The Ekka Research Report

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21.09.2022
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In this report, our aim was to understand whether the Ekka is a competitive event in Australia and analyze its current operations from a marketing and distribution channel perspective. In order to achieve it, we have presented an overview of the Ekka, provided a detailed portfolio analysis, conducted market segmentation analysis, and analyzed the Ekka’s competitiveness. The overview of the Ekka involves the description of its location, visitors, target market statistics, and distribution channels. The portfolio analysis includes the description of the Ekka’s experience, activities, and its purpose. Moreover, we have used such marketing tools as SWOT-analysis and BCG matrix to get the objective and credible results. Market segmentation analysis includes breaking down the target audience into segments. Finally, the competitiveness of the Ekka is defined through the analysis of competitors, the Ekka’s competitive advantage, and SWOT-analysis.

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In this report, we have used a qualitative method, particularly, description and analysis that help to understand the position of the Ekka in the Australian market and its ability to compete with Riverlife, Brisbane Fringe Festival, and Brisbane Festival. Moreover, the qualitative method involves the analysis of academic literature and Internet resources that contribute to building an objective picture of the Ekka’s marketing and competitiveness.

The findings of this research report show that the Ekka is a highly competitive event in Australia due to the diversity of services it suggests for the different segments of the audience, effective marketing, and proper distribution channel perspective. This report also shows that the tourism and hospitality industry is competitive and successful in Australia and such events like the Ekka only reinforces its success and recognition in the global market. However, it is a must for the Ekka to improve its marketing strategies and reach more market segments. In addition, the Ekka as an important part of Australian hospitality industry should catch the attention of foreign tourists by introducing the additional activities and entertainment.

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Introduction

The Ekka is an agricultural show organized by the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland. The first show was conducted in 1876 and had a lot in common with the famous International Exhibition held in Britain (Ekka, 2018). Brisbane is the location of the Ekka that takes place in August and lasts 10 days (Ekka, 2018). The main attractions of the Ekka are equestrian events, agricultural displays, woodchopping competition, animal parades, a Side Show Alley, and fairground rides. Moreover, at this event, visitors can try different food. Hospitality and tourism industry of Australia is favorable for the Ekka because it is friendly for both locals and foreigners. The key success factors of hospitality and tourism of Australia are the access to flexible and multi-skilled workforce, proximity to key markets, and having a loyal customer base. In addition, the tourism and hospitality industry is a driving force of the Australian economy (Queensland Government, 2018). According to statistics, tourism covers 10% of Australia’s exports and is a $100 billion industry (Australian Industry and Skills Committee, 2018).

The Ekka welcomes an average of 400, 000 visitors each year; therefore, the event has 21, 000 entries (Ekka, 2018). The main experiences of the Ekka are Farmer Rob Show, Enchanted Winter Natural Fibres Fashion Parades, and Crackup Sisters and Circus Acrobats. The target market for the Ekka includes families with children, couples, singles, and groups of tourists. According to the demographic segmentation, these are both male and female customers aged between 3 and 70 of the different ethnicities and nations who have middle incomes. According to the geographic segmentation, these are visitors not only from Brisbane but other parts of Australia and New Zealand. The rural residents are more interested in the Ekka rather than urban ones. According to the psychographic segmentation, these are visitors who show interest in farming and agriculture, and those who adore animals. Moreover, the Ekka intends to target those customers who fail to understand how much farmers contribute to them. For children, it is a way of making fun and entertaining. According to behavioral segmentation, these are visitors who are very active, dynamic and adore holidays, festivals, and celebration. The Ekka relies on the direct and indirect distribution channels that are following: Producer–Consumer, Producer – Retailer – Consumer. For example, the Ekka tries to reach the local visitors directly by informing them about this event. When it comes to foreigners, like Chinese tourists, the Ekka relies on retailers and uses social media networks to establish the connection with foreign visitors and persuade them to come and visit Australian Ekka. In most cases, the Ekka is open and honest with its customers as it informs them directly about prices, competitions, and parades.

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Portfolio Analysis

Farmer Rob Show

Farmer Rob Show is a music, cultural, education, and agricultural event that takes place daily during the Ekka. The main purpose of this program is to teach children about life on the farm, how they can grow their food at home, and how to grow seedlings (Ekka Royal Queensland Show, 2016). Moreover, this program helps adults to learn about soil health and test soil and its nutrient levels. The target audience for Farmer Rob Show includes children and adults. Children are aged between 8 and 13 and they are curious and interested in nature. Adult target group can include people aged between 30 and 45 who have pro-environmental position and want to know more about agriculture and farming. According to BCG matrix, Farmer Robert Show belongs to stars as it has a high market share and is in a demand among both adults and children. Moreover, multifunctionality of this show makes it more valuable in terms of customers’ number and profitability.

Enchanted Winter Natural Fibres Fashion Parades

Enchanted Winter Natural Fibres Fashion Parades is a musical and cultural activity that takes place daily during the Ekka. The main aim of this event is to transport the audience to a magic winter wonderland with the help of parades, an enchanted winter theme, and spectacular ice forests (Ekka Royal Queensland Show, 2016). Moreover, visitors have the possibility to get acquainted with the latest trends in the world fashion and meet fashion icons. Enchanted Winter Natural Fibres Fashion Parades intends to reach both children and adults. This event is entertaining for children aged 3-14 because of bright and colorful decorations, and beautifully dressed models. This event is interesting mostly for female adults who are interested in fashion and latest trends in dressing, aged between 30-45 with high incomes. According to BCG matrix, Enchanted Winter Natural Fibres Fashion Parades belong to stars since they are attractive for a wide target audience and increases its popularity through the introduction of new activities each year.

Crackup Sisters and Circus Acrobats

Crackup Sisters and Circus Acrobats is a cultural and relaxation activity that takes place daily during the Ekka. The Energetic Crackup sisters provide visitors with funny tales, brilliant performances, comedies, and slapstick and whip-cracking acrobatic performances (Szetu, 2018). The main objective of this show is to entertain visitors, make them laugh, and feel excited and relaxed. The target audience for Crackup Sisters and Circus Acrobats includes families with children, tourists, and lovers of entertainment and comedy. Thus, the age category includes customers from 4 to 40 years old. According to BCG matrix, Crackup Sisters and Circus Acrobats belong to stars as this show is in a high demand among visitors. Moreover, as it takes place every day during the Ekka, it means that the number of visitors is only increasing. The advantage of this show is that it encourages customers to participate there; therefore, such interaction and collaboration between actors and visitors make this activity even more exciting.

The Ekka considers these key experiences because they are in a high demand among customers and attract them more and more each year. Moreover, these experiences are profitable due to the frequency of conducting, reaching few segments, and fulfillment of different functions from music and cultural to educational and agricultural. In addition, these experiences are main and leading ones because each year they add the additional activities to draw customers’ attention. These experiences are interrelated as the target audience is similar and includes both children and adults. Moreover, the distribution channels are also the same and based on direct and indirect provision of entertainment. The Ekka has also other experiences than Farmer Rob Show, Enchanted Winter Natural Fibres Fashion Parades, and Crackup Sisters and Circus Acrobats (Holiday Holiday, 2017). These are other daily shows, show bags, competitions, agricultural displays, animal parades, fairground rides, a Side Show Alley, and equestrian events.

Market Segmentation Analysis

The main segments of customers for which the Ekka should provide its services and activities include families with children, tourists, farmers and single adults.

Families with Children

Families with children belong to one of the most numerous customers as most experiences suggested by the Ekka are attractive for children and their parents who want to amuse and impress their children. According to the geographic segmentation, in most cases, these are families with children from Brisbane and its neighborhoods as it is difficult for this target group to travel for a long distance with children. According to behavioral segmentation, these are customers who like an active and dynamic lifestyle, adore new feelings and impressions, know how to entertain, and feel comfortable in the crowds of people (Williams, 2018). According to demographic segmentation, these are families with children aged between 5 and 13 of both genders. According to psychographic segmentation, families with children have an active lifestyle and are open for travelling and adventures. Their values are related mostly to self-development, curiosity, and finding something new. The Ekka is successful in reaching families with children as its activities and experiences are suitable and attractive for both children and adults.

Tourists

Tourists also belong to one of the most numerous markets as Australia is an interesting continent for Asian, American, and European visitors, and the Ekka’s experiences and activities only reinforce their desires and enthusiasm to come here (Holiday Holiday 2017). According to geographic segmentation, these can be both Australian and foreign tourists coming from Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. Moreover, these tourists can be of different ethnicities and religions, as the Ekka promotes and tolerates diversity. According to demographic segmentation, these can be both males and females aged between 25 and 38. In most cases, they have middle and high incomes. These tourists are not limited to religion, race, and ethnicity. In addition, these tourists can be both single and married. According to psychographic segmentation, these customers have an active lifestyle, they adore travelling and entertaining. They are adventurists and always look for new challenges and experiences. The main values for them are determinacy, curiosity, bravery, and self-education. This category of the Ekka’s customers is brave, desperate, determinant, easy-going, and confident. According to behavioral segmentation, these customers are constant travellers and searchers and can afford to go in any part of the world. They regard Ekka’s experiences as the ways of enrichment, inspiring, relaxation, and education. Finally, this category of customers is very sociable, open and feels comfortable in crowds. The Ekka is successful in reaching tourists because it can provide them with those experience, feelings, and emotions what they need. Not without a reason, they want to come back to Brisbane again and again.

Farmers and Single Adults

Farmers and single adults include those who are interested in farming and agriculture; therefore, these areas of interest encourage them to come to the Ekka. According to geographic segmentation, these are mostly visitors from Australia who come here to share their experience or reveal something new (Meriton Suites, 2015). However, this can be also foreign farmers who can afford to come in Australia to get acquainted with something related to farming and agriculture. According to demographic segmentation, these are customers aged between 35 and 50 of both genders. They are not limited by race, ethnicity or religion. However, in most cases, these are visitors with high incomes as their main objective is not entertainment but education. According to psychographic segmentation, these are customers whose lifestyle is related to such areas like farming and agriculture. They can be both amateurs and professionals in these branches. Their values are commitment to the nature, self-development, education, and experimentation. In most cases, they are explorers, researchers, and experimenters, and the Ekka can be their source of inspiration and finding new projects and ideas. According to behavioral segmentation, these are customers for whom agriculture and farming are both science and art. The Ekka is successful in reaching this market because it is a multifunctional show that combines both education and entertainment (Armstrong, 2017). However, it does not mean that the Ekka is limited only by these three major markets; it always introduces new activities and experiences that can be interesting for other segments of customers.

The Ekka’s Competitiveness

The Ekka performs very well and is characterized by the competitive advantage, high profitability, and financial dynamics. The Ekka has brought $2, 9 billion to Australia as one of the largest urban regeneration and mixed-use project (RNA, 2016). The competitive advantage of the Ekka is that it is not profit association, but it has already gained its iconic and brand name with the help of diversification strategy and proper segmentation of the target market. In addition, the noble mission of the Ekka that is to champion and celebrate the role of agriculture makes this event particular, distinctive from other shows and festivals, and is regarded as the event associated with Australia.

SWOT-Analysis

Strengths

1. Iconic brand image

2. High profits and market share

3. A large customer base

4. Competitive advantage

5. Multifunctionality

6. The variety of services suggested to customers (RNA, 2016).

Weaknesses

1. The concentration of many people in one area.

2. Pollution of the area with garbage and rubbish.

3. A limited budget

4. Dependence on sponsors

Opportunities

1. Introduction of additional services

2. Reaching new segments of customers

3. Development of more innovative marketing strategy (Collins, 2018)

Threats

1. Intense competition

2. The decline of brand image

3. The lack of customers’ interest to agriculture

The Ekka’s strengths show that this event has rooted in Australian environment as an iconic cultural, agricultural, and entertainment event that has a strong brand image that attracts both local and foreign visitors. High profits and market share of the Ekka prove that it can also contribute to the Australian economy (Queensland Government, 2018). In addition, the Ekka’s advantages show that this event cares about its customers, and variety of services confirms its individual approach.

The Ekka’s weaknesses prove that the status of this event as a non-profit association requires the constant search of support and sponsorship as it has a limited budget for further development and growth. Moreover, these weak points provoke the need in the establishment of continuous relationships with sponsors and partners to provide a reliable preparation for such large event.

The Ekka’s opportunities underline that the Ekka has many areas for moving forward. For example, the introduction of additional services can be done according to visitors’ tastes and preferences. Moreover, the Ekka can reach such a new segment like businessmen who are successful farmers and should be also involved in this event.

The Ekka’s threats prove that it should be unique and particular and not imitate rivals’ strategies. The concentration of many people is a driving force of the pollution; therefore, it is a must for the Ekka to do its best to encourage its visitors to the pro-environmental position and cleanliness.

The Ekka has many competitors who can attract customers with other ideas, projects, and experiences. For example, the competitive advantage of a Brisbane Festival is that it focuses attention on art that is attractive for a wider target audience compared to the Ekka. The competitive advantage of Brisbane Fringe Festival is that it presents the similar experiences like the Ekka; therefore, it is a direct competitor of the Ekka (Brisbane Fringe Festival, 2018). In addition, it reaches the most numerous target audiences, youth who prefer entertainment and relaxation rather than education. However, the competitive advantage of the Ekka compared to its competitors is that it has both educational and entertainment purpose (Passmore, 2016). In addition, the Ekka promotes and develops the image of agriculture and farming in the society that is a positive tendency for the Australian market. Finally, the Ekka has many experiences to provide its customers with and it conducts them daily when the event takes place; therefore, they remain in customers’ memories for a long time.

Recommendations

Despite the Ekka is a successful, profitable and iconic event, it is recommended to implement the following changes. First, the Ekka should target a new market as it is a driving force of finding new customers and development of new services. Thus, it is recommended for the Ekka to reach businessmen as a separate segment of customers. Targeting them will increase the number of visitors, add more serious character to this event, and suggest the probability of the emergence of new sponsors (Weinstein, 2013). For example, the Ekka could organize meetings and conferences for businessmen who can share their experience and secrets of success with other visitors. The Ekka should not limit itself to tourists and families with children. However, to reach businessmen, this event should improve its marketing strategy and pay more attention to the advertisement with the help of social media and Internet.

Second, the Ekka should develop new experiences that will be related to a new target segment. For example, they could organize business meetings and conferences of educational, informational, and motivational character that would inspire young people to get more interested in farming and agriculture as the areas for the future development and growth. At these business conferences, reputable agronomists and farmers could tell why agriculture and farming are important areas and why they should be developed. The Ekka could also suggest more master classes for young people where they could try themselves as farmers and agronomists. In addition, the Ekka should suggest more creative approach to its experiences and add more art like music, dancing, and painting as the ways of expressing nature, flora, and fauna. Finally, the Ekka should promote its new experiences with the help of online advertisement and social media and demonstrate the focus on innovation and technological advances.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Ekka is a competitive event in Australia and its current operations, marketing and distribution channel perspective prove that it is characterized by the competitive advantage, an iconic brand image, and both local and global recognition. However, it should reach a new segment like businessmen and introduce new experiences like business meetings and conferences.

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