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Seaport marketing: a census of Australian seaports

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Cahoon, SC (2004) Seaport marketing: a census of Australian seaports. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

In recent times, the Australian seaport sector has witnessed a transformation in
ownership, management, and operations as a result of government reform and
developments in the broader maritime industry. This has created a hypercompetitive
environment, typical of the New Economy, in which seaports must now manage.
Seaports are facing an erosion of their once monopolistic positions and declining levels
of captive trade as hinterlands continue to blur forcing seaports to compete for trade. A
growing number of researchers have recommended the development of marketing
strategies as a means to offset the challenges created by a hypercompetitive
environment. However, a review of the extant literature on seaport marketing indicates
a paucity of conceptual and empirical research especially in the area of in-depth
research focusing on the extent of marketing being conducted by seaport management.
As the seaport sector in Australia represents a prIme example of the challenging
environment of the New Economy, the objective of this thesis is to investigate which
marketing activities and strategies may be appropriate for these seaports. This is
addressed by (i) examining the marketing activities and strategies currently being
practised by Australian seaports; (ii), assessing whether they are based on services
marketing principles; and (iii) determining whether the current seaport marketing
activities and strategies are relevant for successfully marketing Australian seaports.
To establish the extent of marketing within Australian seaports, a census of all 54
commercial seaports was conducted via in-depth telephone interviews with the 30
senior seaport managers responsible for marketing those seaports. The telephone
interviews consisted of 184 quantitative and qualitative items covering ten specific
marketing dimensions (market research and segmentation, seaport product, logistics,
v
seaport pricing, marketing communication, seaport servicescape, seaport employees and
customers, service processes, customer relationship management, and customer
satisfaction), as well as the competitive environment, marketing strategy, demographics,
and a peer assessment section focusing on the marketing efforts of other Australian
seaports.
An analysis of the census data reveals a diverse range of seaports operating In a
competitive environment, and which, although similar in the range of marketing efforts
undertaken, vary considerably in their depth and strategic focus. It was found that over
the past five years in particular, more seaports are relying on services marketing based
activities as a means of attracting additional trade and retaining current customers. In
addition, a greater emphasis is being placed on being customer-focused, which is
recognised as being a necessary precondition for seaport success. It was also found that
the primary marketing activities relevant to all seaports are promotion, community
consultation, trade development, and customer relationship management. The major
challenge however, is in managing them in an integrated manner with other services
marketing based activities to provide a strategic approach for seaport marketing. It is
suggested that strategic tools such as the expanded marketing mix are relevant as a
foundation on which to develop marketing for seaports. Importantly, the use of the
expanded marketing mix will assist seaport managers consider the marketing
imperatives of each element, whereas currently, many are considered primarily from
either a physical product or operational paradigm. It is further suggested that regardless
of seaport size, marketing has become a necessary seaport management function that
presents many opportunities for both trade and financial growth.
v
seaport pricing, marketing communication, seaport servicescape, seaport employees and
customers, service processes, customer relationship management, and customer
satisfaction), as well as the competitive environment, marketing strategy, demographics,
and a peer assessment section focusing on the marketing efforts of other Australian
seaports.
An analysis of the census data reveals a diverse range of seaports operating In a
competitive environment, and which, although similar in the range of marketing efforts
undertaken, vary considerably in their depth and strategic focus. It was found that over
the past five years in particular, more seaports are relying on services marketing based
activities as a means of attracting additional trade and retaining current customers. In
addition, a greater emphasis is being placed on being customer-focused, which is
recognised as being a necessary precondition for seaport success. It was also found that
the primary marketing activities relevant to all seaports are promotion, community
consultation, trade development, and customer relationship management. The major
challenge however, is in managing them in an integrated manner with other services
marketing based activities to provide a strategic approach for seaport marketing. It is
suggested that strategic tools such as the expanded marketing mix are relevant as a
foundation on which to develop marketing for seaports. Importantly, the use of the
expanded marketing mix will assist seaport managers consider the marketing
imperatives of each element, whereas currently, many are considered primarily from
either a physical product or operational paradigm. It is further suggested that regardless
of seaport size, marketing has become a necessary seaport management function that
presents many opportunities for both trade and financial growth.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
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Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2013 03:14
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 01:18
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