RFDS Marketing Plan

The purpose of this marketing plan is to describe the conditions, issues and solutions to the future operational prowess of Royal Flying Doctor Services. The plan will highlight the need to continue fund raising operations to supply the resources that are need to continue the services of the RFDS. This plan focuses on the Look Up in the Sky Program, an educational promotional system, that has been implemented in a different area of Australia. This plan attempts to expand this program in the Queensland area and eventually garner the organization more power to raise funds in future years.

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The unique services that Royal Flying Doctor Services provides also demonstrates the need for a unique and powerful marketing plan that can help elaborate and spread knowledge about the business itself. In an effort to create such awareness RFDS created an education program entitled Look Up in the Sky to help promote their services. According to their website this program is ” a comprehensive look at the significant contribution the Royal Flying Doctor Service has made to Australia’s history, its relevance to us as Australians today and is a fun and interactive way to engage and interact with primary school students. The RFDS Education Program was formed with the knowledge that the RFDS needs to build a new base of support if it is to survive generational change.”

The purpose of this marketing plan is to describe how to promote these educational objective for RFDs by explaining the specific details of the industry and how best to present this information within this industry. This plan will include several methods and procedures that can help determine the best avenue of travel to ultimately increase the business productivity of RFDS through the marketing efforts of the Look Up in the Sky program.

Industry Analysis

Market Summary

The RFDS find themselves in a special industry that combines many other qualities of other industries. RFDS provides aeromedical services for Australia. This industry is therefore a combination of the medical service industry and adding certain elements and qualities of the airline industry as well. By providing emergency and primary health care services for those people in remote lands, RFDS has provided this service for nearly 80 years in a series of “swoop and scoop” missions.

The aeromedical industry is a based off a military style of medical evacuation and treatment. The industry requires a certain amount of highly skilled professionals with a sense of adventure and excitement. The logistical requirements to this industry are also demanding, as air vehicle pilots are needed to actually provide the medical service.

Market Features

The development of the RFDS is woven into the fabric of past and contemporary life in outback Australia. No longer is the Service just for the people of the outback; it is becoming involved with the ever-increasing number of tourists visiting Australia’s remote locations. This market’s customers are those that are need of a variety of different medical services including dental health, general practice, child and maternal health, mental health, nursing services and of course emergency services. Aeromedical companies attempt to give comprehensive health care to people who would be otherwise unable to receive it due to geographical restraints.

Macro Environment (PEST)


The political environment is generally strained which has the effect of causing many problems but also many opportunities. The general strife that is occurring within the country contributes in a holistic way.


The economic factors suggests that competition for medical services are becoming more severe. This fact should motivate RFDS to act with swiftness and boldness.


The social structures of modern society has shown a dependence more and more on medical services. The need to introduce youth culture to the benefits of aeromedical efforts are essential to maintain a social order conducive to maintaining a competitive advantage.


The technological landscape is very foggy due to the fact that innovative pieces of technology can severely help or hinder RFDS’ ability to stay competitive. Too much technological development may make these types of service obsolete.

Competitor Analysis

Although RFDS was a pioneer in this industry, the competition has grown substantially and pose new threats as the need for these services increases throughout the country. The following list of competitors all pose to invade on profit margins; Ambulance Service of NSW, Ambulance Victoria, CareFlight Limited, Medical Rescue, NETS, Skymed Aeromedical and several others.

Issues Analysis

The RFDS in Queensland Section is aiming to improve brand awareness by engaging the community in educational efforts. The Look Up in the Sky Program is being considered to be implemented to directly achieve a lift in the brand awareness, increase the proportion of metropolitan-based supporters of RFDS, and lift the community fundraising support.

The RFDS is a philanthropic, non-for profit organization, creating different relationships and different issues than a normal corporate example.

SWOT Analysis


RFDS has the longest tenor in this industry. Community support with $10m in fundraising income. Competent staff, solid brand recognition. Success of LUPTS in other geographical regions.


Supporter base is aging. Economic and political instability. Youth ignorance. Vulnerable to new medical treatments and technology.


Educational opportunities are provided. New generation of supporters. Other community relationships will be built to further network and build.


New competitors. Localized medical developments. Energy crisis. Political crisis. A healthy populace is also a threat because it reduces customer base.


The keys to any marketing objective is to ensure that is aligned with the greater organizational strategy. Youth education in an effort to help create brand awareness has been proven to be effective and economic as a means to gain market share and garner new customers and awareness towards a product or service.

Marketing Objectives (SMART): Increasing Brand Awareness towards Youth


This objective is specific because it specifically targets a certain action directed at a certain demographic population.


This objective is measurable. The desired metric is Achieve a lift in the RFDS unaided brand awareness in the S/E Queensland from 2% currently to 4% by June 2017 (McNair 2013) Increase the proportion of metropolitan-based supporters of RFDS in s/e Queensland from 43% to 55% by June 2017.


These goals are well within the limits of reason and satisfactory achievement.


This objective is realistic and does not seem impossible to achieve.


The objectives have been given a to measure its effectiveness.

Financial Objectives (SMART): Increase Community Fundraising through School Involvement.


This objective is specific because it specifically targets a certain action directed at a certain demographic population.


This objective is measurable. The desired metric is to Lift the community fundraising support by approximately $75k -$100k per annum over the first two years by engaging participating schools in a “fundraising activity” and optimizing public event attendances of the Simulator across s/e Queensland. And, by June 2017 to have provided the LUITS program to approximately 20% of eligible state government, private and independent primary schools in s/e Queensland.


These goals are well within the limits of reason and satisfactory achievement.


This objective is realistic and does not seem impossible to achieve.


The objectives have been given a three-year time span to measure its effectiveness.

Target Market

The target market is the youth who are the future donators to the RFDS. This market is predicted to have further influence on their families and the community in general. The avenue of approach to reach this target is through the schools Look Up in the Sky program.


RFDS is in a workable position that can allow the company to take advantage of their fine history and excellent quality of product and service. The non-profit status of RFDS puts them in a unique position where funding must come from appropriate sources.

Marketing Mix

It is essential that the product that is being placed within the schools is aligned with the greater objectives of the RFDS. Make no mistake, this is an effort to win both the hearts and minds of the future financial supporters of this organization’s mission. The product itself is information and knowledge that can reinforce behaviors that lead to donating to RFDS.

The price of this product is free to the customers as this educational element will be distributed through the schools. This places a heavy emphasis on the funding of this project as the results of this effort may not be realized for two to three years.

The placement of this product is in the school systems that will place educational focus on key learning outcomes in History, Geographic, Citizenship, English, Science and Math, linking it to both Australian and State curriculums.

Promoting this idea must be done first organically by this marketing effort. However it is up to those officials in the schools to assist in promoting this product in agreement with our ideals and objectives.

The customers in this case are those future patients of the RFDS services. This indirect marketing effort looks to secure future funds for future missions by building a new and profitable relationship with the youth culture that can supply this source of funding. Customer costs, convenience and communications are vastly improved when these funds can be safely secured to ensure that the services that the RFDS provides can continue.

To ensure that the Look Up in the Sky is effectively communicated the marketing team must build rapport with those school officials that are critical to this information being distributed to the students. This is the focus of this plan. The main efforts of the marketing department are to promote the recent success of this program in its launch stage. The positive results from these involvements are to be discussed and interjected whenever possible.

Pathways of Successful Action

Research and gather facts pertaining to Queensland region. Intelligence is key to ensuring the marketing plan is directed in the right direction.

Raise awareness through various established channels.

Build rapport with school and community officials.

Focus on education and learning not building business.

Integrate RFDS with youth culture in Queensland.

Learn from mistakes and keep building strong relationships.

Expect resistance, respond with calm and confidence.


Marketing Plan Budget

The following requirements are the targets of this budget: Capital costs — RFDS aircraft simulator, the recruitment of a full-time Community Education Manager and volunteer strategy, the lease of a suitably sized 4WD vehicle and its running costs, insurance, registration, petrol etc., travel and accommodation expenses for visitation that requires an overnight stay due to distance from Brisbane where the simulator will be housed.

Overall program costs in the first , excluding marketing expenses, will be in the vicinity of $350k, which will need to be underwritten by secured corporate and philanthropic contributions for it to proceed. To fund the public launch of the Program and initiate an appropriate engagement and solicitation of the targeted schools and teachers a further marketing allowance of $100k will be provided. This marketing allowance will be amortized over a two-year period 2015-2017, but it is envisaged that expenses will be largely front-ended. (This has been the experience of the RFDS Victorian Section, whose maintenance marketing spend is now around $20k per annum).

To raise funds a procurement strategy that is designed to secure the capital will be launched immediately. The focus of this fundraising drive is to secure the future of RFDS. The time sensitivity issues must be expressed in these efforts. Launching this program will require political savvy and knowhow to ensure that educational system is onboard with this program. The issue of the RFDS simulator when not being used can be administered as needed to help provide exposure and create buzz when and where needed.

Evaluation & Controls

Once the necessary funds are raised to spread the LUTS program to Queensland, the program should be monitored on a weekly basis by those representatives of the marketing and operations teams that are responsible for that specific school location. 6-month evaluations are to be held with all school leaders and committee members to provide benchmark notifications and assist in areas of need. The three-year plan will be further broken down into quarters to assist in evaluation, summary and distribution of additional resources. Each marketing team may be assigned multiple schools and this assignment will be determined once the scope of the program is approved within the Queensland governments.

Contingency Plan

In case of failure within the Queensland area, other regions throughout the country may be identified as supplementary sources to place the LUTS program. If the program itself has lost effectiveness, we may have to promote our product through other non-governmental means. What is most important is that the youth generation is exposed to the RFDS mission and feel compelled to contribute to our mission.


The aforementioned marketing plan provides the basic structure to accelerate the promotion of the RFDS LUPTS program in a means and fashion that is ethical, practical and essential to its survival. The future of this nonprofit organization is not guaranteed and to ensure the future operational capabilities of this group, a continuing effort of awareness is needed to necessitate the fund raising cycle that keeps the organization working at a highly effective level.


Balancing Australia (2014). Royal Flying Doctor Service Queensland Section. Viewed 20 Sep 2014. Retrieved from http://www.balancingaustralia.com.au/royal-flying-doctor-service-qld/

Chapman, S. (2010). Royal Flying Doctor Service, Innovation of a National Icon. Australian Innovation, Dec 2010. Retrieved from http://www.ausinnovation..html

Latimer, C. (2014). Royal Flying Doctors Launch New Safety Program. Ferret, 22 Aug 2014. Retrieved from http://www.ferret.com.au/articles/news/royal-flying-doctors-launch-new-mine-safety-program-n2516944

Royal Flying Doctor Service web page (nd). Viewed 20 Sep 2014. Retrieved from http://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/

Royal Flying Doctor Service (2014). , Winter 2014.

Royal Flying Doctor Service (2014). Queensland Section Year in Review 12/13.

RFDS (nd). Look Up in the Sky. Viewed 20 Sep 2014. Retrieved from http://www.flyingdoctor4education.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=215