The plan is the 2012-2013 OPS Dragon Boat Club Integrated Marketing and Communications Plan and reflects actual plans executed during the 2011-2012 dragon boat season.
OPS Dragon Boat Club Integrated Marketing and Communications Plan
Introduce people to dragon boating for fun, health and wellness, and to allow members to meet and work with people from various ministries and backgrounds within the Ontario Public Service (OPS).
Organize teams for people in the sport of dragon boating to provide a fun and affordable experience and exposure to competitions and diversity of events.
Raise awareness of the club and attract paddlers to join the club and register for club programs.
This objective is accomplished through the following goals:
- Collect input from members and potential paddlers on their goals and wants to dragon boat programs and related events.
- Increase awareness of the club, its programs, and events. Provide information showing benefits of dragon boating including health, fun, and friendship.
- Provide information to attract people to register for the club’s programs and events.
The goal is SMART as outlined below:
Specific: Growth in registration and revenues by 5% assuming an additional team is created.
Measurable: Percentage change from 2011
Attainable: New teams were created with the 2012 season, allowing growth in registration and possibly revenues to occur.
Realistic: New teams can be formed given the size of the target audience. A new team of 20 people is small percentage of the possible audience estimated as 40,000 people.
Timely: 2012 calendar year (Dragon Boat season) is the evaluation time period.
The OPS Dragon Boat Club was formed in June 2002 by experienced dragon boat enthusiasts and people with a great spirit for health, team work, and fun. They were people from the Ontario Public Service (OPS) who wanted to introduce other people to dragon boating which is now one of the world’s fastest growing water sports.
Traditionally, the club forms several teams each year catering to beginners and experienced paddlers alike. The club is responsible for constructing the programs, gather funds from paddlers to pay for team expenses, and ensure continued operations of the club.
The club has since grown to include individuals from within and outside the OPS (OPS Dragon Boat Club, 2011).
These are people working for the Ontario Public Service (OPS) and often includes their friends and family. They are motivated by:
- Team building activities
- Health and wellness
- Affordable and accessible sporting activities
- Opportunities to meet other people in the same organization
- Enjoy fun events with their colleagues
People in Toronto
Past survey results indicate many paddlers find that club through the internet and word of mouth from friends. These people usually live in Toronto and occasionally surrounding cities like Scarborough,
Mississauga, Oakville, Richmond Hill, Pickering, etc. and are actively looking the following things in dragon boating:
- Beginner teams
- Join friends they knew previously in the club
- Teams that practiced through the summer season 1 to 2 times a week
These people commonly say the practice times, frequency, and price of the club programs fit the criteria they were looking for or searching online for.
Previous members of the club, friends, and leaders of previous teams usually comprise about 50% or more of team registrations in a given year. They represent the core of the club and its teams and drive performance and consistency in the club’s operations.
Media includes mainstream public media as well as corporate communications editors in the OPS.
Collect feedback > Assess existing communications > Build Awareness > Action on Promotional channels > Create a conversation > Improve Communications
- Collect feedback from club executive, members, OPS staff, and team captains and coaches on how the club can improve and stay in touch or reach new paddlers. Find out how the club can achieve performance, social, and other goals of members
- Assess existing communications from the previous season. Use lessons learned compiled from executive members to develop improvements.
- Build awareness of the OPS Dragon Boat club to OPS staff and people looking in Toronto and surrounding areas for dragon boating .
- Communicate club materials, messages, events, regattas, programs, etc. to the target audiences.
- Provide channels for feedback to the club executive and team captains and coaches. Interact with paddlers to build a relationship lasting across seasons.
- Improve communications from year to year to extend reach, improve relevance, and match expectations of members and potential members.
Here is a selection of messages speaking to the club’s goals, approach, and history of operation (Tung, 2012).
Diversity – “In Toronto, the OPS Dragon Boat Club has 5 teams offering various practice times, competitiveness levels, and locations.”
Popularity of dragon boating – “Dragon boating is one of the fastest growing watersports since it is suitable for anyone.”
Accessibility and Open Nature of the Sport – “Our teams have had people in their 20s to 60s paddling and we welcome beginners and advanced paddlers alike on all teams.”
Team building – “Dragon boating is all about team work. There is no better feeling than when 20 paddlers cross the finish line as one cohesive team.”
Affordability – “All the club’s programs are at cost to ensure the lowest possible price for paddlers. We’ll work with you to arrange payments that are convenient to your schedule.”
For paddlers, by paddlers – “Experienced dragon boaters and enthusiasts are the ones running the club as volunteers and we welcome feedback and contributions from members.”
Tactics by Communications Objective
Utilize communication channels to collect feedback, communicate, build awareness, and promote the club’s programs and its improvement. Timings of tactics are based on a regular club season which usually begins in December with a new executive, goes into the New Year with active team programs in May to September, and a season closing period from October to November.
Objective: Collect Input
||Vehicle & Audience
||Timing & Budget
|Executive (exec) Meetings and Informal conversationsDiscuss club planning and operations. Invite members, team captains, and previous executive members as needed. Much feedback is received simply from conversations people have at practices, regattas, and other club events to be described in other sections.
||Face to faceExecutive members, All club members, people attending events/regattas.
||Year round$0, requires meeting facility
|Registration SurveysAsk paddlers about how they heard about the club, their goals, and their needs for team programs.Surveys are counted as registration to a team and provide information to paddlers about payment, practices, etc.
||Online survey(e.g. Survey Monkey)Paddlers registering for programs
||April – June or longerFree or $125-228 annually for Survey Monkey account
|Annual General Meeting (AGM)Held at the end of the season, the AGM offers a place for: conversation, review of surveys, discussion of important issues and the future of the club, and recognizing people.
||Face to faceAll club members
||End of season$0 if event funded by members or TBD by exec, $20 for recognition materials, $100 for member rewards
|Digital ChannelsContinuous feedback is possible in email, website forms, social media. See section below for details and links to the club website and social media channels.Traditionally email is the primary vehicle for feedback and comments through Facebook in 2012 is growing as a channel to push announcements and a place for conversation between paddlers and sharing media such as pictures and video.
||Online including website, email Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube*, Google+* Note* YouTube and Google+ channels have not been developed yet.Club members, People in Toronto, OPS staff
||Year round~$100.00+ annual website costs. Free for social media. $24.95 annually for Flickr account (optional)
|End of Year surveyThis survey is used evaluate paddler experiences, club programs, communications, and teams. The survey is not scientific, but is the top source of feedback with metrics.It offers discussion points with the exec and members.
||Online survey (e.g. Survey Monkey)All club members
||September to OctoberSurvey Monkey account, costs covered in registration tactic.
Objective: Distribute Information and Increase Awareness
||Timing & Budget
|Email / Word of MouthSurveys consistently place email and word of mouth as the primary channels (greater than %50 versus other channels) of hearing about the club. Email is also the primary means of day to day and announcement based communications to and from members.
||Emails and word of mouth. Emails done via Google Apps)All audiences, especially previous club members
||Year round, specifically during promotion of events or teams.$10-30 for Domain/email hosting
|Web ChannelsOPS Dragon Boat website and social media (OPS Dragon Boat Facebook page, Twitter, and Flickr) are used for the delivery of information that have been promoted via email and face to face communications.Web channels should be used with email, events, and physical media (e.g. posters) which will drive people to visit the websites.A digital communications plan can developed for an early season awareness campaign including blog articles, exec minutes and decisions, engaging photos, videos, email newsletters, annual chair’s/presidents message, seasonal (holiday, spring) messages, annual reports, and creative graphics. Later posts can contain program promotions (e.g. discounts) based on existing team registrations
||Online including website, email Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube*, Google+*, OPS Intranets and articlesPeople in Toronto (especially people searching on dragon boating), All audiences (especially younger people for social media)
||Year round~$100.00+ annual website costsFree for social media. $24.95 annually for Flickr account (optional)
|Dragon Boat Information SessionsHistorically the club as participated in a variety of information sessions held for other organizations like a Ministry division, a school, or sports showcase.These events provide an opportunity to promote the sport and the club’s teams.
||Face to face eventOPS staff usually, Toronto community
||Ideally early in season April to June$0, 5-10hours of preparation time for presenters
Objective: Attract Registration to Programs and Events
All tactics in the “Distribute Information and Increase Awareness” objective can be reused to also obtain registrations for programs (dragon boat teams) and events.
Tactics in this section are more specific as they describe communications and marketing essential to the success of teams and programs by obtaining registrations.
||Vehicle & Audience
||Timing & Budget
|Email / Word of Mouth Early Season CampaignEmail, talking to, and phoning previous paddlers is a primary channel to encourage people to register for teams in the club. Emails usually include official information from the club exec on teams with registration links, waivers, and other information for paddlers.
||Email (can use Mail Chimp or manual) and phone callsPrevious club members
||Early to mid season March – June$10-30 for Domain/email hosting
|Club ShowcaseA whole or half day event centering on an informational presentation at lunch time in a public OPS space. Common agenda items are a raffle for a free membership, guest coaches/speakers, description of dragon boating and the club’s teams, and introductions of people involved in the club.
||Face to face, usually conducted in OPS provided spaceAll OPS staff, usually located in downtown Toronto near or at 900 Bay Street.
||March or before teams begin$0, promotional materials costs are covered under other channels
|Digital AdvertisingFacebook – Promote likes on the OPS Dragon Boat page, increasing reach of Facebook announcements and promoting conversation. Google AdWords (includes ads for Search, YouTube/Video, and Display Network with websites across the internet) – Keyword based advertising based on member survey data (e.g. dragon boat, Toronto, ashbridge’s bay, paddle)
||Online ads on Facebook, Google, and others if desiredPeople in Toronto and surrounding cities interested in dragon boating or similar sporting experience.
||March to May, Early Season$0 or TBD by exec., recommend $50 to $100 available from Google for new accounts for free.
|Press Releases & Media KitOpportunities for issuing announcements include the following: OPS Dragon Boat Club Showcase – issue release during early March, major OPS regattas (i.e. the Dominion Day Regatta) – issue release in June.Significant changes to teams or creation of new teams.Releases can be traditional or social media ones with videos of regattas, pictures of teams and races, graphics (logos, posters), and the club’s social media channels.The club frequently partners with OPS staff in certain teams to issue releases for OPS internal digital communications (e.g. EANG, ministry teams).
||Email, website, optionally newswireMedia, Internal OPS communications staff operating news intranets like Topical and Ministry intranets, Operators of funontario.ca and dragon boat news sites
||Early to mid season, See description$0
|Promotional Materials, Signage, and other Physical MediaThese materials complement face to face conversations and events and can include awards, medals, pictures, posters, brochures, banners, t-shirts, dragon boat equipment, lanyards, etc.Posters, brochures, and digital presentations (PowerPoint, PDF) have been the most popular forms of promotional communications. At the AGM, the exec usually presents recognition awards to outstanding padders, captains, and volunteers.Advantage of having signage is the opportunity to reuse it at events and regattas to aid in visibility of the club and help paddlers identify club branding and information.
||Physical media (see description), digital mediaAudiencePeople in Toronto and OPS staff in areas like offices, sports centers, gyms, dragon boat sites, learning events
||Year round, though mainly early to mid season$30-$50 or more depending on physical media to be printed.
|Web ChannelsOPS Dragon Boat website needs to update audiences on these items as they change:
- Teams and details like captains, members, practices, regattas, training camps
- General information: about the club, executive, payments, practice sites, waivers,
- News: new teams, changes
- Social mediaUsed to push out messages and news on teams and events.
|Online including website, email Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube*, Google+*, OPS Intranets and articlesPeople in Toronto (especially people searching on dragon boating), All audiences (especially younger people for social media)
||Year round~$100.00+ annual website costs. Estimate around 85+ hours need for website maintenance in year. Free for social media. $24.95 annually for Flickr account (optional)
|Sponsorship and FundraisingSponsorship and fundraising help manage costs and can be applied to the club, events, teams, or paddlers. Sponsorship can be in the form of a team or regatta/event. Fundraising has traditionally been done through selling tickets to a club organized event and selling small items towards keeping costs low for paddlers.
||Online, Face to Face, Website pages, eventsAll club members, friends/family of members
||Year roundResult in money ($) collected by the club related to communications activities.
- Awareness based on communication channel – surveys of members – “How did you hear about the club?”
- Awareness and effectiveness of material measured using methodology below.
- Follows in social media and and correspondence generated by promotional events.
- Registration and End of Year Surveys
- Email campaign tracking (requires free tools like Mail Chimp)
- Web analytics on engagement (requires free tools like Google Analytics on website):
- Time spent on information
- Bounce Rate
- Information accessed and their metrics
- Unique visitors, Referral sources
- Growth of key metric,
- Conversion goals (e.g. registration page clicks, payments).
Communications Report from 2012
Web We Built
|*Every* website page has been improved
||Amounts to 85+ hours just for web content development, not including many hours spent reviewing and improving pages after initial publication.
|Correspondence & Events regularly done with target audiences.
|We’ve published articles promoting dragon boating and monitor websites and hold events which include the dragon boat showcase and panel events for an OPS audiences and reach out to the dragon boat community for joint events and races.
|We use multiple media channels to maximize our reach and level of interaction
||This practice is core to strategic communications and best demonstrated by the Ontario Government and Dragon Boat Canada. Every communication channel including the website, email, OPS intranets, events, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is important to the organization and takes time to develop.
Achievements for 2012 season compared to 2011
- 20% growth in registrations (counted from team registrations) and member base.
- 6% growth in revenues based on preliminary calculations from 3rd quarter figures. Note the club is run as a cost recovery organization, so growth in revenues reflects a growth in sales and possibly operating expenses over time.
- 47.3% of team registrations are from people that hear about the club from web channels (website, social media, intranets) which do not include email.
- 20% increase in website visits from 1900 to 2300 in the last half of the 2012 season.
- 70% growth in followers on both Facebook and Twitter from the beginning of the 2012 season to end of 2012 season.
- 9,400+ people can engage with the club in the club’s Facebook posts.
- 80 people looked at event photos for Canada Day 2012 on Flickr – almost 50% of the people at the event itself.
Center, A. H., Jackson, P., Smith, S., & Stansberry, F. (2008). Public Relations Practicies. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education.
OPS Dragon Boat Club. (2011). About Us. Retrieved September 6, 2012, from OPS Dragon Boat Club: http://opsdragonboat.homestead.com/2011/2011AboutUs.html
Tung, J. (2012, March 19). OPS Dragon Boaters to Showcase 2012 Programs. Retrieved 07 03, 2012, from OPS Dragon Boat: http://opsdragonboat.homestead.com/2012/2012-OPS-Dragon-Boat-Showcase.html
Wilcox, D. L., & Cameron, G. T. (2012). Public Relations Strategies and Tactics (10th ed.). Toronto: Pearson Education, Inc.
About this Plan
The plan was written by the OPS Dragon Boat Club communications coordinator Justin Tung in 2012. The plan aims to make future communications for the organization easier by planning common goals/messages, ways to communicate, budgets, schedules, and recording how the club has operated in the past.
It incorporates lessons learned by the club from event planning, writing press releases, website development and operations, social media community management, and good practices in PR, marketing, and communications.