it seemed could reasonably be applied to the aviation industry were participated in at International Aviation. Ten of the twelve points could be applied absolutely to the organisation and one, packaging, could be twisted to apply. The only aspect of the model that did not apply was the “channels of distribution”. The interviewee used useful examples that unwittingly allowed the researcher to see an overlap between answers. The best example of this is the first point of product planning highlighting “fact finding and analysis”.

Since the majority of the twelve point framework is relevant to International Aviation the majority of the content of the other theories examined should also be covered and it should be possible to extract this evidence from the interview.

5.1 Interview analysis

This section will attempt to identify which aspects of the theories identified in the earlier sections of this report have being applied, either intentionally or not, by International Aviation. The approach here is to take a theory and identify evidence of it within the case study organisation.

5.1.1 The four P’s

In order to ascertain which aspects of the four P’s model are being used by International Aviation each of the sub-mixes will be applied in turn and then a summary of the extent to which the main-mix is being used will be made.

Product sub-mixes: –

  1. Functionality: There is no evidence of the functionality aspect of the four P’s within the interview.
  2. Appearance: There is no evidence of the actual “products appearance” being used within a marketing strategy because International Aviation are actually providing a service not a visible product.
  3. Quality: There is evidence of the products “quality” being used as a part of International Aviations marketing campaign. The evidence is that International Aviation must use its name as a part of any marketing process it takes part in and the name is one that is associated with a quality service. See the section of the interview on branding where the interviewee talks about International Aviation being recognised as a “premier” brand that offers a “quality” service.
  4. Packaging: Since International Aviation provide a service and not a product it is impossible for them to place their product into a package. However, they do offer a selection of various products as packages which they then target at specific markets. The interviewee gave the example of the private pilots licence package.
  5. Brand: While International Aviation do not actually promote their brand at this time they do use their brand as a part of their marketing campaigns as they use their name, for example their website is located at http://www.InternationalAviation.com [remembering the pseudonym].
  6. Warranty: Due to the nature of the service it is impossible to offer a warranty or guarantee [see the interview section on servicing and pricing].
  7. Service/support: As an after sales service International Aviation send out a magazine to previous clients [see the section on servicing].

Overall Product mix: –

Of the seven sub-mixes three are applied by International Aviation within their marketing campaigns in their entirety [quality, brand and service] and one, packaging, has been twisted to apply. This shows a a strong application of the product-mix with over half of its content applied to International Aviations marketing strategy.

Price sub-mixes: –

  1. List price: The prices for complete packages and individual services are listed in a simple manner. This is done to keep the pricing policy as simple as possible for students.
  2. Discounts: There is no evidence of the organisation offering discounts.
  3. Allowances: There is no evidence of allowances.
  4. Financing: International Aviation does offer a sort of financing option in that they allow students to break up the payment into two lump sums. Other than this there is no evidence of financing with the given reason being to keep the pricing strategy as simple as possible [see the pricing section of the interview].
  5. Leasing options: There is no evidence of leasing options.

    Overall price mix: –

    There is evidence of International Aviation applying two-fifths of the price sub-mixes. While this does not make it appear that International Aviation is exploiting the marketing potential that it could it is utilizing it to some extent.

    Place Sub-mixes: –

    1. Channel members and channel motivation: International Aviation sells directly to its clients.
    2. Market coverage: Recently International Aviation has started to target the market in Continental Europe with more traditional advertising methods while still targeting the worldwide marketplace using the Internet. There is also some traditional advertising taking place locally to the training facility [see the advertising section of the interview].
    3. Locations, logistics and service levels: Due to the fact that all students must go to the school to learn, as they must be at the airport, the aviation training industry is really exempt from these place sub-mixes.

    Overall place mix: –

    International Aviation applies only one of the six place sub-mixes. This is not, however, due to a flaw in their marketing strategy but is instead because of the nature of the industry. The aviation training industry, and to some extent the aviation industry as a whole, is limited as to how much it can exploit the “place” aspect of the marketing mix. This is due to the fact that students must always come to the school and the training can never be taken to the student, because all tuition requires airport facilities or at least access to an aircraft simulator.

    Promotion sub-mixes: –

    1. Advertising: International Aviation’s main reason for advertising is to make people aware of them with the hope of encouraging people to train with them. They also use advertising to try and constantly strengthen their brand name and increase market share. At the moment the main advertising takes place on their website and they support this with box advertisements in magazines. In the past they have had newspapers publish articles about them [all taken from the advertising section of the interview].
    2. Personal selling: While there was no evidence of a codified strategy in place for personal selling, people were expected to be treated as individuals by employees and there was an organisational focus on providing a personal service [taken from the section of the interview on personal selling].
    3. Public relations: There is no evidence of any public relations specific activities at International Aviation, however, their magazine sent out to past students, does attempt to maintain good relationships with former clients.
    4. Message: All of International Aviation is advertising campaigns use marketing messages be it the comparison of prices with other schools as described in the pricing section of the interview or the slogan that they are now using of “learn to fly for less” as detailed in the advertising section of the interview.
    5. Media: International Aviation limit the media that they use to the Internet and magazines, however. They have in the past had some promotion in local newspapers [see the advertising section].
    6. Budget: There was no discussion of the financial side of advertising or budgeting.

    Overall promotion mix: –

    There is evidence that International Aviation apply four out of six areas of the promotion mix.

    5.1.2 The four P’s theory as a whole

    The preceding analysis shows how the marketing mix, in the four P’s theory form, still takes place within International Aviation. The majority of the model is applied to their marketing process [sub-mixes included], however, the place aspect cannot be applied to the aviation training industry due to the fact that locations are dictated to by airport locations.

    5.2 The seven P’s

    This section will flow from the previous analysis in that it will examine only the additional three P’s that this theory adds to the previous one. This is to avoid retention while allowing for better focus on the model in question.

    People

    There were no specific questions asked regarding people, however, the interviewee did talk about International Aviation’s use of people as a way of personalising their service. As argued in section 3.0 the people at the front of the organisation, who are seen by the public, are the ones who create its public image. These people are the real ambassadors for the organisation. In the case of International Aviation the people who have the most interaction with people outside of the organisation are the flight instructors who can easily spend in excess of 45 hours with a student throughout the whole tuition process.

    International Aviation has a policy [identified in the interview while talking about personal selling] whereby they assign each student to a specific instructor so as to provide a personal service. The underlying idea here seems to be that the instructor and the student will build a friendship over the time they spend together and enjoy the experience.

    Process

    There was little talk of the actual training or management process during the interview so there was no intentional evidence supplied of an attempt to make the process look like a valuable one or at least one in which the student was getting value for money. However, while discussing the physical handling of the aircrafts, the interviewee did touch on a few areas that add value to the process. The interviewee mentioned the students taking the plane for re-fuelling [which would mean that they would be more likely to realise the amount of fuel they are using]. The point about the students taking the aircraft into the hangers for cleaning at the end of a lesson is one that also makes the student realise that there is much going on behind the scenes to maintain their safe working environment.

    Physical handling/evidence

    The physical handling aspect of the original twelve point framework does not apply because the service is not something that can be handled. When the concept of physical evidence was introduced and explained the interviewee talked about the lengths to which International Aviation had gone to in an attempt to “prove” its legitimate existence to people that was only aware of it as an online presence. International Aviation has included a phone number on its website. The website also includes testimonials from past students along with photographs of aircrafts, which is physical evidence of the organisation’s existence.

    5.3 Push and pull

    There is evidence of International Aviation utilising a classic push strategy to support a pull strategy. In the section of the interview describing advertising the interviewee discusses how the main aim of advertisements in the aviation magazines is to drive traffic to their website upon which is a complete brochure for download and lots of other product information. This strategy is making good use of new and old media as it is using the cheapest media to display the majority of information and the more expensive media [magazine space] to a lesser extent, however, the two media are supporting one another.

    International Aviation are also using search engines online to attract more people who are interested in finding out about their service. Search engines are another useful tool in driving traffic to the site.

    5.4 The six I’s

    1. Interactivity: There is no evidence of interactivity that can be extracted from the interview. However, there is a degree of interactivity on the company website. For more information on the website see section 4.0.
    2. Intelligence: There is strong evidence that International Aviation take notice of marketing intelligence. This is most evident by the fact that the idea to implement the helicopter training idea came from people posting on the website [see the product planning section of the interview] therefore showing that International Aviation conduct not only market research but also monitor market intelligence. There is no evidence within the interview of any other attempts to monitor market intelligence.
    3. Individualisation: There is no evidence of any attempt to utilise any individualisation techniques.
    4. Integration: Throughout the interview, the interviewee mentions several different media that have all being integrated as part of the advertising campaign. This included magazines, newspapers, a website and search engines.
    5. Industry restructuring and interdependence of locations: Due to the problems explained in section 5.1.1 the industry has not been restructured or had its location affected by the Internet.

    5.5 CRM

    The interview did not highlight any instances of CRM at International Aviation.


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