Monday, November 24, 2008

Introduction

The objective of this report is to explore and understand the components of marketing mix that are applied to the event. The seven components that include product, price, promotion, place, people, physical evidence and process would be evaluated based on its success on meeting the visitor’s expectation and as well as its overall progress being a major arts exhibition. Another objective is to get to know the event better in terms of its background and intentions. It would gradually create a deeper understanding of the event as we look through its profile and the further research. Besides that, the discussion also includes the tourism roles of event as well as its economic values that would definitely reveal more on the impacts and benefits on the country where event is hosted at. These steps are taken to ensure a more effective evaluation of the event in both aspects.

Methodologies of research include the Internet, personal observation, event brochures and guidebook. The observation is conducted on a Sunday afternoon, 15th November 2008. Proof evidences of such are the entrance ticket and photographs attached as appendices under the report.

The chosen event that I visited is named Singapore Biennale 2008 with Wonder as its theme this year. It is an international contemporary mega visual arts exhibition that features 50 distinguished worldwide artists hailing from various artistic disciplinary backgrounds. The multitude of art works and installations around key venues in Singapore specifically at City Hall and South Beach has provided very distinctive colours to the experience and engagement of the artworks.

It is an arts exhibition which I personally feel that is worth for a visit and perhaps even subsequent ones in the future years to come. It gave first-time visitors like me a wow effect to have witness the marvel of art, definitely one of the very commendable events I have been to.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Evaluation of the Effective Use of Marketing Mix

The first component identified is Product of marketing mix.

This component discusses all elements that make up the event which include factors such as the entertainment offered, standard of service, opportunities for social interaction, staff interaction with visitors and the ‘brand’ image the event enjoys among the target market.

The amount of entertainment offered is comparably extensive as the interesting art pieces truly amazed the visitors. Exhibits ranging from adorable stickmen at Kids’ Biennale to gorgeous photographs framed and hung upon the walls and many others are more than sufficient to render speechlessness from the audience. I remember there is one such remarkable artwork which objects turn around as you move about, it has got me put on thinking cap and trying to figure out how is it done so.

Here it is.
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The standard of service is good with passionate helpers around the exhibition halls to aid you with any questions, there is definitely a high degree of staff interaction with visitors. There are also directory signs placed to lead visitors through out the viewing. Visitors are also rest-assured with available facilities such as washroom and food and beverage outlets near by.

As visitors are free to roam around the rooms, they can have the chance to meet and interact with the other visitors who share such same interest which in fact promotes social exchange.

Singapore Biennale has a history of the first inaugural edition in 2006 that had more than 883,000 visitors and generated more than 1,000 press articles. It was placed on the international arts map ever since then and has gained a great deal of recognition amongst the locals and foreigners. This is indisputably an advantage that the event enjoys with its branding, it can attract and promote higher visitors’ rate for its upcoming events.

Next component is Price of marketing mix.

It includes monetary cost and non-cash costs of price that consumers have to pay for visiting the event, with consideration of the total benefits they receive.

The entrance fee of the event is Singapore Dollars $10 for adults, $5 for students, and for those who hold community club membership gets a 30% discount. The entrance fee entitles ticket holders to enter three main exhibition venues as well as other complimentary artwork displays on the street, a total of seven. However, there is additional cost to top up for the art experience at Singapore Flyer.

The value of the amount paid depends on the difference between benefits offered and costs incurred by consumers. The costs incurred include time spent on the event and physical efforts to consume the experience.

Time spent on viewing all exhibits particularly at the City Hall takes up approximately two hours and one and a half hours at South Beach Development. Taking into concern of the walking distances between each venue, consumers are using half a day’s time, around five hours to finish viewing all exhibits.

As the exhibits are located at different locations, consumers have to either walk or take public transports to get to each exhibition venue. Therefore, the amount of physical efforts used on the event is considerably large.

For the abovementioned costs incurred by consumers, the event managements actually attempted to alleviate the difficulties by value-added the journey with some artwork displays along the street side such as those at Raffles City and Esplanade Bridge. This way, it created a tour of wondrous art experience as the artwork displays lined up along the journey to bring consumers through all exhibitions. Moreover, the selection of venues are within walking distance that are best able to present the artworks and too engage visitors in a meaningful way. Guidebooks and exhibition venue information are available for visitors’ need. And not forgetting the promotional rate that was offered to adult visitors during specific timings of the day, they are privileged to pay just half the price for the tickets by reading out a sentence from a brochure given. All these efforts are very much able to ease the cost or difficulty if any, that are encountered by the consumers.

The benefits provided to the consumers are the vast information of exhibits, a fantastic visual arts experience with marveling artwork displays as well as the novelty of an encounter at the largest international biennale of contemporary art. Look at the pictures of few exhibits taken, these brilliant pieces truly amazed me and satisfied my curiosity for arts.

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Weighing the difference between the total benefits and costs, there is an apparent positive difference and a great net value to the consumers. For such an international exhibition with numerous superb art pieces showcased, the price that consumers are paying is satisfactory and reasonable. Especially for art lovers and those who appreciate, the non-cash costs mentioned earlier on are actually extra value to them.

Third component is Promotion of marketing mix.

The communication activities employed for the event are advertising, sales promotion and publicity.

Under advertising, the event utilized marketing tools such as magazines, Internet and mobile platforms. The art magazine, Asian Contemporary Arts and Culture is the designated magazine that published information on the event. Through the Internet, there is an official website for consumers to get to know more, as well as blog and the famous community network, Facebook. These are very good ways to advertise the event as they have tremendously boundless network of millions of people across many countries. It also placed advertisement on public transports such as SBS buses that travel around everywhere in Singapore daily. These advertising tools are practical, effective and reasonably cheap, certainly are very good ways to reach out to the consumers.

The event also collaborated with various companies such as Singapore Flyer, PAssion and McCafe where consumers receive special discounts. It also worked together with sponsors to hold cross-promotion, renowned organizations such as Club 21, IKEA, Anderson’s, Tiger Beer and many more are the sponsors of this event. These two promotions could help to generate revenue for the sponsors and meanwhile result in additional sales.

As for publicity, there are few press releases for the event and that include its opening ceremony officiated by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. Readers can definitely obtain good and accurate information with updates regarding the event.

The promotional efforts are sufficient and effective, however it could be better. One way to enhance its promotion to reach out to more people is to extend its advertisement to radio telecasts. As many people listen to FM stations almost everyday, it is absolutely one way to increase awareness of the event. It is also cheap, quick to produce and results in no lead time.

Fourth component is Place of marketing mix.

There are three main exhibition venues with four mini stations of artwork displays on the street. A decision is made such to create a journey of art installation, and to give visitor a total sensation of contemporary art in Singapore. All locations are closely linked with walking distances less than half an hour, there are nearby bus-stops to take visitors to and fro the places where each ride will not take more than fifteen minutes.

In my opinion, I personally think that this is an extremely innovative approach to present the art exhibits which outstands the ordinary ones held in monotonous exhibition halls. As arts is an exciting thing that surprises, keeps people in awe and overwhelms with its dynamism and profundity, this method of presenting the interesting art pieces has further augmented the total visiting experience.

The ticketing booths are stationed at City Hall and South Beach Development. Both venues are the centrally situated along the route, this contributed largely to the convenience for consumers to get the tickets and then travel to another exhibition venue after exploring the current one they are at.

This is good, however as technology advances, perhaps the event should undertake the use of Internet as another distribution medium. By allowing consumers to get the tickets online, it offers a great deal of convenience and time saving. It speeds up the transaction without wasting time on waiting and as revenue comes from buyer’s credit card, it facilitates security and ease of collection. Since Singapore Biennale has an official website on its own, such feature could be added on to boost the ticket sales.

Buying a ticket is much equivalent to visiting the event, it would unquestionably encourage visiting rate if consumers buy tickets online due to the advantages of online ticket purchase.

Fifth component is People of marketing mix.

There are four groups of people under this component – cast, audience, guest and host. The cast is a group of volunteers and interns recruited under Singapore Biennale Volunteer programme. They are students and adults who undergone professional trainings and with on-site previews and opportunities to interact with the artists and artworks, they are able to provide consumers’ doubt with answers to their best of ability.
I had an encounter with one of its staff at the exhibition hall in City Hall, his forthcoming attitude and detailed explanation clearly displayed his zeal for arts and service. And from the smiles I received upon entering the hall, it is utterly apparent of how passionate the cast is and their efforts to making the experience fun and enriching to all. I felt the ardor for arts in them.

The audience of the event varies from children to adults, locals to foreigners, particularly the art lovers and in fact majority of the society. The event is opened to everyone as I noticed from its pricing strategy. I personally feel that this is brilliant and appropriate as it welcomes people from anywhere and any status. And as it does not consider targeting a niche market, many first-time visitors are given a chance to be exposed to and astounded by the beauty of arts.

The guests are invited international VIPs. The first and second days of event are specially restricted for the invited guests to visit the exhibits and that gave the guests a feeling of being privileged. Event is hosted by the National Arts Council in partnership with Fortune Cookie Projects, directed by Fumio Nanjo.

Sixth component is Physical evidence of marketing mix.

The physical evidence includes layout, furnishing of venue and sound quality.

The layout of the entire exhibiting area stretches around Marina Bay from Central Promontory Site along Marina Boulevard, Esplanade Bridge and to the Singapore Flyer. Distances between each point are considerably short and takes up less than fifteen minutes to arrive at next location. This is an exceptional concept that brings about an extravaganza of wonders of arts as its theme suggests. The layout and routine are meticulously planned so that visitors would not waste much energy or time on traveling around to view the artworks.

The venues and their appearances are selected after much forethought to present its desired outcome as unique appearances of its different approach. South Beach Development could be said to represent the past of Singapore, City Hall the present in transition and Marina Bay at Singapore Flyer the future. The environment of each location is clean and comfortable, there is orderliness of the way the artworks are displayed. Each and every piece of exhibits displayed at each venue tells about the theme it is designated to depict. The d├ęcor and ambience that each exhibiting room owns have further enhanced the arty atmosphere. Therefore, the furnishing of the venues could be said to be very much well done.

As for the sound quality of the exhibition venues, there is definitely an excellent sound system as I could hear from certain exhibits that play music and sounds. The powerful bass and all made me felt the artworks deeper that brought me to gaining a greater insight into the artists’ expression. On top of that, the rooms are actually built sound-proof with no noise that disturbs the others in another exhibiting room.

The physical evidences of the event are terrific with little or almost no room for improvement which is quite unnecessary.

And lastly, the seventh component of marketing mix to be discussed is Process.

Process is the customer involvement in the leisure service. As the visitors are free to move around the exhibition venues to view the artworks, it is said that customer involvement is considerably high to a certain extent. There is customer involvement when they view the exhibits and gain knowledge and information from them. However, there is a lack of programmes and activities to bring the visitors together.

There could be few scheduled timings daily for games regarding the artworks displayed to increase customer involvement. Games such as creating an art piece or Q&A sessions about the exhibits could be introduced to such an event. Prizes could also be used to entice a higher rate of participation.

With such activities to heighten the fun atmosphere in the exhibition venues, there would be better involvement between visitors and the event.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tourism roles and economic value of the event

Festivals and events are part of the local fabric of life. Whether traditional or contemporary, festivals and events reflect popular culture. They depict the local color, local flavor, sights and sounds.

Being an international contemporary visual arts exhibition, it could play a part for tourism to attract people from other countries to Singapore to attend the event, extend their length of stay and increase average spend per visitor. This absolutely contributes a lot to the economy of Singapore as part of the tourist receipts.

It could be an image maker for Singapore, to project it as a cosmopolitan capital and centre of all things ‘hip, chic and trendy’, offering a vast range of lifestyle options for art and culture connoisseurs. With a destination theme and positive image, foreign visitors would certainly return back to Singapore for another visit.

It could also be seen as a catalyst for infrastructure, business and economic development. The infrastructure such as Old City Hall and South Beach Development which are no longer in use are being preserved. It helps to add on to preservation of historic sites which is a positive impact of tourism. And as people come in and out of Singapore for this event, social interaction would have occurred for sure. There could be chances for new business deal to flourish and thus added on to economic development.

Festivals and events with International appeal are worth billions to the local economy.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Conclusion

Singapore Biennale 2008 is a very inspiring arts exhibition that impressed me with its distinctive layout concept as well as interesting artworks on display. It managed to stir something in me, made myself reflect and ponder a little about the development behind the art pieces I saw even long after I left the exhibition. Besides allowing visitors to learn more about the subject of art, it also contributes significantly to the economic and social benefits of the country.

In general, the marketing mix used to contribute to the success of the event is effective to a large extent.

The event quoted a rational sum of cost that visitors have to pay for the ticket which is inclusive of three main exhibition venues and several complimentary spots of artwork displays. To compare the total costs incurred by visitors and the total sum of benefits they received, the price that they paid is actually considered reasonably priced and value for money. This is a logical and an effective way to encourage visitors’ rate.

The types of promotional tool employed such as publishing on magazines, distributing information through the Internet using official website, blog and community network and advertisement on public transport buses are capable of capturing consumer’s attention. These are the cheaper yet useful ways to create awareness as compared to advertising by television and newspapers. Take the Internet for example, it is a very smart way for spreading information as modern people now access the net very often, from everywhere and at anytime.

Also, the location of the area of all exhibition venues is situated at the centre of Singapore. This is an ideal solution to inconvenient venues far at the extreme ends of the land. With such an accessible site to hold the event, it certainly gave consumers a good reason to make a trip down to the event.

And not forgetting the hosts of the event who tactfully organized the entire exhibition layout and all with their pool of professionalism and past experiences who played a major part in achieving success for the event.

To conclude, the marketing mix applied to the event has been effective to a large extent in accomplishing success of the event.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Appendices

Proof of visit

Entrance ticket

Photographs

Relevant research material

http://www.singaporebiennale.org/

http://www.asiatraveltips.com/news08/247-ShowcaseSingapore.shtml

“Festival and Special Event Management” (3rd Ed.), Chapter 7: “Strategic Marketing of Events”

Other supporting document

Guidebook