Analysis of marketing strategies in Polish ports
The service sector of economy is a field of growing interest to marketing research and in particular such services as provided by seaports. However, these activities have rarely been considered to date. This project consists of three parts. Firstly a review of service marketing approaches, their status and development, the nature of marketing strategies and the marketing mix had to be provided. Also the development of marketing in seaports had to be examined. The focal elements discussed were the elements of the services provided by seaports, and competition between them in the context of Poland Secondly the situation in Eastern Europe and Poland under the communist rule and during the transition had to be provided. This part examined East European economic development, focusing down upon Poland and the consequenceso f the changesi n recent years particularly for the maritime sector and its structure and ownership. Thirdly, an analysis of marketing strategies in the main international ports of Poland were developed, with particular reference to their potential users' point of view, in the context of recent economic and market changes. A conceptual model had been developed to analyse these changing strategies that resulted in a derivation of a multivariate approach (cluster, factor or conjoint analysis) to accommodate the large number and diversity of variables that are required. A structured interview approach, plus mail survey techniques were used to collect the data in direct interviews with the Polish port authorities and the operating companies. More questionnaires were distributed amongst the most important maritime companies. Problems of language, customs and accessibility to individuals and data were overcome, as the researcher is a native Pole wi * th good English and Russian skills and close contacts with port experts at the University of Gdansk. Finally analysis from the data obtained from both personal interviews and mail surveys resulted in the identification of the main, underlying constructs of. the marketing strategies in the ports of Gdansk and Gdynia as perceived by their users. Application of factor analysis indicated the existence of six main factors in"each of the ports. The results were valid and reliable and also supported on a-theoretical basis from the service marketing and port marketing literature. A discussion of the results provides implications for practitioners. The research shows that some of the elements of the marketing mix are less developed than others as seen by customers. It can help marketing managers to alter their strategies and better satisfy customers' desires. Furthermore, implications for theory development, research methodology and scope for future research in transition countries and port industries are discussed.