JUMP! SWIM SCHOOLS Going along swimmingly but is their market segment too narrow

Image source: Jump! Swim Schools website

Image source: Jump! Swim Schools website

 

Organisation

Jump! Swim Schools provide training in early water skills for babies and infants. Launched in 2010, Jump! now boasts 22 franchise locations with another 6 to be opened shortly consistent with their ambition to open 100 franchised schools including expansion plans in New Zealand (Torpey, 2016).

What Jump! offers

Designed specifically for the early stages of swimming, Jump! markets small classes and a personalised service using purpose-built (and private) facilities. There are 10 different product options categorised by: parent-assisted (maximum of 6); no parent beginner, and no parent stroke development classes (both with a maximum of 4).

Segmentation and targeting

Jump! classifies its market using a number of traditional segmentation variables: demographic using lifecycle elements to identify families with infant children; geographic through consideration of regional locations and Australia’s climate (Iacobucci, 2015). Arguably, Jump! is also appealing to psychographic elements relating to the risk and safety concerns of parents.

Jump! has targeted families of infant children as its market segment, focusing specifically on meeting the needs of customers desiring water training of babies and infants (approximately 3 months to 3 years). Targeted consumers are multifaceted in this exchange because both children and paying adults are the receivers of the product and services provided (both of whom are capable of influencing the other!).

Two key dimensions of segmentation incorporate a top-down managerial approach and a bottom-up customer-based assessment to create an alignment between corporate strengths and customer segments (Iacobucci, 2015; Kotler, Burton, Deans, Brown and Armstrong, 2013) which is being achieved through the franchising business model in the delivery of infrastructure and services to overlooked segments in outer-city regions.

Video source: Youtube – Jump! Swim Schools

Positioning

The concept of positioning leads to differentiation and competitive advantage and speaks to decisions about how to serve your market following segmentation (Kotler et. al, 2013) Jump! focuses on purpose-built facilities and an enhanced personal experience through increased privacy, absence of crowds, and small classes, emphasising quality of training over quantity of children. In reality, the industry body (AUSTSWIM) to which Jump! aligns itself lists a myriad of registered training providers far exceeding those Jump! seeks to directly position itself against (aquatic centres and community pools). How their customers perceive this differentiation is a question of value.

Effectiveness of segmentation, targeting and positioning

Segment size and incorrect assumptions about the competition are two of the limitations of segmentation (Kotler et. al, 2013). As a market segment gets smaller, homogeneity may be achievable but oversegmentation can also result from too small groups to be either profitable or sustainable (Iacobucci, 2015). Niche market segmentation, however, can be profitable.

Profitability is a reflection of the function of market size, anticipated growth and competition, customer behaviour and expectations (Kotler et. al, 2013). The Australian Bureau of Statistics is showing a reduced birth rate. Stats confirm a continuous pool (pun intended) of approximately 300,000 potential customers being born each year which Jump! needs to tap into.

Concerns about sustainability include:

 Competitive comparisons are challenged in terms of scale of services and facilities. The specialist facilities limit expansion – each facility houses one 15mx4m above ground pool, limiting the number of classes available on a daily basis already restricted by small class numbers, and limits expansion of new product offerings as the market changes.

There is an incongruence between its messages and main industry partner Jump! purports to abide by – classes should not begin before 4 months of age.

There is a lack of consistency of information across its own website and a lack of transparency regarding product price, an important dimension of sensitivity.

Growth is focused on franchising the business to markets determined by Jump! at a cost of $145,000 up-front and operating costs year-on-year. Recouping this investment is a reasonable question given the small market segment in which Jump! operates.

Classes by necessity and regulation, for all providers, is small so in reality Jump! is unable to claim differentiation on class size.

Image source: Jump! Swim Schools website

Image source: Jump! Swim Schools website

Gina Courtney (ID 212527208) – Email: g.courtney@qut.edu.au

REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2014. “Statistics – 3301.0 – Births, Australia 2014”. Organisational website. Accessed online 9 April 2016. Weblink: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/3301.0Main%20Features32014?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=3301.0&issue=2014&num=&view=

Austswim. 2016. FAQ’s. Website. Accessed 9 April 2016. Weblink: http://www.austswim.com.au/Parents/FAQs.aspx

Iacobucci, D. 2015. Marketing Management. First Edition. Cengage Learning, Stamford, USA.

Irwin, J. 2015. Debate rages in Darebin about how old babies should be before learning to swim. Leader. Northcote Leader. 11 March. Accessed online 9 April 2016. Weblink: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/north-west/debate-rages-in-darebin-about-how-old-babies-should-be-before-learning-to-swim/news-story/616602d0008c15f8c625a1db745861b0

Jump! Swim Schools. 2016. Organisational website. Accessed online 9 April. Weblink: http://jumpswimschoolsfranchising.com.au/

Kotler, P., Burton, S., Deans, K., Brown, L. and Armstrong, G. 2013. Marketing. Ninth Edition. Pearson Australia. New South Wales, Australia.

Torpey, N. 2016. Riding on a wave of success. The Courier Mail. 28 March. Business section, p. 26. Weblink to article published online 27 March: http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/riding-on-a-wave-of-success/news-story/769c9b5952216decd5988153848a7e8a

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