Monday, November 24, 2008

Marketing Mix - 8Ps

Singapore Biennale turned out to be quite a successful event attracting hundreds of people from all over the world. This could only happen due to the use of proper and effective measures to market this huge event. Now, we will look into the various marketing mix that this event has used and evaluate on how effective it has been.


The very first marketing mix that we will be discussing would be the Product. The “Product” is something that comprises of all the elements that make up the festival or event. Singapore Biennale has maximized the use of this marketing mix to its advantage. For this particular event, the main component of the product would have to be the different art installations that came in the form of paintings, videos, sculptures, so on and so forth. Along with that, there were guided tours provided in three different languages- English, Mandarin and Japanese, to help visitors to get a better understanding of the artworks as well as interact with others as well. For visitors who choose to explore the place on their own, audio guides are available at the exhibition venues to aid in their self-guided tour. The place had appropriate lightings for each and every art installations and there were no decorations because it might interfere and distract the visitors from the art piece which is suppose to be the main focus. Even though some of the rooms may seem to have been decorated, it was part of the art work.

I'm Not Expensive by Lee Yong Deok (Korea)

Swing by Tse Su-Mei (Luxembourg)

The services provided were minimal because the only times that the visitors would come in contact with the staff would be when they are purchasing their tickets. However, there were several staff located at different points of the exhibition to assist visitors if they get lost or are in query. The staffs were friendly and approachable and answered every question with a smile. Uniforms were provided for them, along with a lanyard that helps visitors identify them. Since service is intangible, to help reduce the intangibility, tangible items such as pamphlets and a Singapore Biennale Guide book were given to every visitor. However, when I made my trip down to the exhibition, I was made to share the guidebook with my friend because they ran out of it. In order to maximize the potential of this marketing mix, they should ensure that they made enough copies of the guide book so that each visitor could get hold of one.

Brochure, Ticket pass and Guidebook.

In terms of branding, Singapore Biennale has already positioned and branded itself very well at the past biennale held in 2006 as quoted by the website the “72-day exhibition attracted more than 883,000 visitors from Singapore and travellers from all over the world”. Therefore I feel that this time around, they would not be having problems attracting the same number or even more visitors than the previous biennale. The event has established itself and has created a platform for art enthusiast to come together and share information with others around the world.


Place; which is the second marketing mix has two meanings to it in terms of event marketing – the geographical location and the purchasing points for the tickets to the event. For this event, in terms of location wise, they have located themselves in the central area which is quite convenient as it is an easily accessible location. Also, there was appropriate selection of exhibition venues as each of them were within walking distances. For example, City Hall (Supreme Court) to South beach development was less than a 10 minutes walk. However, some of the smaller scale art installations such as huge, life sized ribbons, could also be found along the walking pavement at the Raffles Hotel bustop opposite Raffles City Shopping centre.

Distribution wise, the tickets to the Singapore Biennale 2008 can only be purchased at two of the ticketing booths situated at City Hall and South Beach Development. To further improve on this marketing mix, the event planners might want to consider selling their tickets online for ease of access and also to attract more tourists to the event because allowing people to book their tickets online gives them a sense of assurance that they will receive a copy of their guide book as well.


The third marketing mix that I will be evaluating on would be “price”. Price is the value that consumers place on the event experience and are prepared to pay for. It is concerned with the time of consumption as well as promotional rates, if any. For Singapore Biennale 2008, their prices for the tickets are not set according to the time of consumption because I believe they predicted that the demand for the tickets will always be on the high.

To attract more visitors to the exhibition, there were promotional prices for certain age group and card holders. A 50% discount is given to students with valid student passes, senior citizens aged 60 and above and children above the age of 3 years old. Passion card holders are entitled to 30% off the usual rates. This pass allows you to gain admission at the two main exhibition venue. However for visiting the Singapore Flyer, a separate charge applies.

Personally, I felt that even without the discounts, the price for the Singapore Biennale 2008 pass was made affordable. It was not expensive, considering the fact that there were various locations to explore and view the art pieces and that the art works were quite amazing. Plus the fact that I enjoyed the student privilege of having 50% off the ticket, made me feel that it was just a small sum to pay for an exhibition of such big scale.


Promotion, which is the next marketing mix, is concerned with how well the organizers of the event does in promoting through various forms of marketing communications. Singapore Biennale 2008 used more of outdoor advertising such as by using posters as their medium. Posters about the event were hung on a few lamp posts along the roads in town area and at the venue itself, there were huge posters that helped to advertise the event as well. In effort to create awareness about this event, they advertised in an online network that acts as a platform to connect and share with the people in your life - Facebook. An account was set up and it contained information about the Singapore Biennale 2008. To gain more publicity, there were five press releases about the event that started as early as 26 June 2008, where the opening ceremony of the Shigeru Ban’s Containart Pavilion held at Central promontory Site was officiated to kick start the exciting exhibition that was about to take place in September.
( was to give everyone a “sneak preview” so that they would know what to anticipate when the exhibition commences.

Another component of the promotional mix would be its sales promotions. In the context of this event, they had a “one-for-one ticket promotion”, where visitors can redeem a complimentary ticket at the Containart Pavilion if they visit the Biennale with their family members or loved ones. Other promotions includes discounted rates for Biennale ticket pass holders when they purchase a ticket to ride on the Singapore Flyer, 30% off the Biennale Ticket Pass for Passion cardholders and a 20% discount for McCafe customers. (
A form of direct marketing that the event adopted was to have a mailing list on their website where visitors to the website can subscribe and be notified regularly of the updates of Biennale. This helped them to inform their target markets of the relevant details of the event. (


The fifth marketing mix is partnership where it involves the stakeholders in producing the event. For Singapore Biennale 2008, the stakeholders includes the National Arts Council who is the organizer of the event, the various committees and also their sponsors. ( IKEA, being one of the preferred sponsors has contributed in the Kids Biennale that was presented by Jet Airways. This was one of the features that made this years’ Biennale different from its previous one. Singapore Tourism Board was also one of the preferred sponsors that helped advertise the event in the Uniquely Singapore's website under the section of "Calender of events"

In partnership with one of Singapore’s luxury retail company – Club 21, limited edition T-shirts were produced in conjunction with this mega event. To commemorate one of Japans’ architect iconic work–Shigeru Ban, a co-collaborator of the Containart Pavillion, a t-shirt featuring a tubular “21” and presented in a special tube packaging were up for sale. Club 21 also sponsored the uniforms for the700 volunteers that were helping out in the Biennale.


One of the key importance for the event to take place are the people involved. This is where the sixth marketing mix which is the “People” mix comes in. This mix includes the host of the event which in this case is the National Arts Council who organized the event and the various venues that made it possible for the event to be carried out. This event could not have been a success if not for the steering committee, the secretariat which comprises of four major committees namely, Programming, Site and Logistics, Marketing and Product Development and Outreach and Education, Artistic Director Fumio Nanjo, Curatorial team, Interns and volunteers as well. Certainly, the visitors also played a huge role in participating in the event. They are the ones who helps generate revenue for the event.

Involved in this mega event were the artists whose artworks were displayed at the Biennale. The artists came from all the world such as Korea, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Italy, just to name a few.

Maggots by Pham, Ngoc Duong ( Vietnam)

Think of one thing by Neudecker, Mariele (Germany)

Operation Supermarket by Moshiri, Farhad & Aliabadi Shirin (Iran)

The interactions between customers, the setting, and the staff/volunteers constitute a large part of the event experience as well. During my visit to the exhibition, the only interactions I had with the service staff was when I purchased the Biennale pass at the ticket booth. The staff just handed us the guidebook and reminded us not to use flash while taking photos. Service encounters that I had was very minimal because visitors were to roam about and explore the various rooms by themselves.


Another marketing mix that was used for this event was “Programming”. Programming within the event is also a marketing decision, especially by the way of creating targeted benefits. It involves the elements and the quality of style of the event. For the Biennale, there were not much activity because it was an art exhibition where visitors are allowed to explore the various rooms where the art installations were located at their own time, own target. There were no specific routes or sequence that they had to follow when viewing the art pieces.

Nonetheless, the event would be boring if it did not have any activities that helped enhance the whole experience for the visitors, therefore several activities were incorporated during the period where the exhibition was held. A vernissage was carried out on 9th September as a preview for the event. It consists of a gala dinner ; for invited guests only and also an opening party which was open to the public. Guided tours were also provided to allow visitors to get a deeper understanding and be further engaged in the art works.

For the kids biennale, there were activities incorporated to enhance the learning experience. One of the activities was a curriculum called "Alice in Wonderland : Education and Outreach" where art skills and concepts are introduced to students from primary 1-6 through the well known story Alice in Wonderland with the help of Little Art Bug Workshop. There were other hands on activities such as on-the-spot art competition, windmill making and balloon sculpting taking place on different days. There are programme itinerary for each of the scheduled sessions and light refreshments were provided for the children.

Kids Biennale

Packaging and Distribution

The last marketing mix that I will be touching on would be the "Packaging and Distribution" mix. Basically, it involves how the product is bundled up with other services or goods that are then sold to the customers, adding more value to the product. Methods of distribution plays a major role because with the help of proper distribution, there will be an increase in awareness of the event as well as increasing its revenue.

For Singapore Biennale, when people purchase a ticket to the exhibition, they are also given a brochure and a guide book. The guide book on its own costs $6 if bought on its own, however it is given to the visitors as part of the package with no additional costs. Guided tours are also provided as part of the package but it is optional and one can choose between a scheduled tour or a self-guided tour with the help of an audio guide.

As part of the promotion with Singapore Flyer, those who purchase this package are also entitled to discounts at the various food and beverage and retail outlelts such as Gelatissimo, Red Dot and Seafood Paradise, just to name a few. The promotion lasts until the end of the exhibition date which is 16 November.

As mentioned above, distribution is crucial and it can help determined the success of the event. Having a wide array of distribution network and being able to establish good relationship with their packaging partners and intermediaries will be beneficial to the event.

Personally, i feel that the channels of distribution for this event was not wide enough. Reason being, the tickets can only be purchased at the ticketing booths at two of the main venue - City Hall and South Beach development. I felt that since an online website was already set up to publicise the event, they could have made full use of it and try selling the tickets online as well. This way , it might reach out to more potential customers due to convenience. They can also try distributing their tickets to places such as Sistic- Singapore's largest ticketing service provider, either via their website or their outlets.


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