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ConfidentialFor Internal Use OnlyTEAM - Marketing Plan (Sample)MKTG 649, Fall 2009Prepared for: Professor Mahmood HussainPrepared By: Your NameYour NameYour NameYour NameYour Name1Team

ConfidentialFor Internal Use OnlyTeam 8Executive SummarySix Flags has had great success over a number of years through providing a one-stopentertainment destination complete with thrilling roller coaster rides and an exciting atmosphere.In recent years, however, Six Flags has been struggling and is now in dire need of a boost to helpregain its success in the Theme park industry.We focused our secondary research on past and current articles on Six Flags as well as thetheme park industry as a whole. Databases and websites were utilized in gathering thisinformation. In addition, we delved into previously conducted research regarding the theme parkindustry and Six Flags. This further allowed us to gather exactly how Six Flags arrived at itssuccess, and ultimately to its failure over the past few years. This is information that could havebeen obtained through interviewing Six Flags employees; however, we chose to proceed with themore efficient choice of secondary research.The biggest issue Six Flags faces is its huge debt of over 2 billion dollars. The firm is on theverge of bankruptcy and has been pulled from the NYSE due to their shares falling below the 1requirement. The firm needs to pay 300 million dollars to preferred stockholders, and lacks thecapital to do so.Another key issue they face is their narrow target market. Six Flags has decreased their focusdown to the youth, or teen market with less emphasis placed on appealing to families. Thisrepresents a huge loss of potential customers for Six Flags. Furthermore, there is a demand forthrill rides and rollercoaster’s that Six Flags can continue to benefit from. In order to meet both ofthese issues head on, Six Flags must not only expand their demographic target, but also theirproduct offerings. Revenue must be generated as quickly as possible through increased traffic tothe parks and product diversification.The marketing objectives we aim to address, execute and accomplish are to increase revenuethrough diversification and pricing methodologies, and to increase the target market to includefamilies, teens, and young adults. Increased guest spending is a major component of what targetmarkets we are trying to reach. We want to move away from the teen market, which does notspend much if any money in the park beyond admission. The two new target markets Six Flags isgoing to cater to are families and 21 young adults.Six Flags will differentiate itself by providing both of these sources of entertainment in onelocation. We want Six Flags to be a place like no other in the country. In order for Six Flags tostay competitive, we need to diversify our means of revenue. That will be done with theintroduction to two new ventures, Motion Simulators and Boulevard Six. Six Flags’ current pricingstrategy for their online daily tickets is proving to be successful in terms of attracting more visitorattendance. Extended hours for special events can also deliver an extra added value to 21 andover patrons who are willing to pay a 25 percent increase on top of regular one-day admission.Being open until 12 midnight for such events would grant exclusivity to a smaller crowd with lessfalling in line. Another feature would be to have hard liquor and beer priced at a premium tofurther maximize profits.The first sales promotion will be a yearly engagement, every Fourth of July where all guests get infor free. We will call this promotion “FREEdom Day”. Another frequent promotion will be calledFun in the Sun. We anticipate an increase in Six Flags performance through the execution of ourMarketing Plan.2

ConfidentialFor Internal Use OnlyTeamTable of ContentsIntroduction .1Research Methodology .1Situation AnalysisSWOT Analysis .2Competitor Analysis .3Customer Analysis .4Company Analysis .4Marketing Problems and Opportunities 5Managerial RecommendationsMarket FocusMarketing Objectives .8Target Market .8Differentiation .8Positioning 9Marketing ProgramsProduct Strategy .9Pricing Strategy .10Promotion Strategy .10Distribution Strategy .11Implementation and ControlFinancial Data .11Financial Projection 11Financial Control .12Conclusion .12Appendix .143

ConfidentialFor Internal Use OnlyTeamIntroductionSix Flags has had great success over a number of years through providing a one-stopentertainment destination complete with thrilling roller coaster rides and an exciting atmosphere.In recent years, however, Six Flags has been struggling and is now in dire need of a boost to helpregain its success in the Theme park industry.The amusement park industry offers a variety of attractions to a very large and diverse market.With everything from high-flying roller coasters to cartoon and movie character based offerings,theme parks have created a very successful market that has been on the rise for many years.However, like everything else, companies have seen their good times as well as their bad. Itseems as though Six Flags may be on the decline in an exhausted market.Notwithstanding increased attendance on an annual basis, including the sharp decline of theirteen market, the amusement park industry has been affected greatly by harsh economic times.Six Flags, Inc. specifically has become the epitome of this trying industry. Despite an increasingattendance rate over the years, Six Flags has seemed to dig itself into a hole that it cannot seemto get out of. Their debt-load has handcuffed them to the verge of bankruptcy. Their inability toincrease attendance to the point of improved profitability and debt-reduction has helped lead thiscompany toward potential failure.The significance of an increased attendance rate in 2008, (up to 25.3 million from 24.9 in 2007)yet still reporting a net loss of 207 million for the fourth quarter of 2008 is very big.1 This signifiesthe tremendous amount of trouble Six Flags is currently in as their biggest point of profitability,attendance, has not been enough to dig this company out. This indicates that a drastic change ofdirection is in need for Six Flags, Inc. Although the numbers are bad for Six Flags, a marketinginitiative may help bring this dying company back to life.Research MethodologyDue to lack of resources and low participant count, we have decided to focus our research onsecondary research only. While we do believe it may be beneficial to gather information andsuggestions through primary research, there are many resources available through secondaryresearch that will sufficient.As the theme park industry is large, a vast amount of literature and information is available.Through researching readily available information, we are able to gather both positive andnegative options and research from very credible sources. Although the utilization and executionof primary research is ideal and extremely beneficial, particularly for marketing initiatives, itsoverall implementation is not a simple task. The type of primary research required to make soundmarketing decisions, especially for a depressed company like Six Flags, would need to be on amuch larger scale than we are capable of handling in such a short period of time.We focused our secondary research on past and current articles on Six Flags as well as thetheme park industry as a whole. Databases and websites were utilized in gathering thisinformation. In addition, we delved into previously conducted research regarding the theme parkindustry and Six Flags. This further allowed us to gather exactly how Six Flags arrived at itssuccess, and ultimately to its failure over the past few years. This is information that could havebeen obtained through interviewing Six Flags employees; however, we chose to proceed with themore efficient choice of secondary research.1

ConfidentialFor Internal Use OnlyTeamSituation AnalysisSWOT AnalysisStrengthsSix Flags’ main strength in the present state of the U.S. economy seems to be its “free falling”prices. For instance, everyone who buys a daily ticket online for Six Flags Discovery Kingdom(Vallejo, CA) pays the kids’ price of 29.99. This has directly increased attendance. Next to itsattractive prices is Six Flags’ internationally recognized brand name. The name, along with itswide array of entertainment products and experiences, has built enduring equity for 48 years.To refocus and re-energize its brand, Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro and his marketing andentertainment teams have worked to make the theme park more family-friendly while stillmaintaining its signature reputation for record-breaking thrill rides. The parks are cleaner, there ismore broad-based entertainment, an enforced code of conduct for guests, and better trainedemployees who can deliver more quality service. As a result, key satisfaction scores were at orabove all time highs for the company.Six Flags advocates special causes by holding annual walk-a-thons in the park, joining the fight tohelp cure childrens cancer. They further support the “green movement” by using biodegradablecommercial trash bags throughout the company’s 20 locations in the United States, Mexico, andCanada. Location is another strength of Six Flags. The theme park is located in majormetropolitan areas making it a probable, convenient drive away from home.WeaknessesAlthough Six Flags is now showing an increase in visitor attendance due to advertisementsshowcasing low ticket prices and an increased value offering, its number one weakness seems tobe leveraging their massive debt load of over 2 billion dollars. It must also pay 300 milliondollars to preferred stockholders in which it has no way of paying. The creation of new thrill ridescan cost up to 20 million dollars each while consumer spending remains low. This debt willcontinue to stifle Six Flags’ growth and may lead them to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Sinceadmission is up, the lines for each major attraction will also increase. This may make impatientpatrons waiting in the hot summer sun to go elsewhere for entertainment.Another weakness is the retention rate of teenagers and young adults has continued to lessenbecause they claim “there’s nothing new for us.” Disappointingly, a major weakness that thetheme park is also trying to control is its fatal freak accidents. In June 2008, a 17-year-old wasdecapitated by the Batman roller coaster when he scaled two six-foot fences and entered arestricted area at Six Flags Over Georgia. The year before, a girl’s feet were cut off when a freefall thrill ride malfunctioned at the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. A cable had snapped andwrapped around the 16-year-old’s feet, severing them at her ankles.OpportunitiesSix Flags is limited in opportunities as they have no cash on hand and an overwhelming debtload. However, to attract back the decreasing retention rate of its young adult market which as aresult can leverage the debt, perhaps Six Flags can open a 21 and over nightclub. The club canhave different elaborate themes each night, such as a “Batman” or “Terminator” party. A sportsbar and restaurant can attract a new demographic of sports fanatics. Guest appearances bysports icons in these restaurants can also drive traffic through the park. Ride simulators in malls,introducing new and upcoming thrill rides, may also convince prospects to try the “real thing” at a2

ConfidentialFor Internal Use OnlyTeam 8theme park. Six Flags can also try to sell some of its land that it owns surrounding its parks tohelp lessen their debt. It can even hold more events ranging from special causes to entertainmentand extend its operational hours to the 21 and over crowd so as to increase ticket sales.Joining more strategic alliances internationally such as Dubai Holding to build a Six Flags inDubailand can also prove to be profitable. Most importantly, Six Flags needs to get to the root ofthe problem and come up with a restructuring agreement that will satisfy both its stockholders andthe company. Filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy may inadvertently decrease attendance as visitorsmay perceive that operations, including safety on rides and the cleanliness of the premises couldbe affected (although Six Flags confirms that these will not be affected if they do file). Thus,bankruptcy could ruin Six Flags’ image and limit more of their opportunities to expand.ThreatsThreats mainly include other major theme park competitors such as Disneyland and UniversalStudios and indirect competition with more affordable fun activities such as miniature golfing orwatching a movie. Other threats include the current swine flu that has spread rapidly throughoutseveral states in the U.S. from its origin in Mexico. Some families may think twice before going toa theme park with hundreds or thousands of other persons in which any may be infected with thedeadly virus. Severe weather conditions can even temporarily close down the park. In 2005, itwas necessary for Six Flags New Orleans to close down in preparation for Hurricane Katrina.Katrina’s heavy winds and floods left an estimated 32.5 million worth of damages. The park hassince been closed.Competitor AnalysisThe major competitor of Six Flags Inc. is the Walt Disney Company. In comparison, the DisneyCompany focuses on attracting visitors from across the world to visit its parks while Six Flagstargets its local demographic and does not seek to advertise internationally. Although Disneylandoffers the magical experience that families have grown up to know and love through its flagshipcharacters and movies, S