With its inception in 2004, the Writers at Woody Point Festival have become an ever increasingly popular annual literature festival for Newfoundland’s west coast. The festival has grown each year and has now reached the point where council believes a formal marketing strategy and plan is necessary for the festivals short and long term economic sustainability in the ever-increasingly competitive literature festival market. To create the marketing strategy for the festival, analysis will include looking at the events strengths and weaknesses, as well as its opportunities and threats in its external environment.
Viable options will then be considered that will dismiss managements concerns, which will further be explained through specific recommendations for both short and long term for management to implement for the festival. Analysis In this next section S. W. O. T analysis will be used to analyze the festivals strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats which will provide the framework that the recommendations will be based upon. The festival has many strengths that have enabled its continued success since its infancy.
The location for the festival alone is a great strength as it takes place within the popular Gros Morne National Park which provides a setting of amazing natural landscapes, and spectacular scenery for the event. It is apparent that the festivals majority of customers are locals from nearby communities, which is great as it shows the festival has the support of the nearby communities, and does not rely on visitors from afar or out of the providence.
The strong focus on community can also be seen within the festival as there are various local artists, musicians, and writers showcased along with the numerous local programs and collaborations with local arts groups, including the: Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador, Gross Morne Summer Music Program, and school outreach programs. Another key strength for the festival is the increasingly growing support and fundraising received from large corporate businesses, government, and local businesses. This is beneficial for the festivals future long term because it will help provide the economic sustainability to continue growth and
operations that management is concerned about. The last strength is the festivals continued support from local volunteers, including the board of directors and event coordinator who volunteer their time for organizing the festival. This allows the festival to allocate more money from the surplus each year towards marketing, and any other ventures it may want to expand into. Weaknesses in the festival are problematic to management and should be handled cautiously. The sheer growth that has occurred in previous years has put a burden on the festivals facilities, including limiting ticket numbers.
By limiting ticket numbers for the festival, the organizers are capping their growth potential, which can affect the future potential to penetrate the market. Ticket prices which have remained constant since its first year should be reevaluated to reflect the increasing demand. Another key weakness affecting the festival is the lack of sufficient nearby lodging for it’s out of town guests. By not having enough lodging nearby for out of town guests, interested potential customers may be turned off and decide not to attend the festival, as well risk festival numbers for the scheduled nightly activities.
Opportunities for the festival will allow the festival to continue to develop each year, and penetrate the market. The festival which takes place at a national park could attract camping families to attend the festival by promoting it as a key travel destination for those travelling in recreational vehicles. Next, the scheduling of more music concerts for the younger crowds also would be a great new opportunity the festival can use to expand future growth. The younger crowds who may have only been interested in music, may appreciate and become interested in the book readings as well.
The festival which already receives funding from major companies, can seek out new music focused company sponsorship’s that will provide aid for the costs of the concerts. The last opportunity for the festival includes the role it can provide in educating the local youth about local cultural music, theater, and arts. Many may grow up to have a strong appreciation towards their own communities’ festival. Threats for the festival should raise concern as they can affect future outlook and growth potential.
An immediate threat is the competing reading festivals in the area and country during the summer months of July and August. These other festivals can greatly affect numbers for the Writers at Woody Point Festival as potential customers may choose to attend, and spend money travelling to these other venues throughout the year and summer months. Another threat is the uncertainty of having to rent out the Woody Point Heritage Theatre each year. A competing festival or event could rent or even buy the theatre therefore taking away the venue of the festival, or charge a ridiculous amount to rent.
The relative age of returning customers may also pose potential threat for festival organizers as they target younger crowds with music concerts, they may give grief and thus upsetting the customers there for the book readings, which is the festivals primary source of revenue. The analysis above has made it apparent that the festival has/ need of; outgrown its current facilities and needs more room, current ticket prices need to be restructured, secondary revenue streams created, need to continue contributing to the economic development of the Woody Point area.
Possible Options The first strategy would see the festival shift demographics and focus more on making the festival family friendly. The location of the festival is in a national park which would make it seem practical to attract camping families in the summer months of August. Festival packages and passes will be created that will allow a small discount to those campers in the park that attend the festival for one day, three day, and full week periods.
More activities will be created for the demographic through offering movie screenings in the evenings, large social camp fires where all ages could roast marshmallows, and even story tellings’ by the festivals famous book reading authors. More readings will be done under large party tents and outdoors, in addition to the readings already at the Woody Point Heritage Theatre, and Woody Point RCL building with a small portion of ticket sales being donated to the local Gros Morne schools.
The second strategy would not see the shift to appeal to camping families, but appeal to the younger 18-35 crowd interested in attending music concerts. Concerts will be held at the Heritage Theatre and on the tour boat, every evening. The concerts will not only include local artists of Newfoundland, but offer a variety of folk, jazz, and celtic. Passes for the music concerts will be available separate for those music goers who are only interested in seeing a concert, as well as bundled as a package for book reading events for those interested in both.
In addition to all of this, more readings will be done under large party tents outdoors, in addition to the readings already at the Woody Point Heritage Theater, and Woody Point RCL building with a small portion of ticket sales being donated to the local Gros Morne schools. The third and final strategy would be a combination of the two previous strategies. The festival will be extended to become a full week-long festival. The festival will still promote the book readings to be its primary source of attraction, but will now appeal to families and music goers as well.
There will be activities for each demographic, whether its individuals and couples interested in book readings, young adults interested in music concerts, families interested in spending time with themselves and/or being around other families. The festival will have package deals that will combine all activities into one package deal. Rationale for Choosing Strategy 3 Strategy 3 best fits the decision criterion which is as follows: What is the market size and growth rate in each of the alternatives? Does the alternative target the correct market segments?
Does an alternative give any unique capabilities that give the festival a competitive advantage? Strategy 3 appeals to multiple markets so the growth potential is huge, and in not relying on one specific market, there are no limiting factors to the festivals growth. This strategy not only targets the correct market segments, but allows diversification for the festival to expand and create multiple revenue sources. It appeals to more people, rather than just targeting those who are interested in book readings.
And also offers more activities to participate in, therefore giving the customer more reason to stay and attend another day, three days, or full week thus increasing revenue. This strategy also gives the festival a competitive advantage because it now appeals to three specific markets, without compromising the traditional book readings. Recommendations Short Term: The festival should approach Gros Morne National Park and arrange 30-40 camp ground and RV sites to be reserved for the festival immediately.
As well as book the Heritage Theatre, tour boat, and Royal Canadian Legion building for the week of the festival in August. The venue will take place at all of these locations throughout the week long event, and is crucial for the festivals success. Lodging will be made available for those with recreational vehicles, and camp sites for those who choose to stay in a tent, alleviating the past strain on hotels, which festival organizers should anticipate will become booked. To help with this and parking congestion, shuttle buses to and from the hotels to the event should be offered for their guests.
The next recommendation would be to overhaul the ticket pricing and membership model. Box office revenue since 2004 has increased 38% annually for the last 7 years, while memberships respectively have increased 121% annually. This is the motive for raising tickets to $25 per event, and offer packages for those interested in partaking in the festivals week long festivities. These packages should be broken up into one day, three days, and full week packages priced at $75, $180, and $375.
These prices are based upon the average estimate of 3 shows a customer will see throughout the day. Lastly for pricing recommendations, the festival should get rid of the $10 Supporters membership immediately by offering those who supported entry to an event of their choosing. Memberships for the Sustaining and Patron groups should be combined into one class called Elite, which would include both a signed poster of the festival writers and musicians, as well as a painting done by a local artist.
This membership will include reserved tickets to events for all members of Elite which will be priced at $850. A new membership called Advantage should be introduced that will only include reserved tickets to all events, priced at $350. The music concerts which will take place at the theater will occur each evening after the last book reading. Concerts will feature 1-3 acts and include local artists from Newfoundland, and a variety of folk, jazz, and celtic music.
The admission for the concerts will be the standard $25, and are included in all of the package and membership deals. The festival has shown that it can generate more than enough interest without spending copious amounts of money on advertising. However, the festival in addition to its current promotional efforts should focus on setting up posters in more truck stops, gas stations, and bars in the surrounding areas. And one last final short term recommendation would be the festival should create an annual award to be handed out to a writer that makes a reading at the festival.
It could be named the “Woody Point Writer of the Year”, corporate sponsors could be involved and commission a trophy to be made by a local craftsman to be handed out to the winner. This would serve as a really exciting culmination to the festival and prove to make the festival more exclusive. Long Term: The festival should continue to pursue affiliation with corporate sponsors like Scotiabank, Random House, The Globe and Mail, and other small companies; this will both create new profitable relationships within the festival and will create more exposure for the festival on the national stage.
This will also attract the bigger named authors to travel to Woody Point to participate in the festival. Also with the continued growth and success of the festival, organizers should seek to purchase its own private establishment and land. When the festival accumulates enough surplus it should purchase the Woody Point Heritage Theater and offer readings, and concerts throughout the year. This will help build strong brand equity for the festivals already strong reputation.