Case Study: Sample Marketing Plan


University of Maryland

MARKETING PLAN

A Strategic Analysis
of the
Campus Recreation Services’
Current Market Situation

——–

Tony M. McEachern
Director of Marketing and Creative Services


 

CRS Marketing report

A Strategic Analysis of the Campus Recreation Services’ Current Marketing Situation

Overview

I was awarded the opportunity to analyze and resolve the marketing communication needs of the University of Maryland’s Campus Recreation Services (CRS) in the integrated areas of print and digital media.  Responsibilities included the conceptualization, design, copywriting, production, distribution and maintenance of all of the Department’s advertising, publications and promotional needs in print and on the World Wide Web.  The following evaluation was used to address the development of the UMD Campus Recreation Services’ organizational identity as it related to the Department’s public image and community outreach.  This evaluation also addressed the Department’s marketing efforts through the development and implementation of campaigns that communicated key messages to a defined target audience.

Situation Analysis

The Department of Campus Recreation Services (CRS) is the official outlet and provider of sport, health and fitness for the University of Maryland campus community. Entering the third year after transition from the south campus headquarters location in the Reckord Armory to our north campus residence in the Campus Recreation Center, the CRS faces certain challenges pertaining to growth and communication.  Though the quality of the CRS facilities sells itself, we face the challenge of communicating to our members the benefits gained from participation in the CRS programs.  Active members take part in the usage of the Campus Recreation Center but are not fully aware of (and thus do not take advantage of) all the products offered by the CRS.  Along with this challenge stand the challenge of effectively communicating essential information such as rules, schedules, contacts, etc.

An initial six-week evaluation of the department’s internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats served as the foundation for this strategic analysis.  The strategies for this project plan were geared toward the growth of the Department’s communications strategies, suggesting ways in which we could build on the customer relationships that already exist.  Segmenting our current target market and catering different campaigns to the different segments was a primary resolution.  This plan also focused on the enhancement of the department image through an integrated image program and the development of each program area as individual products with their own product development plan.

I conceptualized and designed an integrated image program for the CRS, in compliance with the University of Maryland Visual Identity Program, that unified the look and feel of all CRS communications materials, printed and digital (web).  In designing the new look for this image program, the style and personality of all promotional and informative materials maintained a clear and unified channel of communication that was cohesive and coherent. All signage, informative and promotional publications, advertisements, public service announcements, annual reports, web site, and program areas were coordinated in such a way that the public could easily identify the Department as a constituent part of the University of Maryland.  Though this integrated image program was in compliance with the University’s overall Identity Program, it still delivered a uniqueness that separated it as an individual entity of the University.

Departmental Marketing Objectives

  • To enhance the CRS’ public image.
  • To reinforce the University’s prestigious image and attitude of distinction, strength and pride.
  • To marshal the cause for health, fitness and well being.
  • To generate an awareness of all the program areas and services provided by the CRS.
  • To inform the public about our special programs, services and events.
  • To persuade members to take advantage of the provided services.
  • To increase participation in CRS programs.

Target Audience/Market Segments

The target market is University of Maryland campus community. The target market segment breaks down into several groups or categories:

  • Incoming freshman and transfer students.
  • Faculty and staff.
  • Residence halls.
  • Commuting Students.
  • Women on campus.

Different areas pose different levels of interest to different groups within our target market. Through the use of marketing information systems (MIS) we can analyze the needs and desires of each segment and develop concepts for each program and service area accordingly.

Departmental Marketing Strategy

  • Develop each program area of the CRS as individual products with their own product development plan.  This would include the individual development of each program area as sub-units of the overall Department.

Program areas consist of Members Services, Informal Recreation, Non-Credit Instruction, Intramural Sports, Fitness/Wellness, Sport Clubs, Outdoor Recreation, and Student Personnel.  Each area will adopt a color scheme for identity, which will be carried through all promotional materials.

  • All design pieces for the Department should relate to the University of Maryland Visual Identity System as well as the department’s new integrated image program.
  • Unify the look and design of the CRS Recreation Guide and CRS Web Site.  Use related design schemes and formats for Recreation Guide and Web Site per semester.
  • The spirit of the Department’s image should convey a message of quality and excellence, while building awareness and pride among the campus community. Program participation should be associated with a valued experience and the facilities and service should be equated with the finest.
  • Use the Department’s logo as a signature as opposed to a design element.

Key Messages

  • CRS is more than just facilities for recreation and leisure.  It is a “valued and exciting experience.”
  • CRS facilities and services uphold the highest standards for quality and excellence.
  • CRS offers some of the most rewarding and fun filled employment opportunities on campus.
  • Participation in CRS programs has tremendous benefits to health, well being and character, which translate into real world success.

Call To Action

Active:

  • “Participate in CRS programs and use CRS facilities.”

Passive:

  • “Be informed as to what is going on with the CRS programs and facilities.”
  • “Don’t miss the experience.”

 

CRS Program Areas

Member Services

Treeva Creek, Coordinator for Member Services, held a meeting with her student employees to discuss their needs in order to establish more effective and efficient operations in area of Member Services. After talking with her student personnel, Treeva and I met.  In our meeting we evaluated the results of the student personnel meeting.  We were able to assess and prioritize the marketing objectives and strategies of the CRS Member Services for the spring 2001 academic semester.

Objective(s):
  • To inform current and potential members about the variety of CRS memberships and services.
  • To establish effective electronic correspondence between CRS and Student Personnel.
  • To enhance the current methods of correspondence between CRS staff and CRS members.
  • To reinforce the positive image and structured attitude of CRS’ customer service.
Marketing Strategy:
  • Update the design, layout and content of the Member Service Forms and Cards excluding outdate information and including necessary information that does not currently exist.  In the event that a form is needed but does not exist, new forms will be designed and added to the Member Services forms list.
Forms include:
  • Cancellation Form
  • Membership Form
  • Membership Service Form
  • Adult Registration and Release Form
  • Personal Training Regist. Form
  • Locker Rental Agreement
  • Guest Pass Form
Cards include:
  • Membership Cards
    Normal
    Payroll Deduction
  • Aerobics Cards
    $3, $10, $25 Unltd.
  • Guest Passes
    Normal
    ICC
  • Masters Swimming
  • Enhance the Member Services Web presence by establishing a Member Services sub-community within the CRS web site.

This segment of the web site will consist of overview information regarding the Member Services operations; a description of member services; CRS rules and regulations; frequently asked questions and a suggestion box for members to submit comments and suggestions.

  • Establish a link from Member Services web page to the Student Personnel section of the CRS Staff web page so student personnel can easily navigate to the updated contact list of student personnel and staff (refer to CRS Program Areas, Student Personnel).

 

Fitness and Wellbeing

During the marketing meeting with Mary Wolk, Assistant Director for Fitness, we determined that the CRS Fitness and Wellbeing programs are running strong.  Though it was determined that there were no major deficiencies in member participation, we were able to decide on marketing priorities for the spring 2001 academic semester.

Objective(s):
  • To generate an awareness of all existing fitness programs among members.
  • To increase participation in Weight and Fitness Room Orientation.
  • To increase participation in Woman and Weights program (in conjunction with Non-Credit Instruction).
  • Enhance the print presence of the Fitness and Wellbeing program area by writing a feature article in the Spring 2001 CRS Recreation Guide.
Marketing Strategy:

This feature article will consist of a brief overview of the fitness programs and facilities with reference to the F&W section of the Recreation Guide, activities and special events and schedules, an introduction of the program directors and coordinators, and general student employment information. This article will offer essential information in an entertaining way so that it will not come across as repetition but as reinforcement.  The undertone of this article will be to encourage the members to “have a closer encounter with the CRS experience” by participating in the fitness and wellbeing programs.  This article can be used to navigate members to underutilized facilities such as Ritchie Coliseum and the HHP building.

  • Develop special flyers on the fly for the guerilla marketing in support of special fitness classes and seminars.

 

Student Personnel/Training

After meeting with Stan Bradley, Coordinator of Student Personnel/Training, we were able to assess and prioritize the marketing objectives and strategies for Student Personnel/Training for the spring 2001 academic semester.

Objective(s):
  • To inform university students about CRS employment opportunities, open interviews and employment information meetings.
  • To inform students on the proper procedures for acquiring CRS student employment positions.
  • To establish effective electronic correspondence between CRS staff, student personnel and university students at large.
  • To reinforce the positive image and structured attitude of this program area.
Marketing Strategy:
  • Develop a Student Employment campaign to promote employment opportunities.

Develop Advertisement for: (1) Open Interviews; (2) Now Hiring; and (3) Employment Information Meetings.  The key message conveyed should echo the primary departmental key message of “experience and value.” Media channels may consist of, but are not limited to, the Spring 2001 CRS Recreation Guide, the CRS web site, ads in the Diamondback and on Shuttle buses, and flyers distributed through CRS facilities, the Career Center, Nyumburu Cultural Center, and Stamp Student Union. This campaign will be implemented during the spring 2001 semester.

  • Enhance the Web presence of the area of Student Personnel by establishing an interactive Student Personnel community within the CRS web site.

This segment of the web site will consist of overview information regarding the Student Employment, meetings and training, and the Student Employment positions. This area will include meeting and training schedules, student employment positions, up and coming job fair information. It will also offer relevant interactive forms such as on-line resume submission, classes and training sign up forms, and suggestion forms for student personnel input.  We can also use this page as an avenue to recognize outstanding student personnel and past award winners.  The Student Employee Handbook will also be available on-line and accessible in two formats; (1) key information will be integrated into the Student Employment web page and (2) a downloadable PDF file of the entire publication will be made available for printing.  The Student Employment page will have a direct link to the CRS Staff page and vice versa.  Student information that is urgent or time sensitive will be place in a pop-up window on the CRS homepage as well as within the Student Personnel page. A link to the Student Personnel page will accompany the sensitive message in the pop-up window.

Sport Clubs

After several meetings and discussions with Ron Abbit, Assistant Director for Sport Clubs, and talking with Club Officials and key personnel at the fall Sport Clubs meeting, we were able to assess and prioritize the marketing objectives and strategies of the CRS Sport Clubs for the spring 2001 school semester.

Objective(s):
  • To inform current and potential members about club activities and schedules.
  • To establish effective electronic correspondence between CRS staff, club officials and club members.
  • To reinforce the positive image and structured attitude of this program area.

Marketing Strategy:

  • Enhance the Web presence of the Sport Clubs program by establishing an interactive Sport Clubs community within the CRS web site.

This segment of the web site will consist of overview information regarding the Sport Clubs program and the existing clubs. This overview information will include meeting schedules, special event schedules, and results of Sport Clubs events. The Sport Clubs page will provide links to the different club Homepages. It will also offer interactive forms such as the Activity Form, Facility Request Form Travel Roster, and Members Roster for on-line registration and request submissions.  The page will maintain an updated contact list of Club officials and keys personnel.  The Sport Clubs Handbook will also be available on-line and accessible in two formats; (1) as an integrated section of the Sport Club web page and (2) as a downloadable PDF file for printing.

 

Non-credit instruction

Having met with Laura Sutter, Assistant Director for Non-Credit Instruction, we were able to establish priorities for the marketing objectives and strategies of the CRS Non-Credit Instruction programs for the spring 2001 semester.

Objective(s):
  • To inform our target market about new programs and schedules.
  • To build interest and increase the participation of student members in the instructional courses.
  • To establish effective electronic correspondence between CRS staff and Non-Credit Instructional course participants.
Marketing Strategy:
  • Develop advertisement campaigns to promote the following courses:

Prioritized: (1) Lifeguard training; (2) Women and Weights; (3) Scuba; (4) CPR for the Professional Rescuer; (5) Wilderness Classes; (6) Tennis; (7)Intermediate Yoga; and (8) Learn to Swim classes.  The primary key message conveyed should echo the primary departmental key message of “experience and value.” The secondary message(s) should be specific to the course itself.  Media channels may consist of, but are not limited to, the Spring 2001 CRS Recreation Guide, the CRS web site, ads in the Diamondback and on Shuttle buses, and flyers distributed through CRS facilities, Residence halls, Nyumburu Cultural Center, and Stamp Student Union. These campaigns will be implemented in accordance with and relative to the dates of the actual courses.

  • The decisions regarding the web presence of the Non-Credit Instructional Programs are still be under assessment.

 

CRS Facilities

Ritchie Coliseum

After previous Marketing Committee meetings and discussions with Lawrence Moody, South Campus Facilities Manager, we were able to assess and prioritize Ritchie Coliseum’s marketing objectives and develop strategies for the spring 2001 semester.

Objective(s):
  • To increase awareness among our target audience that Ritchie Coliseum is a facility of the CRS.
  • To encourage South Campus residence to consider Ritchie as a local alternative to the CRC.
  • To establish Ritchie as an alternative recreational facility for those members of our target audience who do not care for the crowded up-tempo pace of the CRC.
  • To familiarize our target market with the rich history of Ritchie Coliseum.
  • South Campus Residence (Frat Row, off campus housing, etc.).
  • Members of our target market who prefer less congested workout areas and gymnasiums.
  • Commuters.
  • Enhance the print presence of Ritchie Coliseum by writing a feature article in the Spring 2001 CRS Recreation Guide.
Marketing Strategy:

This feature article will consist of a brief history of Ritchie Coliseum, overview information of the coliseum’s facilities, activities and special events, an introduction of the Facilities Manager, and general student employment. This article will offer essential information in an entertaining way.  The undertone of this article will be to encourage the members of the target audience to try the coliseum out as an alternative to the CRC for informal recreation.  This article will be use as an avenue to relay better ways to utilize Ritchie.

 

Departmental Publications (Print & Electronic)

CRS Recreational Guide

The design strategy of the CRS Recreation Guide addresses the problem of effective communication through print media/publication.  The areas of development consist of the development of new, more exciting design and style.  The new format will be more magazine-styled then the former catalog-styled.  The function of the new design and style will be to deliver information regarding the CRS rules, facilities, programs and services to our target audience in a more appealing and entertaining way.

Publication Objective(s):
  • To establish a new style and design for the Recreation Guide publication that is more inviting and entertaining to our target audience. The new style should be ready for implementation through the spring semester 2001 edition of the CRS Recreation Guide.
  • To generate a greater awareness of all of the existing CRS programs, services, facilities, related events and pertinent schedules.
  • To familiarize the target audience with key CRS personnel (program coordinators, managers and club officials, etc.).
  • To reinforce of the Departments current image through the integrated image program, which will unify the look of the print media and electronic media.
  • To reinforce the University’s prestigious image and attitude of distinction, strength and pride.
Design Strategy:
  • The new function of this publication will be to inform the reader in an entertaining fashion.
  • The new style of the Recreation Guide will take on the look and feel of a University Sport and Fitness magazine.

The magazine will consist of two major sections: (1) Departments and (2) Features:

  • The Departments section will consist of Membership Information, Facilities Overview, CRS Programs, and Playing by the rulesThe Playing by the rules section will be a less intimidating approach to delivering the CRS rules and regulations.  Headlines can be posed as questions or statements that invite the reader to participate responsibly, rather than commanding them.
  • As a promotional measure, any chosen area that the marketing committee determines is in need of intense promotion will be addressed through the Features section of the magazine.  For instance, if Ritchie Coliseum is deemed as being under promoted, it can run as a feature article in the upcoming edition.  An article regarding the upgrade of the CRS Web site can assist in informing the target audience of our new look and enhanced on-line correspondence.  An article featuring the CRS staff that have worked with the program for a decade or more could work as a PR strategy.  A maximum of three feature stories may run in any one edition.
  • Provide an avenue for alternative correspondence via access to an on-line downloadable PDF formatted printable Recreation Guide available through the CRS Web site.
  • The content of the Recreation Guide magazine will complement the Departments Web site through the integrated image program, yet maintain its own integrity by consisting of unique information through its feature articles.
  • Have a closer encounter with the CRS experience.
  • CRS facilities, programs and services offer advance technology for sport, health and fitness.
  • CRS offers some of the most exciting employment opportunities on campus.
  • Participation in CRS programs has tremendous benefits to health, well being and character, which translate into real world success.

 

CRS Web Site

The design strategy of the CRS Web Site addresses the problems of effective communication through digital media.  The areas of exploration to be used for the enhanced functioning of the site consist of illustration, photography, animation, interactivity and multimedia.  To enhance the CRS Web presence we will produce a multimedia driven interactive web site that surpasses the typical “on-line brochure” look of most university recreation, sport and leisure sites.  The function of this site is to communicate essential CRS information in a readable, yet exciting and entertaining way.  The site must also facilitate an environment where we can exchange vital information (i.e. registration, schedules, and contact info) with our members and the public-at-large via interactive forms and database retrieval.

Site Objective(s):
  • To enhance the online presence of the Department.
  • To facilitate an environment for the distribution of essential CRS information to our target audience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • To establish successful on-line correspondence between the Department and target audience.
  • To reinforce of the Departments current image through the integrated image program, which will unify the look of the electronic media and print media.
  • To establish a new format and style that will be ready to launch at the start of the spring semester.
Design Strategies:
  • Develop sub-unit communities within the CRS Web site for each program and service area

Site content will consist of Homepage, Members Services, Facilities Overview, Informal Recreation, Non-Credit Instruction, Intramural Sports, Fitness/Wellness, Sport Clubs, Aquatics, Outdoor Recreation, Student Employment Opportunities, CRS Staff Information, Special Events.

  • The concept and function of the site will be entertaining and multimedia driven.
  • Develop an environment for “information exchange” through interactive forms.
  • Enhance interactivity with rollover buttons, sound and image map navigation.
  • Provide a choice for alternative correspondence via on-line submission of information and/or downloadable PDF formatted printable forms.
  • Offer a search engine for more efficient and effective site navigation.
Keys Message(s):

For the sake of consistency, the key messages of the CRS Web site and the CRS Recreation Guide are the same:

  • Have a closer encounter with the CRS experience.
  • CRS facilities, programs and services offer advance technology for sport, health and fitness.
  • CRS offers some of the most exciting employment opportunities on campus.
  • Participation in CRS programs has tremendous benefits to health, well being and character, which translate into real world success.

 

Media Channels

Publications (Print & Electronic)

  • Recreation Guide Magazines (3 editions a year; fall, spring, summer)
  • CRS Web Site (3 editions a year; fall, spring, summer)

Magazine

  • Undergraduate Catalog/Schedule of Classes
  • Graduate Catalog
  • Student Handbook
  • Parent/Family Guide
  • College Park, The UMD Magazine

Newspaper

  • The Diamondback
  • The Commuter Connection
  • Outlook, The UMD Faculty and Staff Newspaper

Direct Media

  • Letters and Press Releases
  • Price Lists
  • Calendars for Regular and Special Events
  • Brochures
  • Coupons
  • Mail Outs

Out of Office Media

  • Posters
  • Bulletin Boards
  • Over the Counter (OTC) Displays
  • Flyers in Lobby Catalog Stands

Transit Ads

  • UMD Shuttle Bus PSA’s

Television

  • Cable TV (UMD’s educational channel)
  • University Cable Network

Radio

  • UMD’s local access station