Taronga Zoo- Marketing research

Essay add: 30-09-2015, 13:18   /   Views: 1 810
Executive Summary
Taronga Zoo – officially opened on the 7th of October 1916 – has been able to withstand the test of time, and today – some ninety years after being established – remains a prime tourist attraction in the heart of Sydney. By remaining open daily from 9am to 5pm (365 days a year, even Christmas Day!) the zoo is able to ensure that all zoo goers (including tourists and families) have plenty of time to explore the zoo, to take in the amazing scenery and views and even attend a show or two! Included in the price of entry is a free Newspaper (Sydney Morning Herald), access to the Cable Car and free access to several shows the run throughout the day at the zoo (most notable of which is the improved Free Flight Bird Show)
Taronga Zoo has expanded in recent times to further accommodate for business and social functions (with the development of function rooms), families (with the introduction of Roar and Snore) and all other visitors with the continuous additions being introduced (such as the new Snow Leopards and Wild Asian Wetlands exhibit) that add to the exponential reputation of Taronga Zoo as a great day out for all.
The management team have asked that this marketing report be compiled in an effort to determine the effectiveness of the current marketing strategies, and to provide any possible feedback about how much of a positive or negative influence the current marketing schedule is having on the business as a whole.
Mission Statement
The Management of the Zoological Parks Board has determined the following as the Mission Statement for Taronga Zoo.

“We will demonstrate a meaningful and urgent commitment to wildlife, our natural environment and the pursuit of excellence in our conservation, recreation and scientific endeavours.”

Situational Analysis
Business Life Cycle
At the current point in time, Taronga Zoo is in the Post Maturity (Renewal Stage) (See Figure 1.1) with the large number of new ventures being undertaken by the owners such as the Wild Asia Exhibit and Oceanarium
Fig 1.1

SWOT Analysis
The purpose of a SWOT Analysis is to evaluate the current situation the business is in. The SWOT Analysis consists of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The internal strengths of the business should be matched with external opportunities. The Business undertaking the SWOT Analysis also needs to put into place strategies in order to take control of weaknesses and eliminate any threats from external sources.
 Opening Hours (9am – 5pm) – Returning from the zoo, the visitors may be exposed to the sunset, which for couples may be considered as very romantic
 Open 365 Days a Year – Unlike two of its most fierce competitors (IMAX Theatre and Manly Aquarium) the zoo is open every day of the year without exception. In the history of the zoo, it has only ever remained close twice:
o Australia Day 1988 to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary
o August 8th – October 26th 1917 to house labourers from the wharves (due to strikes)
o Heritage Listed Elephant Enclosure – This area of the zoo is able to attract visitors whom are not only interested in the animals at the zoo but also the historical features at Taronga
 Education Program – There are more than twenty-five teachers on hand at the zoo to take school groups and give informative lectures/lessons about certain aspects of the zoo and the way it functions
 Location – The location is excellent as it provides customers with beautiful views of the harbour. The Free Flight Bird is positioned perfectly in order to enhance the view of the harbour
 Price – When compared to other local tourist attractions (two in particular being IMAX and Manly Aquarium) the zoo may be considered as a costly tourist attraction and drive away potential customers away
 Weather Dependant – Market analysis has shown that if it is raining up until 10am, the majority of people would away from the zoo believing it will continue raining all day
 Location – Potential customers may be turned away due to the difficulties of making it to the zoo (in most cases, the trip involves a train, bus and ferry trip both ways)
 Heritage Listed Elephant Enclosure – The constraints of heritage listing mean that the area taken up by the enclosures can not be upgraded to keep with the times
 Visitors expect to see the animals constantly in action
 Animal Related Movies at IMAX – These movies may entice viewers into wanting to see animals close up…leading to them going to the zoo
 Closure of Wonderland – Means visitors that once would have gone to Wonderland for an entertaining day out may now decide to attend the zoo
 IMAX – On a rainy day, potential customers that were planning to go to the zoo may choose to go to indoor IMAX theatre to see a movie
 Easter Show – The two weeks of the year the Royal Easter Show runs for draws customers away from attending the zoo during the peak Easter Holiday Period
 Luna Park
 Bridge Climb – Tourists may see the Bridge Climb as a more interesting thing to do. The idea that ‘seen one zoo seen them all’ may also influence this choice
 Weakening Tourism Market – A heavy reliance is placed on the tourist dollar and if this falls it can have a gross affect on the zoo as a whole
 Manly Aquarium – Plans to open a Native Animal zoo above the aquarium may lead to customers turning away from the zoo, believing they will be getting more for their money by having access to a zoo and aquarium in the same location
Goals and Objectives
The goals of Taronga Zoo are as follows:
 To differentiate itself from Manly Aquarium (by showing itself to be a less commercial venture)
 Conservation and Preservation of Wildlife
 To be considered The World’s Best Zoo through:-
o Research
o Breeding
o Education
o Recreation
The objective of Taronga Zoo is to “Inspire Australians and Visitors to discover delight in, and protect our natural wildlife”
This is evident in many of the zoos activities, from the breeding programs that have been undertaken to the education classes that take place in one of the two main classrooms in the zoo.
Marketing Mission Statement
The marketing department has set the following as its mission statement
 “To deliver a diverse program of activities designed to attract a wider target market of Zoo Visitors”

Target Market
The target market is a defined segment of the market that is the strategic focus of a business or a marketing plan. Normally the members of this segment possess common characteristics and a relative high propensity to purchase a particular product or service. Because of this, the members of this segment represent the greatest potential for sales volume and frequency. The target market is often defined in terms of geographic, demographic, and psychographic characteristics.

The marketing department at Taronga Zoo has established two main target markets –
 Families looking to have a fun day out
o Mum
o Two Children
o Married
o Repeat Visitors
 Tourists
o Adventurous
The prices of admission (shown in Table 1.1) are reflective of the Target Market.
Tab 1.1
Ticket Buyer Price
Adult $30.00
Child $16.50
Child Under Four FREE OF CHARGE
Family Pass $79.00

These prices are reflective of attempts to bring in families. Despite the relatively high price in comparison to other near by attractions, the zoo is able to set its prices at a premium, as it gives a family a more unique day out. Unlike most of Taronga’s competitors, the zoo provides a whole day out for families, who can explore the massive grounds and discover many new and amazing species of animal that may not have been accessible to them without taking a trip to the zoo

The two groups were established after having taken a postcode survey upon entry to the zoo. This survey results can be seen in Figure 1.2.

Fig 1.2

Marketing Mix
A Marketing Mix is the combination of product offerings used to reach the target market of an organization. The marketing mix comprises the Product (what the actual offering comprises), Price (the value exchanged for that offering), Promotion (the means of communicating that offering to the target audience, promotional mix) and distribution (also known as Place, the means of having the product offering available to the target audience).
The physical location of the zoo as well as the placement of shops throughout the zoo is very important in an effort to raise revenue.
 Physical Location of the Zoo
o Mosman was a purposely chosen location to relocate the zoo to in 1916. It was the perfect location for a zoo to be constructed at for the main reason that:
 It is a sloped piece of land, meaning that, there was only a need to construct half a cage, the other half being closed in with sandstone walls
 The Location can be classed as scenic and therefore hard to get to. This is attractive to the adventurous people out there who are looking for an adventure.
 Positioning of Gift Shops
o The Gift shop and Restaurant area are positioned in a central part of the zoo that leads to many other parts. This is a clever marketing tactic as the customers are exposed to these shops a number of times throughout their time at the zoo.
o Another major gift shop is located at the entry to the zoo. In order to exit the zoo you must walk through this gift shop to get into the car park.

The positioning of these gift shops has been looked at very carefully. The places they are positioned in ensure maximum coverage in an effort to entice visitors to stop and think about buying and hopefully end up spending money in these shops.

 Another pivotal selling point is the location of certain exhibitions. The Free Flight Bird Show is one of these shows. The location means that not only can people view a fun show, but also picturesque views of the Sydney CDB (as seen on cover)
There are a number focus points that the zoo has focused on when setting their prices

 Competitive Pricing with other key attractions
 Focus on “whole day experience” when setting a premium price
 Application of Group rates (See Table 1.2)
o These group rates serve the purpose of being able to attract tourist groups and other groups interested in a fun day out

Table 1.2
Number In Group Adults Children (4-15)
12-100 $24.00 $13.00
101-500 $22.50 $12.50
501-2499 $21.00 $11.50
1001-2500 $19.50 $11.00
2501-5000 $18.00 $10.00
5001+ $16.50 $9.00

 School bookings can also be made. This is a very special opportunity for students, who are able to attend the Education Centre and have a “lesson” with a trained teacher (also a zoo keeper), have animals attend the classes and special access to VIP areas only accessible to celebrities and members of the public with a Jungle Sponsorship(costing $1000!)

The costs for an excursion are as follows:
 $8 per student
 1 Free Adult per 5 infant aged students (Kindergarten – Year 2)
 1 Free Adult per 10 primary or secondary aged students (Years 3-12)
 $22 per Additional Adult above the free threshold

The main aim of the pricing of the zoo is to be able to raise the $60 million needed of 12 years to establish their part of the fund to complete the “Master Plan” including Wild Asia (see Pic 1.1) and East Coast Australia Exhibit. The government has pledged $3 for every $1 the zoo raises. All in all, the total cost is estimated at $225million.

Pic 1.1 (Insert Wild Asia advert here)

Throughout the year, Taronga Zoo undertakes eight weeks of advertising used to flood the market with information about the zoo in an attempt to attract customers. This eight week peak period can be divided into two categories
 Pre-School Holiday Period – Each a one week flood campaign used for the week leading up to school holidays
 Early School Holiday Period – For the first week of holidays advertisement is used once again to expose to the population information about the zoo

These two peak periods have been established with specific reference to the target market (families) because it is a time that children are always looking for something fun to do and parents are trying to find something to occupy and tire the children!

Taronga does not just market at this time of the year though. Table 1.3 will demonstrate this using the figures on media coverage during the 2003-04 financial year.

Table 1.3
Media Cost Number of Articles % of Promotion Costs
Print $1,245,350 123 13.1
Radio $622,735 636 6.57
Television $7,617,610 217 80.33

These figures are represented in Fig 1.3 (cost) and Fig 1.4 (location)

Fig 1.3

Fig 1.4

On top of these figures, the zoo gains an extra $20million worth of free advertising. This is from newspapers who come out and publish articles about the zoo (usually when a new animal has arrive or attraction is opened) and News/Current Affairs programs filming the good news story which is shown at the end of show.

Also pivotal to the promotion of Taronga Zoo is the sale of merchandise. In effect they are being paid to market their brand! The sale of a T-Shirt for example with the Taronga logo being worn around the city will see the brand reach huge numbers of people for free! This is a very intangible asset the company has control of. See Pic 1.2 for an example of such merchandise.

Pic 1.2 (Insert Picture of Hat here)
Taronga Zoo has a number of “products” in its business venture. This list includes:
 Animals
 Exhibits
 Facilities
 Other Experiences
The animals are what a zoo is all about. Much of the marketing campaigns the zoo undertakes are centred on the exotic animals found in the zoo and also newly born animals as well as those newly introduced into the zoo.

A big focus is often place on new arrivals at the zoo such as the gorilla babies and the white snow leopards. This is to spark more enthusiasm in potential and return customers to visit the zoo to see the new animals that are being housed at Taronga.

Children are able to familiarise themselves with some of the animals in the zoo from television shows and movies. Such is the case with the meerkat which is represented by Timon in the Lion King Trilogy.

The zoo has many exhibits and shows that run throughout the day. As well as being able to view many different animals throughout the zoo, there are also shows and presentations that occur throughout the day.
The Free Flight Bird Show as mentioned above is a very entertaining show that sees a zoo keep and a bird entertain crowds in an open arena. The zoo has described the show with the following quote: “During the show, birds fly in to demonstrate unusual natural behaviours and show off their physical features in an incredibly entertaining way. The show’s aim of educating and inspiring audiences with the natural behaviours of the feathered stars is well met. There is nothing quite like having an owl fly just centimetres over your head to awaken you to the wonder of these amazing creatures!”
Other presentations are designed to inform rather than excite. One such presentation is a show that informs people about reptiles and how they live.

The Zoo has many facilities that can be utilised by corporate groups. The ANZ Conservation Theatre was used to hold functions (including conferences, workshops and product launches) in the 2003/04 financial year.
This centre catered for a total of 218 functions (which had a total of 14,000+ guests). The events also provided free marketing for the zoo as the 14,000 or more people that bare witness to the goings-on may end up returning with their family or friends to explore the zoo on a more personal level

Other Experiences
Roar and Snore is a recent innovation for Taronga that sees patrons able to have an overnight trip to the zoo. These trips include camping in the grounds, tours during night hours and early in the morning. This is a very special tour of the and accordingly the price has been set at the premium $154 for adults and $114 for children (not including booking price)
Also, the Zoo plays host to a number of concerts throughout the year. One of the most notable concert events on the calendar is the New Years Eve party. People are able to purchase three levels of tickets to the zoo (Roar and Snore) to witness the New Years Eve celebrations with front row seats to the fireworks displays at 9pm and midnight on New Years Eve. These tickets range from the standard Roar and Snore Prices of $154 to the Premium (Gold Tickets) which cost upwards of $500!

Marketing Controls
Marketing controls are used to ascertain the success of a marketing program. These controls need to consider on-field success, attendance, participation, sponsorship, customer surveys, market research etc.

The two main means for testing the success of Taronga Zoo’s marketing program as outlined in the 2003/04 report were Admissions and Retail.
For the first six months of the financial year, bad weather caused low admission rates, especially during the October Holidays. This was rectified during the month of December (which saw record attendance levels with three consecutive days of more than 10,000 customers). The momentum gained in December continued for rest of the financial year due to beautiful whether and the birth of baby lions and tigers.
New ticketing and stroller hire systems (Hire is computerised) have improved the service levels and reporting functions.

The retail sector of Taronga was able to come in well above both the Budget and Sales for the previous year. This result was even more impressive due to the close of the Silverback Trader shop due to the continuing work on the Master Plan.

A new focus on merchandising, expense control and buying strategy were each contributing factors to a profit of $671,194, which exceeded budget by nearly $300,000 and the prior years result by $316,000. These results can be seen in Fig 1.5

Fig 1.5

This turnover is equates to:
 A 227% increase on the budget
 A 212% increase on the 2002-03 returns
From the results shown above, it would seem that the Marketing Strategies initiated by the Marketing Department have proven to be a success, with massive revenue boosts having been recorded, and attendance levels breaking previous records. The Marketing should be maintained and any extra improvements added in order to continue the excellent financial results.

The management team should be very pleased at the results. The effectiveness of the current marketing strategies, could be described as excellent. The current strategies are having a positive affect on the business as a whole, with revenue increasing a large amount in the last 12 months.

Article name: Taronga Zoo- Marketing research essay, research paper, dissertation