Camp Wahanowin - Report4.doc

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Western University
Business Administration
Business Administration 1220E
Eric Silverberg

Morgan Rosenberg 250632763 December 7, 2011 Erica Spear 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- hanowin community. 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 Marketing Challenge 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. Corporate Capabilities 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 overnight camp. 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. Industry Analysis 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. Competitive Analysis 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 majority
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