Strategic Marketing Report - Virgin Trains

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Daniel Rose

Unit 3

Strategic Marketing Report

Virgin Trains

Table of Contents

Terms of Reference        

1        Methodology        

 The Importance of Marketing        

3        Introduction to Virgin Trains        

3.1        The Train        

3.2        Virgin Trains        

3.3        Situation Analysis        

4        Market Research Plan        

5        Market Research        

5.1        Secondary Research        

5.1.1        Business Mission        

5.2        The Charter        

5.3        Questionnaire        

6        Internal Analysis        

6.1        Marketing Objective        

6.2        Product life cycle        

6.3        Financial Capabilities        

6.4        Technical Competence        

6.5        Personnel        

6.6        Customer Relationships        

6.7        Competition        

7        External Analysis        

7.1        SLEPT Analysis        

8        SWOT Analysis        

9        Formulating a Market Strategy        

Ansoff’s Matrix        

9.2        Porters Competitive forces and generic strategies        

9.3        Boston Matrix        

10        Assembling the Marketing Mix        

10.1        Product        

10.2        Price        

10.2.1        Internal        

10.2.2        External        

10.3        Place        

10.4        Promotion        

11        Contingency Planning        

12        Conclusion        

13        Power Point Presentation Slide Print Out        

14        Questionnaire        Back

15        Leaflet of Secondary Research and Primary Results        Back

Terms of Reference

To: Mr Earnshaw

From: Daniel James Rose

Subject: Unit 1 Business at work

Date: July 2002

Synopsis: I am a 6th form student studying Double AVCE Business Studies at Holywell High school. For my unit 3 coursework I have to do a Marketing report, I’ve chosen to do the report upon the Virgin Train service.

  1. Methodology

  1. Find out as much as possible about marketing theories and principles from books in the library and the Internet.
  2. Analyse the service Virgin Trains offers.
  3. Carry out secondary research, looking at Virgin Trains and primary field research.
  4. Analyse all the data collected to produce a SWOT & SLEPT analysis.
  5. Look at the different marketing strategies and choose an appropriate on to suite Virgin Trains.
  6. Compile all the Information into a word processed document in a report format
  7. Produce a presentation, for the class, upon the work I’ve done. Using the Power Point software package.

  1.  The Importance of Marketing

Marketing is THE key business function. Marketing is so basic it cannot be considered a separate function. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customers’ point of view

Marketing is described by the ‘British Chartered Institute of Marketing’ (CIM) as;

“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer needs profitably.”

As this states the idea of marketing actually find out what wants to be bought and how many, who, and where it shall be bought and most importantly at what price. Marketing is now very important to organisations because it creates a reassurance that the product has been fully investigated and is almost guaranteed to sell if the marketing techniques are correct. Organisations spend an awful lot of money on marketing and employee a lot of people to do it. All to make sure they have a sellable product. This could also to an extent be the description for business as a whole.

The whole Virgin organisation has a marketed image of value, which attracts a lot of people. Every product and service throughout the company can be labelled as value for money.

Once the Marketers have found what the people want and designed a product to suite then the advertising kicks in. No matter how many people say, “I’m not affected by company adverts” subconsciously EVERYONE is. The power of advertising has been known and used for many years. Increasing the total sales and the over all Profitability of many companies. One of the great people to influence Marketing was Sigmund Freud1856-1939

 "The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water" (S. Freud) 

Sigmund Freud [froid], was an Austrian psychiatrist; founder of psychoanalysis. Born in Moravia, he lived most of his life in Vienna, receiving his medical degree from the Univ. of Vienna in 1881. He started the use of psychology in Marketing, using it to decipher what people ‘really’ want. In 1909 he moved to America, which is where he started to work for the larger companies of America. Only in 1920 was his work used in an English speaking society then in 1925 his work was translated and published in English, it was this that meant that companies could now use this in their Market research results and properly analyse them.

  1. Introduction to Virgin Trains

  1. The Train

        Trains are renowned throughout the world being invented by the British engineer, George Stephenson, started work in a coalmine when he was only seven years old. Almost forty years later, in 1825, he went to see his Locomotive no.1 run on first public railway. Four years later, in 1829, George and his son, Robert built the famous 'Rocket', which was faster than any other engine. Railways were a major 19th Century invention. They enabled people to travel long distances with ease for the first time, and allowed raw materials and goods to be transported cheaply and quickly. Before the under taken by stagecoach, a slow, uncomfortable, and expensive way to travel. Railways span the globe from lesser economically developed countries to those like Europe, within the developed countries trains are mainly thought of as business travel for the modern commuter.  Giving a service to and from the city with ease and in the past reliability.

  1. Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains operates two rail franchises in the consumer market, West Coast Trains and CrossCountry Trains. The West Coast network operates from London Euston to the West Midlands, the NorthWest, North Wales and Scotland. CrossCountry, with Birmingham at its hub, operates services to the SouthWest, the South Coast, and the North of England and Scotland. CrossCountry has some of the longest services in the UK such as 'The Wessex Scot' which travels the 470 miles between Glasgow and Bournemouth, and 'The Cornishman' which connects Dundee and Penzance, more than 700 miles apart.

On the 19 March 2002 a report printed in the Sun shown that Virgin Cross Country Rail was in the worst 5 leagues, with only 54.8% of trains on time.

  1. Situation Analysis

 Trains over the past few years have had a lot of bad publicity. Dealing with the amount of trains that are late to the station was ridiculously high almost 1:2.

Currently Virgin Trains has been hit by the tragedy of the recent rail disasters. Sales are down by 25% since before the incidents and the image of trains is now unsafe and slow where as 40yrs ago they were a preferred method of transport. People now see trains as an unworthy travel. Train industries had seen an increase in the amount of users and the punctuality of them increasing until Rail Track was stopped.

  1. Market Research Plan

I need to develop a short term Marketing information system which is what Virgin Trains would need to set up:

Marketing Intelligence system- This will show all external factors that can, may and will affect the running of the company. This will also monitor the thoughts of the Public which are External and would be involved with the SLEPT which would be repeated many times in the year or just kept up-to-date.

Market Research System- This involves all internal factors of Virgin Trains and places them against the External from the Marketing Intelligence system like a SWOT analysis but this is continuous.

Analytical Marketing System- These will use all the information from the above to discover what, how, when, why, where to do with their service.

I need to answer the basic marketing question. SOS this is because if they require marketing then they obviously need help with a product or it’s new. Virgin needs help.

S-Situation; where is the Company

O-Objective; where does it need to be

S-Strategy; how to get there

I need to collect information (Primary/Secondary/Field/Desk) on all aspects of the Virgin Train Service.



Extras (Canteens, Children’s services etc)

Company details

Market Aspects (Who/Where/How/Why etc)


Using as many reliable secondary desk sources as possible with as many authors to get as wide a view as possible of Virgins Situation.

I plan to produce a questionnaire to discover the needs/wants of customers (Market aspect). To find out company information I will use their website (as a primary desk research) and leaflets, brochures produced by the company, this will also show me costs and extra services and where the service runs (area). Marketing information is available from Business publications for students/Financial times/News/Business Programs.

These are the questions I will think of asking:


Age range

Average use of trains


Their perception of the Services offered

The Questions I would like to ask involve the spending and the buying of the public. I could not ask any questions about their personal data because I’m storing the results and would have to registrar with the Data protection agency. A large company like Virgin would benefit by asking questions like:

How much do you spend on trains per week?

How much do you earn in the average week?

Do you get any government benefits?

I need to get an adequate segment of the public. To do this I need to get as many people to answer the questionnaire. This may not be easy because there may be certain limitations due to part time work and school, e.g. Weekends may be full of Teenagers whereas the weekdays may be full of commuters. I cant be at the station all week to do the Questionnaires because of other commitments. Virgin Trains would need to have a segment and time scale larger than mine. So to combat this I will use some form of telecommunications.

Email would be useful but there is no guarantee of replies and there is a chance of viruses and hackers to manipulate the data. So I shall use the telephone. This should be a lot easier and also a reply is immediate. The phone numbers could be bought but this out of my means virgin however would need to buy a large phone book to have a good enough segmentation of the public. I shall use the phone book since they aren’t organised into and grouping that will effect the results. Randomly picking numbers I shall ask the questions until I have 50 people with fully filled in results.

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  1. Market Research

Market Research can be done by primary, secondary, internal or

External research;

Internal - Is when the data is collected from within the business, from previous records (e.g. sales records)

External - Is when the data is collected from outside the organisation (e.g. Questionnaire.

Primary- when the data is collected by the user for the user (e.g. Questionnaire done by the Market research team)

Secondary- when another party and that data collect the data is then used for another organisation. (E.g. Data from a Market Research company)

  1. Secondary Research


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