Marketing communication plan is a blueprint for successful marketing strategies. The proposed Al Maha Airline has the primary aim of reaching out to the young generation as a potential client market segment. Any integrated marketing plan should have a functional model that will cue the mind of a customer towards a product or service. The functional model comprises of elements such as awareness, interest, desire, and action. This paper presents the marketing communication strategies that the Al Maha Airline may use to invite college students to interact with its brand.
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Current situation at the Al Maha Airline
Saudi Arabia has quickly embraced the e-marketing strategies to be at par with other countries. In the last two decades, e-marketing has played a key role in product promotion in nearly all sectors. The most common e-marketing platforms in Saudi Arabia include social media, the internet, and cable television. Often, internet use among youths is beneficial as they dedicate time in blogs with those they perceive as equals and members of the youth culture. Due to the entry of technological advancement in the world today, internet has been the most common means of social media communication among the Saudi youths (Stokes 31).
According to AL-Jenabi (2008), more than 59% of Saudi families’ youths have access to the internet and are literate in its use (Al-Jenabi 18). The conscientious marketing for the Al Maha needs to perceive the global interrelationship with inclusive model of integration through the youth culture in its brand visibility marketing. The main objective of this digital marketing plan is to attract the younger customers’ market through the company’s website and social media fan pages in order to increase the customer traffic. In order to attract college students to interact with the Al Maha brand, the proposed marketing communication will involve the use of social media (Facebook and Twitter), and company website to promote the brand within the online Saudi youth culture.
Applying different marketing communication strategies
Social media, especially Facebook, website optimization, and Twitter have gained popularity among companies that use these sites as interaction modules to share experiences and exchange ideas with the youthful customers. In the e-Marketing industry, social media has penetrated the communication environment and currently commands a large following among the users (Stokes 14). To increase credibility and maintain professionalism, the current bomb internet channels used by the Al Maha, for reaching the youthful consumers, should be tailored to encompass processes and features that flawlessly facilitate a healthy and lifetime relationship between the airline and its clients. These will be achieved through the following ways;
Website search engine optimization (SEO)
The Al Maha should optimize its search engine to improve on its online brand visibility among the college students. Search engine optimization can be achieved through installing ‘pluggins’ that possess extra features such as page navigation and thumbnail within the company’s website. Specifically, this proposed system in Google will consist of a multi tab page that will serve different areas and services to online youthful customers.
Thus, recruiting independent ‘bloggers’ to ‘blog’ about the airline brand will give the company a competitive advantage in marketing its products to college students across Saudi Arabia. This promotional strategy has been successfully applied by the Emirates Airline, which has a strong global SEO for its brands (Al-Jenabi 19). Besides, optimizing the link referral has the potential of making the company’s advertisement website to go viral among the youths within six months since the unique cookie will spread to the phones of primary and secondary users (Bowden 33).
The SEO may also be tailored to include a unique cookie which is transferable to the visitors of the Al Maha website. The unique cookie for the website will be transferred to all primary and secondary visitors of this site hence broadening the spread information on this website. Optimizing the SEO has the potential of creating a long term loyalty among young clients. For instance, Etihad Airways’ SEO strategy has successfully increased the percentage of young customers by 20% in the last three years (Al-Jenabi 21). The potential of the referral link approach is that it will improve the visibility of the company’s products among the targeted college students. For instance, the Al Maha’s website should carry out a link reference promotion where the website visitor with the highest number of referral links is rewarded with a free air ticket (Cheverton 29).
Social media (Facebook and Twitter)
Through timely appeal to emotions and self prejudice, a marketing manager is in a position to realize that the mind is often skewed towards embracing the ‘perceived goodness’ and need to identify with ‘the ideal’ in the packaging of a product or service.
Social media, especially Twitter and Facebook have gained popularity among the potential young customers of the Al Maha Airline, who use these sites as interaction modules to share flight culture and exchange ideas. The Tweeter and Facebook fan pages are ideal tools for branding and community following building for the Al Maha, especially among the targeted college students. For instance, Qatar Airline has grown to its current position due to its successful fan page marketing (Al-Jenabi 25).
This will allow the college students to interact and let users to add content to align to different orientations of the company’s brand. It will help the company to reach the targeted young customers by skipping or bypassing the traditional gatekeepers, such as written magazine publishers, and placing them online so that customers can get to know about the airline’s brands directly (Stokes 20).
Properly modified fan pages will reassure the young customers of the quality of the services that the Al Maha Airline offers. Through massive recruitment of college fans in the Twitter and Facebook pages, the company will not only benefit from an increased traffic of online compliments, but also record high rates of customer loyalty as most youthful customers are influenced by reactions from those they perceive as sharing the same youth culture. This strategy is meant to position the company as a market leader in terms of customer satisfaction tracking and response among the targeted college students (Cheverton 51).
Apparently social media marketing is very essential, especially for this company since it operates in the competitive Saudi airline industry. At present most of the targeted college students have smart phones, computers and tablets, hence easy access to social media. The SEO and link referral are the most appropriate social media marketing strategies for the company in attracting the youthful customer segment. Besides, the company may use Facebook and Twitter to create a sustainable online customer following, especially among the youths since they are the most common visitors of these sites.
Al-Jenabi, Badreya. “Use of social media in the United Arabs Emirates: An initial study.” Global Media Journal, 1. 2(2008): 3-27. Print.
Bowden, John. “The Process of Customer Engagement: A Conceptual Framework.” Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, 17.1(2009): 63-74. Print.
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Cheverton, Philip. Key marketing skills: strategies, tools, and techniques for marketing success, London, UK: Kogan Page, 2004. Print.
Stokes, Raymond. eMarketing: The essential guide to digital marketing, London, UK: Quirk eMarketing (Pty) Ltd, 2011. Print.