December 7, 2011
006 Executive Summary
Bruce Nashman looks to grow sales of Camp Wahanowin, particularly during periods in
which sales are lower, ie, August and the off-season; the marketing plan he employs will expand
the camp’s sales in a sustainable manner by furthering brand awareness and brand perception.
Nashman’s current target market is huge, and as such he should focus on penetrating this
market further, rather than trying to generate sales from alternative target markets. His current
product offering yields the greatest profit, and as such, this should remain his focus.
In order to increase his sales, Nashman should employ an aggressive online marketing
campaign in the form of:
- Acomplete website overhaul, focusing on dual-direction marketing
- The creation and year round use of a Facebook page, Twitter feed and Waha TV
- The creation of “WahanowinAlumni” with a continuous line of communication
- Acomprehensive, yearly online marketing campaign, under a central theme.
The direct effects of this campaign should increase brand awareness, and fortify the target mar-
ket’s perception of the brand, focusing on key values of fun and friendship within the Wa-
This campaign is geared towards children, with the core messages derived from basic
consumer expectations, present in the wants of children from six through to sixteen, as well as
parents. In doing so, the campaign will not deter any segment of the target market. It is expected
that in marketing to children, who will tell their parents of the camp, who will in turn investigate
further online or through their peers, the campaign will implicitly reach parents as well, and fos-
ter greater word of mouth. This also stresses the importance of redesigning the website, as it will
become the primary method of disseminating information, as well as the camp’s primary distri-
bution channel. This would allow potential customers to research, sign up, and pay for the camp
at the same time.
Due to the depth and mutability of this method of promotion/distribution, Nashman
should consider integrating a variety of smaller point of sale promotional strategies (ie: identify-
ing August as a more cost efficient option, or the full season - which yields the greatest margin -
as the ‘full value experience’).
To strengthen sales year-round, Nashman should create a Wahanowin Alumni entity, pri-
marily active through a designated Facebook group, and quarterly Wahanowin Alumni e-news-
letters, available via email and online. Distributing information through the online channel keeps
with the focus of Wahanowin’s expansion, and is the most cost efficient, expedient and interac-
tive means to communicate. Wahanowin Alumni represent parents of potential campers, as well
as free channels of promotion for off-season rental; these individuals can pass on the opportunity
to rent Wahanowin’s facilities to potential employers (re: corporate retreats), schools (re: grad
trips) or extracurricular organizations (re: camping trips). Furthermore, the creation of Wa-
hanowin Alumni stays true to the mission of “friendships and memories to last a lifetime”.
Continuing this theme, Wahanowin management should make an effort to interact with
potential, present and past campers throughout the year, in doing so, creating a year round expe-
rience. These interaction allow management to engage in buzz marketing, shaping the word of
mouth promotion to specific corporate needs (eg. raisingAugust subscription). 1
Bruce Nashman’s challenge is to revise his current marketing strategy to ensure Camp
Wahanowin stays competitive in both the short and long term. He must determine whether to
market the camp to children or their parents, and how to do so in a way that yields tangible re-
sults, namely, an increase in sales. In particular, he wants to see this increase in August, bringing
its enrollment levels close to that of July.
Camp Wahanowin has been operational for 55 years, turning a profit every year (refer to
Exhibit 1 for estimated profit during the 2010 summer season). As a result of the Nashman’s
willingness to consistently re-invest these profits in the business, Wahanowin has the capacity to
continue to expand either their camp facilities or their promotional efforts as seen fit. Moreover,
this suggests that they are not reliant on debt, and that most of their fixed assets (eg. Wa-
hanowin’s 150 acres of land) are financed by equity. Already owning these assets, Wahanowin
likely incurs lower fixed costs than newer camps that are still in debt. This allows Wahanowin to
take on higher variable costs (eg. having a lower counsellor to camper ratio), or keep their prices
competitive while still generating a profit.
As a result of its longstanding reputation as a premiere camp amongst affluent communi-
ties in the GTA, in combination with its accreditation with the Ontario Camping Association,
Wahanowin enjoys a lot of word of mouth promotion. Word of mouth represents a free method
of advertising to parents of potential campers. Wahanowin should therefore work to foster word
of mouth amongst past campers and integrate social networking services into their website, while
focusing most of its paid promotions on potential customers. The camp’s strong brand, in com- 2
bine with the premium services they offer, justifies a higher price point than the average
In addition to Wahanowin’s primary user base, they also have many less explored sales
opportunities (ie: international campers, rental during the off-season and hosting summer
school). Pursuing some of these alternatives could increase revenue and profit, strengthening the
company’s fiscal stability in the long run. This could also promote the camp through additional
lip service provided by these new customer groups.
Despite Wahanowin’s deep roots within the camping community, they have yet to estab-
lish a strong online presence. Wahanowin’s future online expansion has great potential as both a
promotional tool and a means of distribution, allowing potential customers to learn about the
camp and pay for their child’s camping experience in a single location.
The camp offers scuba diving, flying trapeze and rifelry, which are more cost intensive
activities, requiring comparatively large investments in equipment, professionals to supervise
and teach the activity, as well as higher insurance. This supports a higher price point, and pro-
vides a distinguishing feature, which can motivate aging campers (kids progressing to the 12 - 16
age range) to return to Wahanowin instead of another camp or alternative. To reduce the cost of
these activities, as well as motivate customers to subscribe to the August season, Nashman could
consider only offering some of them duringAugust.
Bruce and Pat Nashman, and Peter and Tan Thistlethwaite all have different educational
backgrounds, all of which are applicable to managing an overnight camping experience, but offer
different perspectives. As a result, the camp is well equipped to handle children with behavioural
special needs, as well as children who are attending an overnight camp for the first time. 3
Wahanowin’s staff is largely composed of former Wahanowin campers, which make them
better able to embody Wahanowin’s values and deliver a consistent experience to their campers.
The summer camp market is extremely saturated, and as a result, Wahanowin must make
large efforts to distinguish themselves. This increases the value of a strong brand, which is used
by many consumers as a deciding factor. Since Wahanowin is looking to expand their sales, they
should start by strengthening their brand.
Due to the large degree of economic uncertainty amongst consumers, many families are
looking for cheaper alternatives in summer programming. This suggests that Wahanowin should
approach any price increase warily. Wahanowin should also take advantage of this in promoting
theAugust session as a cheaper alternative to those looking to come (back) to Wahanowin.
Nashman is right to consider other uses for their property during the winter months, as
the summer camp business is highly seasonal. In particular, Wahanowin should capitalize on
their existing physical and social infrastructure by marketing off-season rentals to existing Wa-
hanowin alumni and their families. Summer camp consumers typically exhibit a high level of
brand loyalty, which should influence their choice in or recommendations for a winter retreat.
Wahanowin’s direct competitors are other residential summer camps.All of these camps -
including Wahanowin - have similar facilities and comparable programs, making it hard for con-
sumers to distinguish on these grounds. Therefore, residential camps compete primarily in repu-
tation/ brand, and price. Although camp prices range from $5,675 to $8,250 for the full season,
the majority of the camps likely touting similar premium features as Wahanowin, and are priced
within a $900 range of each other - from $7,350 to $8,250. While offering multiple unique activi- 4
ties (discussed above) Wahanowin is positioned on the low end of this segment of the price spec-
trum. Therefore, Wahanowin’s perceived value is higher than most of its competitors, giving
them a competitive advantage. Wahanowin should not increase its prices if avoidable. To further
distinguish his camp amongst the premium market, Nashman must continue to build and main-
tain Wahanowin’s brand.
Wahanowin’s largest indirect competition is self-programming (eg. video games, movies,
mini-golf and Wonderland). Self-programming is the target market’s simplest alternative. The