“Boosting Demand In The “Experience Economy”.” Harvard Business Review 93.1/2 (2015): 24-26. Business Source Complete. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.
The Harvard Business Review, talks about how “[n]onprofits have been slow to embrace marketing science, but one institution’s success shows the potential upside” (24), in the article “Marketing Boosting Demand in the “Experience Economy “. Georgia Aquarium first opened in 2005 and since it was known as “the biggest aquarium in the world” no actual advertisement was needed. In the first year alone more than 3.5 million people visited the aquarium, “which feature[s] some 120,000 animals spread across 60 habitats in more than 8 million gallons of water” (24). No change was noticed until 2008 when only about 2 million people started visiting annually.
“After an initial rush of traffic, they generally see a decline in attendance as the experience loses its novelty” (24). As more animals, attractions, and exhibits have been added to the aquarium a fluctuation in the number of visitors have been observed as the initial interest passes. “Georgia Aquarium conducted a study of other aquariums around the country, which confirmed that this was an industrywide problem” (24). Keeping the interest of the public is much more than just adding on new attractions to re-spark interest. Mark Becker, President of Georgia State University, is one of the board members for Georgia Aquarium and he suggested to bring in V. Kumar “a Georgia State expert on marketing research and customer engagement.”
The main question the board members had to ask themselves when trying to create a new strategy were, “ is not simply How do you bring in more customers?” but “[h]ow do you bring in the right customers, and keep them coming back?” (24). When developing company strategies it is important to keep in mind long term plans. You want to attract customers that will keep coming back for many years to come. The first step the company took was to evaluate their already existing customers, and what they can do to do to better market to them.
The whole marketing concept was reconstructed. The aquarium relied more on media to attract the customers they wanted. Magazine ads were also placed in high end magazines, and billboards were moved from highways and “place[d] along less heavily trafficked roads in the newly identified markets” (25). And as a final resort for boosting the number of visitors, “it called for discounted pricing during off-peak hours” (26). The new marketing strategies were first implemented in 2013, and results have been seen. “Attendance has climbed by 10%, revenue by 12%, the number of new pass holders by 12%, and pass renewals by 10% over projections based on trends through 2012” (26).
Through the impact the new marketing strategy has had on the aquarium’s economy, it is seen that sometimes all that needs to be changed is the way the product is sold to consumers and not necessarily the product itself. The article is geared toward businesses that are trying a new marketing plan. This article shows the process of a marketing plan, and the results of a successful implementation.