Marketing Diagnostics is a strategic tool used to review the effectiveness of existing and planned marketing strategies and activities; it is a comprehensive and systematic evaluation of an airport’s marketing capabilities. Carrying out Marketing Diagnostics offers the opportunity to review and benchmark an airport’s marketing activity - enabling to assess past and present performance. It also provides the basis for defining and evaluating possible future courses and recourses of action.
With the aviation environment constantly changing and Airport Marketing around the world just entering its first phase of maturity, Marketing Diagnostics is an unbiased reference tool (new to Airport Marketing, well established in sectors with mature marketing cycles) that provides significant benefits to airport management.
Marketing Diagnostics is an attractive proposition that has been well received by existing clients and offers scope for strong business development. Key benefits an Airport being the opportunity to take stock and have an independent view of their marketing and business development activities, but most importantly the chance to compare against others and determine where it needs to address any deficiencies.
Marketing Diagnostics conducted specifically by KPI. can deliver the following results for:
Illustrate any change in the external business environment,
Appraise the airports’ internal marketing initiatives/strategies,
Provide input from other areas of the business and stakeholders,
Benchmark against competitive and comparable airports,
Formulate the basis of new marketing strategies,
Identify new business opportunities,
Optimize marketing budgets by reallocating them to the most effective activities, or even reduce the marketing expenditure in specific areas,
Recommend specific quantitative indices for any measurable marketing activities,
Contribute to building the Airports’ brand.
The Benefits of Marketing Diagnostics
Depending on an airport’s marketing priorities, KPI. offers a modular Marketing Diagnostics proposal, focusing on aeronautical, non-aeronautical or corporate marketing activities. An airport can choose one or more modules or gradually introduce every module separately. It can also be specific to a certain strategic target group – namely airlines, other businesses and consumers/passengers. Finally, KPI. can also assist to identify the specific phase of Airport Marketing in which it is currently operating, or provide recommendations on how to reach an opting phase.
Phases of Airport Marketing
Over the past 15 years Airport Marketing has evolved into a key strategic tool for certain airports around the world. Contrary to other industries, such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), telecommunications, automotive and even airlines, airports have been slow in defining and understanding the role and importance of marketing in their overall strategies. This is mostly related to the transformation of airports in the 80s and 90s into private or self -financed businesses with commercial goals. Airport Marketing can be described as the function by which airports interact with their target groups, identify and address each group’s needs in order to stimulate and accelerate their growth, resulting in more aviation and non-aviation revenues. By adopting this role, Airport Marketing becomes a key source for providing vital information to airports, supporting the decision-making process across an airport company, while at the same time contributing to revenue generation.
Given the late development of Airport Marketing, it is just coming to its early maturity stage and this is mostly related to the Airport-to-Airline relationship. The phases of Airport Marketing are defined by the number of target groups that an airport is actively engaged with on a marketing basis, as well as by the way it integrates and expands its marketing activities with regards to its target groups. The 4 key target groups of an airport should become the backbone of the marketing strategy. Therefore marketing teams should focus on airlines, airport businesses, consumers, and the destination.
The 5 Phases of Airport Marketing
The Airline Marketing Phase (α to A)
Airline Marketing aims at attracting new airlines, adding new destinations, increasing frequencies, but also maintaining services in an airport. The target group is all groups of airlines, and this function often works independently from the other marketing functions.
The Airport Marketing Phase (α to A,B,C)
Airport Marketing concentrates on the 3 key target groups: Airlines, other airport Businesses, and Consumers - both passengers and visitors. Besides the airline marketing objectives, the marketing strategies of airports also aim at increasing the non-aeronautical revenues by promoting the commercial activities of other businesses at the airport (e.g. business parks, free zones, retail), enhancing passenger satisfaction and increasing passenger spending and penetration in the retail and food and beverage outlets. These strategies are usually implemented independently, but both assist in initiating the brand building of the airport.
The Airport Co-Marketing Phase (α+B to A, α+A to C, α+B to C)
Airport Co-Marketing aims at implementing joint marketing initiatives with other target groups in order to increase aeronautical or non-aeronautical revenues. Airports, for example, partner with fuel companies and ground handlers to attract an airline, or with retailers to offer more appealing services or products to consumers (passengers and visitors). During this phase, aeronautical and non-aeronautical marketing strategies tend to start being more coordinated, especially to the benefit of the airport’s brand, delivering a consistent tone and message.
The Airport Co-Marketing Integration Phase (α+A+B to C)
The Airport Co-Marketing Integration phase shifts its focus towards the consumer (passenger and visitors), as this target group has the biggest potential for both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue generation. It is the point where the airport leads the management of the consumer’s experience on the airport premises and together with Airlines and other airport Businesses aim at improving passenger satisfaction and increasing market penetration and spending on the available products and services. Airports that lead this phase have successfully also built their brand equity, therefore contributing to the intangible value of the airport company.
The Airport Co-Marketing Expansion Phase (α+ A + B + D to C)
Having established their role as the managers of the passenger experience at the airport, and given the fact that O&D passengers travel to an airport for the sake of the destination, it is essential to add the Destination (tourism authority, municipality, commerce departments, tourism associations, convention bureau, etc.) to the marketing mix. Initially, the Destination is a target-group for the airport, since it usually requires marketing and selling the benefits of working together, both in attracting airlines and passengers. During this phase, the Destination together with Airlines and other Businesses becomes an integral partner in delivering the most comprehensive and appealing offer to passengers/potential tourists to the destination.