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Ocrc comprehensive research report


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Ocrc comprehensive research report

  2. 2. TABLE  OF  CONTENTS  Executive Summary 3Project 1: Secondary Research 6 Situation Analysis 7 Industry Analysis 9 Company Analysis 7 Product/Brand Analysis 13 Competitive Analysis 15 Consumer Analysis 18 Macro-Environmental Analysis 20 SWOT 23 Research Problem Statements 27Project 2: Qualitative Research 29 Introduction 30 Research Objectives and Methods 31 Findings 34Project 3: Quantitative Research 40 Introduction 41 Research Objectives and Methods 41 Concepts of Interest 44 Findings 45Research Conclusions 47 Opportunity Recommendation for the IMC Campaign Development 51 IMC Campaign Objective 52 IMC Campaign Strategies 53Appendices 55 2  
  3. 3. EXECUTIVE  SUMMARY  Research of the current integrated marketing campaign is focused upon the Missouri-based HolyArchangels Orthodox Christian Retreat Center. Though a tax exempt nonprofit religiouscorporation, Holy Archangels OCRC has been designed from inception to become a profitableenterprise offering the potential of a wide variety of programs to serve diverse demographicsegments in Midwest America. A key component in the design of the retreat center is to achievemarket superiority through a commitment to excellence of service. Holy Archangels is dedicatedto setting standards in the industry against which other organizations will be forced to measurethemselves.While the primary target market will remain Orthodox Christian parishes and individuals, thescope of operation will be adaptable to youth groups, recovery support groups, civic groups,corporations and academic institutions. Among these diverse groups, a number of issues must beexplored prior to program development. These issues would include any potential barriers posedby the religious nature of the organization, obstacles posed by the remote location of the facilityand discovery of any preconceived concepts and norms held by the general public regarding thenature of activities and atmosphere of a retreat center.The current research project concentrates upon a single potential market segment holding nospecific affiliation with Orthodox Christian expression. In order to design retreat programs toserve college and university students between the ages of 18 and 24, it is necessary to study andascertain positive and negative reactions to all aspects exhibited by the retreat center throughstaff, program offerings, environmental setting, religious expression and misconception.Initial research began with a situation analysis to identify direct and indirect competition, toascertain the image projected by competitive entities and to understand the public perception and 3  
  4. 4. expectation of the characteristics of an ideal retreat center operation. Information was gathered ofexisting Orthodox Christian retreat centers, followed by a general study of related retreat centerssponsored by Roman Catholic and Protestant church bodies. A series of telephone interviewsdiscovered internal perspectives of operation, target audiences and activities and services offeredby competitive organizations. Consideration extended to the choices and indirect forms ofcompetition individuals have available when deciding upon activities apart from normaleveryday family and professional life.Based upon an understanding of general industry operations, positioning tendencies, marketpreferences and scope of appeal, a SWOT analysis was described in terms of internal andexternal problems and opportunities of Holy Archangels OCRC. These initial steps permitted anarrow focus upon potential problems to be addressed and the development of a series ofresearch questions upon which to base further research.Qualitative research was conducted in the form of a focus group session to gain insight into pastexperience and personal preference of university students during retreat events, particularly withrespect to environment, accommodations, activities and services offered, perspectives of staffand a religious or faith-based foundation of the hosting organization. The participant sample wasnot random but voluntary, soliciting friends and acquaintances among Drury University studentsby email and text messaging. The focus group included 11 students, was led my one moderatorand one observer and lasted 45 minutes. Analysis of the data focused upon eight specific themesdeveloped from categories of student responses.Quantitative research was conducted through an on-line survey, implementing question setsmodified from the focus group questionnaire to explore perspectives and preferences closelyrelated to the qualitative component of the research project. Respondent samples were also 4  
  5. 5. drawn voluntarily with a greater margin for random participation through email and social mediarequests. Analysis focused upon key aspects of themes identified through the qualitative segmentof study.Overall, the research indicated that university students are not negatively affected duringconsideration of a retreat event hosted by a religious organization. Activities conducted during aretreat event should be varied and well organized. Outdoor activities should include sportingevents, hiking, water sports and opportunities such as evening bonfires to promote personalinteraction among retreat participants. Event schedules should allow for free time, encouragingmoments of personal solitude and informal unplanned activities among retreat participants. Asemi-wilderness forested environment with the potential for rustic accommodations is anexpectation among all respondents and preferred by a majority of respondents.At an early stage of development, Holy Archangels is well-positioned to tailor retreat events to atarget audience composed of typical American university students. The center’s dedication toproviding for the personal safety and the preservation of the free will of any guest lends well tothe inclinations and preferences voiced by students during the qualitative and quantitativeresearch studies. Further research is recommended at universities throughout the Midwest, aswell as from the East and West Coasts to include regional differences. Additionally, furtherresearch is advised among students at Orthodox Christian, Roman Catholic and Protestantseminaries to determine any differing sets of perspectives among similar age groups, but withalternate perspectives on the nature of retreat centers, events and activities. 5  
  7. 7. SITUATION  ANALYSIS  Industry AnalysisOverview of the industryRetreat programs exist in many varieties across America. The primary purpose is to provide anopportunity for active individuals to disengage from normal, everyday life for a short period oftime for self-reflection, self-improvement, health improvement and redefinition of career pathsand objectives. Retreat environments span the imagination, including spiritually oriented retreatsin monasteries or convents, wilderness retreats in desert or remote locations, and urban programswhich remain close to society but isolated in the opportunity for interaction.Size of the market in generalA retreat center located in the Missouri Ozarks has access to two regional airports in Springfieldand Branson. Flight times from Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas to either of these regional airports isapproximately 1 hour. Driving times from Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas range from 7-9 hour. Themaximum potential market of the inclusive population region exceeds 50 million individuals.With only a 0.5% population interest, a potential market audience of 250,000 exists within travelzones reasonably accessible to most Americans.Growth trendsSpiritual retreats in monastery or convent settings have been in general decline since the 1980’s.The exception would be monasteries and convents which focus upon special interest programsand passive, unstructured retreats allowing participants to create their own retreat program.Recovery retreats focused upon alcohol and other addictive behaviors have been on increasesince the 1990’s, particularly with trends in company insurance policies covering treatments formiddle and upper management personnel. Also, wilderness and survival retreats have been on 7  
  8. 8. the increase, beginning in California and West Coast markets in the 1990’s and spreadingthroughout the country, due to interest in escapes from urban settings to natural environments.Key playersAmong Orthodox Christian retreat centers in America, there are only two major sites: St.Nicholas Ranch in Dunlap, California to the east of Fresno and Antiochian Village in Bolivar,Pennsylvania to the east of Pittsburgh. Smaller, less active retreat centers exist from convertedmotel locations such as St. Stephen’s in Titusville, Florida, Living Giving Spring in Boulder City,Nevada, and St. Andrew’s on Lake Oneida in Cleveland, New York.In addition to these examples, dioceses around America with each of the major ethnic OrthodoxChristian jurisdictions (Greek, Russian, Serbian, Romanian & others) often have land locationsset aside or rent locations for occasional retreat programs organized to serve specific needs bythe bishop, the clergy or committees within the diocese.Retreat programs hosted in monastery environments appear to be in decline. An example wouldinclude Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Retreat Center in Newark, Ohio. However, a fewlocations near large metropolitan areas have targeted specific affluent audiences and designedstructures which appeal to a variety of demographic segments. One example would be HolyCross Anglican Monastery of West Park, New York.A broader search of Christian retreat centers indicates an existing market, but often designedaround specific denominational needs and expressions. Though all may claim non-denominational appeal, a number of implied restrictions will limit the market of these centers.Examples of other Christian retreat centers would include Blue Mountain Christian Retreat inNew Ringgold, Pennsylvania, Spruce Lake retreat center in the Poconos in Pennsylvania and St.George Island Christian retreat center on the outer islands near Apalachicola, Florida. Larger 8  
  9. 9. networks of Christian retreat centers would be represented by organizations such as AmericanCamp Association and Great Retreats: Young Life Camp.Locally, a number of Christian retreat centers exist in the Missouri Ozarks, both denominationaland non-denominational. Examples would include the consortium of Midwest Christian Retreatswhich operates Eagle River Ozark Mountain Retreat Center southwest of Springfield, FamilyLife Mission in Branson and Springfield, Logan Valley Christian Retreat in Ellington, Missouriand Baptist Hill near Mt. Vernon.Current market shareThere are no major Orthodox Christian retreat centers in the Midwest and no Orthodox Christianretreat centers in America with a purposeful design to appeal to broad segments of Americansociety and culture beyond the specific denomination. Any such appeal and interaction on alarger scale is merely coincidental. A Google search in November 2012 of the specificdenominational category places Holy Archangels Orthodox Christian retreat center at the top ofthe search—even though Holy Archangels remains a start-up venture without a fully developedweb presence—only indicating other centers do not substantially utilize an internet presence orintegrate social media platforms into promotional programs.Company AnalysisWhat the company is concerned withHoly Archangels has been established through knowledge and practical experience of thedemands modern American society can impose upon individuals and families. These canoverwhelm inherent individual needs in which focus upon family and personal life center aroundcareer paths and pursuit of financial security more than close relationships necessary for healthyhuman growth. 9  
  10. 10. What it representsHoly Archangels offers opportunities for individuals and groups to disconnect and distancethemselves from mundane demands of life in order to nurture and cultivate values important togaining depth and richness to life.Company mission statementThe primary mission and underlying purpose of Holy Archangels Orthodox Christian RetreatCenter is to establish, develop, maintain and provide a safe rural environment—conducive andopenly accessible—to study, explore and practice daily Christian life through diverse platforms.These would include individual and community spiritual retreats, seasonal camps for youth andyoung adults, amateur sports events, wilderness excursions, academic and educationalconferences, cultural development and liturgical expression, all in close proximity to qualifiedpastoral and professional guidance.Above all, Holy Archangels provides an environment which remains focused upon preservingpersonal safety and the free will of the individual, while engendering an atmosphere in whichserious human concepts can be openly discussed and explored in group situations or on anindividual basis.HistoryHoly Archangels OCRC is still in infant stages, following a decade of research and developmentto explore the viability of this concept in the Missouri Ozarks and the Midwest. During thedevelopment period, a number of small retreat programs were tested successfully. Incorporatedin October of 2010, the retreat center began active operations and pilot programs from October2011. 10  
  11. 11. Market standing/ Category shareAs a newcomer to the market place of spiritual, career or rehabilitative retreats, Holy ArchangelsOCRC holds no significant market share among existing retreat centers. However, HolyArchangels stands poised to implement an expansive advertising and promotion campaign whichwill include social media platforms and mobile technology, particularly with a view to reachyouth, young single adults and young families.Product offeringsVarious offerings possible through Holy Archangels Orthodox Christian Retreat Center wouldinclude: a. Parish retreat programs for Orthodox Christian congregations b. Congregation retreat programs for other denominations c. Clergy retreat programs for sabbatical and continued education d. Summer youth and young adult programs geared to specific denominational or cultural need. With Orthodox Christian groups, the retreat center can provide as much or as little structure as the priest or bishop requires—allowing them to create their own program. With other denominations, Holy Archangels would merely provide the environment and services needed to conduct a retreat event, leaving the structure to the visiting supervising clergy. e. Academic retreats designed to allow university departments to conduct multi-day internal workshops, isolated from campuses. f. Academic conferences focused upon areas of research, study and dialogue appropriate to Christian faith-based interests, such as origins of life, ethics, explorations of the realms and differences between science and religion and other topics. 11  
  12. 12. g. Retreat programs focused upon social action and services within the community, such as American Red Cross events, recovery retreats in support of Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous and similar groups, military chaplaincies and similar community needs. h. International retreat programs, especially for youth and young adults, to encourage cross- cultural interaction and establish foundations of mutual understanding and tolerance.Sales & ProfitsAs a non-profit organization, Holy Archangels OCRC does not have a traditional profitabilitybalance sheet. Only pilot programs have been conducted to date, leaving income from activitiesnegligible.Key PersonnelOperational personnel are currently being interviewed and considered for employment within thesecond and third year of operation.Capital ResourcesBased upon pledges accumulated since 1999, Holy Archangels began receiving assets on thebalance sheet beginning in September 2011. Current resources include 85 acres of forest andpasture located near the Mark Twain National Forest, the Glade Top Trail and the headwaters ofthe White River system of Arkansas. While formal accommodations remain limited at this earlystage of development, the ability to host wilderness camp-style environments abounds on theproperty and the surrounding areas. Total assets are approaching $800k in the first year ofoperation. 12  
  13. 13. Product/ Brand AnalysisProduct/brand attributes & functionsAs a Christian retreat center, Holy Archangels offers a wholesome faith-based environment,focused upon the practice of virtue, healthy human interaction and quiet self-reflection. Ratherthan a vacation destination which often exhibits a different set of sources to generate stress, theenvironment of Holy Archangels is designed to create a short period of time free from stress inwhich basic needs are needs are met comfortably, allowing guests to concentrate on themselvesin an emotionally open and physically safe natural setting.Positioning & brand personalityApart from typical vacation destinations, most of the staff at Holy Archangels will be interningor trained in pastoral care and attention. While easily and personally accessible, staff will onlymake themselves available according to the needs of guests. The primary concern will be for thehospitality and care for guests to the degree they desire and based upon the level of maturity.Younger guests will be more closely supervised, while encouraging a sense of exploration andindependence.Price$75-150 per day per individual, depending upon the extent of services provided.Promotions usedPreviously, all promotions and advertising have been through direct invitation and ‘word-of-mouth’ exposure. In the future, direct mail campaigns will be incorporated utilizing mailing listsof Orthodox Christian parishes, as well as mailing lists of other Christian denominations.Internet presence will be a necessary, cost-manageable approach to promotion, particularlythrough the implementation of social media platform strategies. Advertising in specialty religious 13  
  14. 14. magazines and online publications will be explored as a possible medium to reach new audiencesand potential markets.Direct correspondence and solicitation of university departments throughout the Midwest will bedesigned to establish initial workshop and conference schedules on a small scale. Word-of-mouth promotion should eventually augment these efforts to attract academic audiences.Media spentThere is no specific advertising budget established at this stage of development. Due to the non-commercial nature of the enterprise, free forms of advertising and inexpensive alternatives willconsistently be explored.PackagingIn this context, packaging can possess two connotations.Because Holy Archangels OCRC offers customizable retreat programs, designed by individualsor groups to serve their specific needs, packaging describes the range of contents of any retreatprogram selected at the time of registration. An interactive website will offer a “build-your-own”option for retreat programs, in addition to established retreat packages which will include avariety of reflective, pastoral, study, outdoor, wilderness, sports and discursive activities.In terms of the means and methods of presentation to the public, the packaging of HolyArchangels OCRC will be subdued and understated to emphasize the non-commercial aspect ofthe operation. Holy Archangels is not merely a vacation alternative or destination, but rather aservice being promoted to serve individual needs of modern Americans through naturalenvironments, beginning with Orthodox Christians but extending to all individuals and groups offaith or interested in faith and religion, as with academic circles. 14  
  15. 15. DistributionIn spite of the potential for national and international appeal, the bulk of any advertising andpromotional efforts will remain on the American Midwest, particularly within a 200-mile radiusof the Holy Archangels retreat center property.This limited scope will be augmented through specific appeals to broader geographic regionsthrough Orthodox Christian dioceses throughout America. Because most Orthodox Christianretreat centers are located at the extremes of the North American continents, Holy Archangelsstands poised to fill a niche opportunity through ease of accessibility to populations in the centerof the country.Competitive AnalysisOptions consumers might use in their purchasing decisions a. Avoiding vacation or career breaks due to current economic trends b. Selecting vacation destinations for entertainment alone c. Selecting rehabilitative retreats for professional support d. Selecting faith-based retreats according to denominational orientation e. Selecting alternate retreat programs based on geographical proximityCompetitor categoriesHoly Archangels broadly competes with any vacation destination or alternate opportunity toescape daily pressures of career and modern life in America. These could include family trips toattractive natural sites, cruise ship opportunities, trips to Europe or abroad, extended visits withfamily and friends or periods of time in professional rehabilitative centers. 15  
  16. 16. Direct competitorsHoly Archangels competes directly with Christian retreat centers of all denominations. While theprimary target audience would be Orthodox Christian parishes, families and individuals whichremain beyond the appeal of most Orthodox Christians, the underlying Christian faith-basedidentity places Holy Archangels directly in the category of retreat program alternatives alongsideother organizations with regard to secondary and tertiary target markets. A sample of competitorswithin the Christian retreat center sphere as the Key Players in the industry analysis aboveindicates.Indirect competitorsHoly Archangels competes indirectly with any vacation opportunity available to Americans.However, due to the nonprofit and non-commercial characteristics of the retreat center, costshould not be an issue. Any promotional appeal should concentrate upon the prospectivepersonal benefit to each individual guest. Intangible spiritual and emotional gains will be theadvantage for consumers to consider a retreat above a more typical vacation destination.Product attributes and functions comparisonSt. Nicholas Ranch (Calif.) and Antiochian Village (Penn.) represent direct competitors to HolyArchangels within the scope of Orthodox Christian retreat centers on a national scale. Smallerretreat centers exist within American Orthodox communities, but are more regional in scope,providing primarily summer camp opportunities within a specific diocesan area. The offeringsfrom each of these centers will compete among Orthodox Christian individuals andcongregations, though groups outside of Orthodox interests are occasionally served by the largerfacilities. 16  
  17. 17. Indirect competition will be represented by any form of vacation destination or offering.However, vacations often serve different purposes and needs than specifically designed retreatprograms.Services provided by Holy Archangels will be designed to meet all of the accommodation needsof individuals or groups, freeing participants from typical logistic concerns and unplannedexpense which can be associated with vacation excursions. Programs and facilities can betailored to the needs, requirements and financial budgets of individuals or groups, permittingclients to involve Holy Archangels to any level of degree—from passive provision of the site tofull-service retreat program design and management.Current positioning & product personality comparisonAside from diocesan centers, Holy Archangels represents the only large scale Orthodox retreatcenter in the Midwest. The location in the Missouri Ozarks provides a semi-wildernessenvironment, allowing participants to fully disengage for a period of time from everydaylifestyles and obligations to their individual level of comfort. To the degree these can bereasonably extended, personal safety and the preservation of an individual’s free will remainpriorities during any interaction with Holy Archangels. The facilities and services are primarilyoffered for the purpose of personal exploration and growth, encouraging individual freedom andexpression.Price comparisonProgram pricing will be established on an individual basis, taking into account the degree ofinvolvement of the management and staff of Holy Archangels and the extent to which thefacilities will be utilized. 17  
  18. 18. Promotions comparison: current and past advertisingWebsite and social media platforms are currently being explored by the retreat center and willprovide a foundation to develop word-of mouth advertising. Direct mail campaigns, indicatingon-line presence and URL connections, will be utilized as periodic supplements to encourageselect market growth.Media comparisonNo marketing expenditures to datePackaging comparisonProgram presentations will vary appropriately, depending upon the targeted audience. Websitepresence will be compartmentalized to appeal to differing groups of prospective clients.Distribution comparisonWhile a national and international scope of appeal remains prospective, initial penetration will befocused upon local and regional markets, beginning with Orthodox Christian parish communitiesand Midwest diocesan needs and interestsConsumer AnalysisCurrent target market vs. potential target marketServing the spiritual needs of Orthodox Christian parish communities and individuals remain theprimary market audience for Holy Archangels. However, current economic and social concernsindicate modern American audiences desire an opportunity to retreat from everyday pressuresand obligations. These potential audiences will include structured and unstructured youth groups,groups for young adults and groups seeking relief from substance abuse. Additionally, HolyArchangels represents a facility focused upon specialized study, presenting the opportunity toserve select academic audiences. 18  
  19. 19. Who are the consumers?Orthodox Christians in America are not unlike Americans outside of the specific denominationalsegment. Therefore, present and potential clients may include individuals from any professionalfield. An underlying interest in self-reflection, self-realization, internal self-improvement (asopposed to professional improvement) or a perceived lack of these qualities will describe themajority of potential clients.What motivates the consumers to buy?A personal discernment between the benefits offered by a vacation getaway or a retreat programoffering personal growth, moments of solitude and respite from the pressures of everyday lifepromise to be the primary motivators for any American—Orthodox Christian or not—toseriously consider the option of Holy Archangels retreat center as a viable destination.How do the consumers use the product?A retreat will offer a prospective client the opportunity to engage clergy, counselors,professionals and individuals seasoned in spiritual pursuit and personal contentment to theirdegree of comfort. The exposure offers the possibility to personally explore concepts which areseldom incorporated in modern American lifestyles. The ability to subsequently return to theretreat center, to maintain newly formed relationships and to seek continued guidance or referralsafter a program extends the benefit of retreat offerings beyond any specific event.What is important to consumers in a product?Personal applicabilityHow do the consumers look at life?As most everyone looks at life, but often perceiving a lack of fulfillment, happiness orcontentment, particularly with themselves or their situation in life. 19  
  20. 20. Where are the consumers?Prospective clients could be found in any profession or within any segment of society.Geographically, Holy Archangels’ primary audience would initially be limited to Missouri andsurrounding states, but eventually would expand to the greater Midwest region extendingoutward to Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas. The geographic region represents a potential marketexceeding 40mil individuals and a specific denominational segment approaching 0.5milOrthodox Christians.Macro-Environmental AnalysisDemographic trendsThe variety of retreat events available through Holy Archangels provides a series ofproduct/services which could be appealing across a broad demographic spectrum. However, tomaximize the limited resources available to promotion and advertising, each category of retreatprogram listed above under product offerings, should be isolated from other offerings, treatingeach category as a distinct product/service.Social trendsAs technology increases in the 21st-century and concerns over detachment from natural settings,environments, dietetics and lifestyles continue to remain a focus for a growing segment inAmerican society, Holy Archangels OCRC stands in a position to offer reasonable andaffordable solutions. To disconnect physically from the rapid pace of the surrounding society fora period of time can be authentically presented as a healthy consideration for individuals,families and groups. 20  
  21. 21. Economic trendsThe continuing stagnation of the economic state has contributed to a slower start-up for theretreat center than was anticipated prior to incorporation. However, the retreat center is also incompetition with general vacation opportunities and destinations, which are not as viable forfamilies to currently consider. Careful pricing and positioning could present alternatives toindividuals, families or groups, especially if the spiritual and emotional benefits are emphasizedin the marketing presentation.Legal trendsPrimary concerns for a retreat center will be for the personal safety of individuals. On one hand,attending to the physical and emotional safeties of guests remains a top priority and concern interms of the potential for misconduct, sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Due to the semi-wilderness environment, physical safety will extend to the potential for injury and harm fromactivities, such as hiking, canoeing and sports events. The potential also exists for harm fromanimals and insects native to the area.Liability issues exist in the prudent care of individuals in groups, requiring the exercise of duediligence in providing sufficient warning to guests of potential dangers and threats.Policies are regularly implemented and reviewed to monitor potential threats and to establishplan of action in advance of any occurrence.Environmental trendsThe natural environment of the physical location of the retreat center is a key feature of theofferings. As plans continue to develop for capital improvement and expansion, greenarchitecture and natural landscaping utilizing native Missouri flora will remain a priority. To 21  
  22. 22. market the retreat center as committed to preserving the natural environment will be an importantaspect of the marketing presentation. 22  
  23. 23. COMPREHENSIVE  SWOT  ANALYSISStrengths • Holy Archangels Orthodox Christian Retreat Center provides multi-dimensional retreat programs, designed to serve client needs across denominational bounds or beyond specific faith-based points of focus. • Holy Archangels OCRC possesses the business acumen to implement an extensive integrated marketing plan, utilizing traditional and technological avenues cohesively. • The founder possesses decades of international experience in conducting faith-based, spiritual retreats in natural, remote wilderness environments and a broad scope of professional expertise to create a nonprofit corporation from inception. • Google search in November 2012 under specific denominational categories finds Holy Archangels OCRC in the top searchable position. • As a nonprofit organization, typical pressures within for-profit commercial sectors do not exist for Holy Archangels, allowing the retreat center to remain primarily focused upon developing programs for the growth of clients. • As a nonprofit corporation, shareholders are excluded from the structure, allowing all operational profits to be returned internally to solely promote corporate purposes. • The faith-based religious foundation behind the development of the retreat center possesses a deep historical continuous identity, ensuring an impression of stability and duration. • Provides an environment for clients to depart from everyday routines, to enjoy stress-free periods and grow in deeper meaningful aspects of life. 23  
  24. 24. • The Mark Twain National Forest, Glade Top Trail and headwaters of the White River System provide a valuable center of geographic location to draw client groups seeking semi-wilderness and outdoor style retreat events. • Digital technology and 4G WiFi is available in specific locations of the retreat center, allowing clients a choice in the degree of disconnection during retreat events.Weaknesses • As a retreat center, Holy Archangels is a startup in the first year of active operation. • As a nonprofit corporation with a limited initial donor base, Holy Archangels exhibits typical startup enterprise limitations of resources and personnel. • Holy Archangels currently possesses no significant market share. • Current promotional strategies rely primarily on word of mouth, providing a sound and steady brand name establishment but slower ingress and growth in the marketplace. • With architectural plans under creation, accommodations remain severely limited at this stage, allowing only implementation of wilderness camp style retreat programs. • Current accommodations can only permit retreat programs requiring full service on a limited basis to personal, family or small group retreats. • Considering current accommodation limitations, premature overexposure through affordable social media network platforms could swiftly create a lasting negative impression of unpreparedness in the face of any significant market response. • Holy Archangels currently focuses on a small, local current target market within a 200- mile radius, limiting initial traditional advertising campaigns to a local market and potentially impinging upon the ability to expand fully and serve the Midwest. 24  
  25. 25. Opportunities • Within a 1-hour flight time, Holy Archangels is centrally located within a total American demographic population exceeding 40 million. As a percentage, this equates to a potential client segment of Orthodox Christians alone—not including other faith-based denominational interests—of more than 250,000 individuals. • Current real estate holdings exceed 80 acres of oak and walnut forest from which to base retreat events, with the potential to acquire an adjoining 216 wilderness parcel. • No other major Orthodox Christian retreat centers exist in the Midwest. Other competitive faith-based centers have limited presence in the region. • Holy Archangels possesses the flexibility to offer a broad array of programs, providing an opportunity to reach a much larger demographic beyond the primary client base of Orthodox Christian individuals and parishes. • Holy Archangels can custom tailor retreat events for any client category on an individual basis to fit specific budget limitations. • Monastery and convent environments focusing upon special interest and unstructured spiritual retreat events have increased in recent decades on East and West Coasts, but few exist in the Midwest. • A similar trend and positioning holds true for the growth of wilderness and back-to- nature excursion events, leaving Holy Archangels well-poised to serve the niche. • Recovery treatment programs for substance abuse often focus upon the need for a spiritual dimension to be a component of any effective program. Holy Archangels is well- positioned to provide the environment for hosting these program events. 25  
  26. 26. Threats • Numbers of monastery and convents have been in decline since the 1980’s, causing a general lack of public awareness of the need for spiritual retreats. • Lack of awareness requires the market niche must be re-created in order for clients to recognize a need for retreat programs and respond to promotional appeals. • Among a number of Orthodox Christian retreat centers around America, St. Nicholas Ranch in California and Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania are well-established and attended, narrowing the opportunity for Holy Archangels to enter as a fledgling operation into a specifically Orthodox Christian marketplace. • Economic stagnation can reduce the opportunity for clients to seriously consider retreat center events, in spite of any benefit perceived of the location. • Secular vacation destinations pose competitive threats as alternative choices to Holy Archangels from the client perspective. • The public perception of a faith-based retreat center can disqualify Holy Archangels as a viable destination consideration among secular audiences. • A similar misconception can disqualify Holy Archangels as a viable destination among faith-based groups outside of an Orthodox Christian orientation. • Extensive utilization of technology, social media platforms and leading edge marketing campaigns can potentially damage the brand image of a traditional faith-based retreat center which offers “disconnects” from the modern world. 26  
  27. 27. PROBLEM  STATEMENT  &  RESEARCH  QUESTIONSAs Holy Archangels Retreat Center approaches full-scale operations, the design of appropriateprograms and activities are essential to success. Research among differing demographicsegments will identify positive and negative reactions, permitting the development of desiredprograms for specific age groups and interests.The first targeted audience outside of traditional parish community retreats will be teenagers andyoung adults. Drawing upon their past experiences should disclose individual interests,preferences, reticence and reservations with respect to organized retreat events hosted orconducted by a religious organization.This demographic segment will provide insights into program design which may or may notcorrelate with general suppositions of the founders, organizers and program managers of HolyArchangels. Research will concentrate upon seeking responses from identified audiences in orderto develop programs tailored to the wishes of specific niche market needs.Among the category of young American single adults, between the ages of 18 and 24: • (R1) What is the range of response or reaction to the concept of a faith-based retreat center located in a semi-wilderness mountain environment? • (R2) Leaving aside any faith-based orientation, what activities would be attractive during a retreat event within a semi-wilderness mountain environment? • (R3) What range of experience have young adults in this age category encountered in the past with retreats or summer camps? • (R4) If allowed creativity and the ability to introduce suggestions, what experiences and activities would be preferred among young adults in this age category? 27  
  28. 28. The research should attempt to cross denominational boundaries and professional fields to insurea homogenous understanding of the nature of service provided by a retreat center, as perceivedby modern Americans from different age groups and levels of society. Research should also seekto identify areas which are perceived as inappropriate or out of place in a retreat environment. 28  
  30. 30. QUALITATIVE  RESEARCHIntroductionDue to the startup enterprise nature of the Holy Archangels Orthodox Christian Retreat Center,product/ service research has been primarily focused on the initial design of programs to servethe needs of various prospective client groups. Any competitive perspective in the research ofprogram development at this stage has concentrated upon comprehensive package offeringswhich meet or exceed offerings of similar facilities. Clientele groups will eventually comprisechurch parish communities and youth summer camps; structured youth groups such as BoyScouts, Girl Scouts, 4H Clubs and others; academic groups such as faculty departmentworkshops, relational skills workshops for young adults, ministry workshops for seminarians andspecialized academic conferences; recovery retreat programs in support of those strugglingagainst substance abuse; university student group retreat programs; and, small scale corporateretreats to meet individual internal needs.During initial market audience identification, a number of the above categories were explored aspotential points of focus with some indicating significant degrees of delicacy needed to facilitatedialogue and interaction toward conducting any form of research. In several cases, thedenominational polarity of Holy Archangels proved to be an obstacle. In other situations, theoverall religious nature of the organization provided barriers to consider. And, in other cases, theprivacy required by certain individual groups slowed progress toward gaining inside perspectivesof specific needs, requirements or expectations.These factors were anticipated due to the findings in the initial stage of secondary research.While none of these obstacles should prove insurmountable, for the sake of expediency a more 30  
  31. 31. flexible and open target audience was approached for the current study: university undergraduateand graduate students between the ages of 18-24.Research Objectives and MethodsBecause Holy Archangels remains in early development stages, a clear understanding of theperceived needs of prospective market audiences is required. In order to ascertain personalimpressions, qualitative research proved appropriate through discussion forums available throughfocus group sessions. Rather than individual in-depth interviews, the prospect of focus groupsoffered an open dialogue to recall past experiences, identify favored aspects of previous retreatprograms, speculate upon ideal scenarios and indicate any potential negative reactions toenvironment, activities, staff appointments and religious affinities. The focus group settingamong individuals of a similar demographic segment suggested the provision of a sense ofsecurity to encourage responses which might not surface during a one-on-one interview process.Considering the broad market Holy Archangels could possibly serve, a number of avenues wereinitially explored. A focus group session among directors of the Southwest Missouri Boy Scoutregion was ruled out due to denominational polarities which exist among local troops. Asubsequent possibility of organizing several focus group sessions with local recovery supportgroups proved impracticable due to issues of privacy and internal organizational concerns of theindividual support group leadership. Therefore, the research team concentrated on a readilyavailable market segment represented by undergraduate and graduate students of DruryUniversity.Initially, two focus group sessions were planned, promising a separate study of male and femaleresponses, considering the potential for differing reactions to a retreat center located in awilderness setting. Time constraints prevented two independent sessions. One focus group 31  
  32. 32. session of young men and women was organized and convened at 9:00pm on Thursday,November 29, 2012 in the conference room of Shewmaker Hall on campus at Drury Universityand lasted 45 minutes. Refreshments were provided in the form of a pizza party. A decision wasmade ahead of time to exclude Fr. Theodore Niklasson from direct involvement during thesession in order to minimize any skew or sway of participant responses.Focus group questions were carefully developed to explore aspects of the four research questionspresented during secondary research to attempt to identify the scope of problems andopportunities specified in the situational analysis of this particular research project. Open-endedquestions were arranged according to accepted practice, opening with general observations andimpressions and moving toward free expression from participants regarding individual retreatexperiences. The final set of key questions focused specifically on the prospect of a retreatprogram hosted by a religious organization, seeking to ascertain a range of responses frompositive to negative. One key question (#16) introduced the concept of monastery upon theimage of a religious center with a purpose to ascertain preconceived notions of the environment.The research approach implementing a focus group for open discussion proved sound in theinitial exploration of the development of retreat programs appropriate to distinct targetaudiences. By inviting potential clients from a prospective market segment to speak openly andgenerally about their impressions of retreats—religiously oriented or not—the responsesindicated both personal preferences and reservations. These perceptions covered a span of topicsincluding imagining the physical environment of a wilderness setting, impressions of thedesirability of differing seasonal schedules, past experiences and memories, emotional reactionsto overall stages of a retreat event, lasting impressions of retreat staff members, reactions to the 32  
  33. 33. nature of newly found relationships, reactions to communal living accommodations, reactions toscheduling and types of activities and an encouragement to describe ideal scenarios.The tone of the focus group suggested participants enjoyed sharing their ideas openly. Theinteraction among participants was friendly, lively and conversational. The structure of thequestionnaire proved sound. As the focus group session progressed, participants appeared morecomfortable within the group to express delicate topics and to present potential problems andnegative reactions in the design or operation of a retreat center having a religious foundation.Individual responses of young men and women confirmed that separate focus groups dividedaccording to gender would be productive due to general reactions toward environment andvulnerability issues. Focus group questions would remain identical, but further question promptscould be tailored to aid each focus in deeper exploration of certain circumstances or concerns.The decision to exclude Fr. Theodore from the discussion session was likely sound. A number ofpotential negative reactions may not have surfaced in the discussion had a clergyman beenpresent within the focus group setting. However, emphasis was placed specifically upon HolyArchangels as an Orthodox Christian retreat center and the point of the study during theintroduction segment of the focus. The religious nature of the retreat center, as well asdenominational affiliation, may have skewed the direction of responses. In retrospect, the topicof the focus group should have remained nonspecific throughout, applying to general retreatcenter environments without reference to any particular religious or secular positioning.Fortunately, the geographic location of Drury University, its own underlying religious affiliationand student demographics composed primarily of Midwest Americans did not necessarilyundermine the findings of the focus group. Future focus group research sessions will need to 33  
  34. 34. carefully consider the potential reactions of participants, if conducted in differing parts of theUnited States.Research FindingsA loose transcription of the focus group session yielded highlights of interests, conceptualpreferences and a mix of positive and negative reactions to a retreat environment hosted by areligious affiliation which may or may not be related to the target audience. The pool ofinformation provided confirmation of a number of anticipated perceptions, as well as severalsurprising responses suggesting the religious nature of a faith-based organization may offer lessof an obstacle to broader prospective target markets than previously assumed. In fact, a rustic,semi-wilderness environment proved more problematic for a number of participants according tothe focus group responses than any particular religious polarity of the retreat center.Findings from the focus group session were analyzed without reference to the order of questionsor the subject matter revealed as the discussion developed. This overview approach permittedcorrelation of similar topics which surfaced at different times throughout the session, rather thanline-by-line evaluation of responses to specific questions. While additional themes could beextracted from the data, eight themes were specifically identified as a point of reference to beginthe development of attractive retreat programs based upon the responses of a high profile targetaudience. The findings have been segregated according to these eight themes.Preferred locations, characteristics and overall themes of a retreatFrom a general introductory question, followed by past retreat experiences among participants ofthe focus group, a number of actual and ideal characteristics were identified. Annual churchcamps for youth often provided the background for retreat experiences among participants. Anumber of individuals had favorite locations in mind from these experiences. Favored locations 34  
  35. 35. included mountain settings and locations near bodies of water—the ocean, a lake or streams andrivers. Other retreats falling outside of church venues included professional skills training,leadership institutes, team building programs and conferences.Under ideal circumstances, the focus group identified a number of preferred features. A scheduleof organized activities remained a key component among desired qualities, yet having timeinterspersed for personal solitude and reflection was important. Activities of the retreat centershould be fun, not closely resemble work, provide opportunities for outdoor games, bereasonably comfortable, offer unique experiences and provide for spiritual and emotionalgrowth.Seasonal changes introduced differing interests, with autumn providing the ideal setting forretreats focused upon quiet and solitude. Spring and summer were clearly times of outside sportsand activity, though the depth and heat of summer yielded responses seeking water sports orindoor activities of crafts or study.Reactions to wilderness environmentsA wilderness environment prompted a range of positive and negative responses fromparticipants. Particularly with respect to the general presence of wild animals, responses rangedfrom “eww!” or being frightened and wanting protection to “cool” and interested. The image of aforest suggested isolation with no distractions, as well as bugs and dirt. Hiking trails wereconsidered boring, essential, peaceful, group exercise and work. Bonfires reminded participantsof marshmallow roasts, casual conversation, campfire songs and storytelling.Typical accommodations experienced in the industryWith regard to typical accommodations, data from the focus group suggest that participants arefamiliar with a broad range of living conditions from past experience. Though the overall 35  
  36. 36. architectural design will include hotel-style lodge accommodations, the findings from the focusgroup confirm that events can occur prior to the completion of comfortable buildings exhibitingmodern conveniences. In some cases, more rustic accommodations may be preferred by certainguests. An excessive presence of technology engendered negative reactions without furtherquestion prompts.From the data, other retreat centers offer cabins, dormitory and hotel-style buildings, bunk beds,shared bathroom and shower facilities, and even huts, canvas tents, portable toilets, latrines andbare minimum facilities. While all of these styles may not be according to individual preference,responses indicated more acceptance than rejection of the event due to accommodations.However, among young women especially, the concept of shared showers and bathroomsprovided a source of negative reaction.Perspectives of retreat center staffEvidently, with this particular focus group, past experiences with retreat center staff has beenquite good. An array of responses include positive adjectives such as energetic, engaging,entertaining, led by example, environmentally friendly, excellent, wild, relatable. Othersindicated that meeting new individuals during retreat—such as coaches and counselors—openedcollege opportunities.However, negative responses to staff included reluctance to engage counselors who became toopersonal or encouraged inappropriate relationships.Typical activities encounteredA schedule of organized activities appear central to any positive reaction among members of thefocus group. Some spoke of experiences in which little time remained for anything else. Othersspoke of the availability of choice in a series of activities, allowing individuals to choose 36  
  37. 37. according to their interests or a desire to engage new experiences. A variety of activitiesthroughout the day yielded more positive reactions, though periods of quiet and solitude werealso desired.Among activities listed by participants, various types of sports events were mentioned, includingfootball, baseball and tennis. Archery was considered challenging or too complicated. Reactionsto fishing yielded responses ranging from boring and tedious to peaceful, fun and relaxing. Theconcept of canoeing offered more playful comments such as water fights, battleship, tippingpeople over out of their canoes or simply floating along the water. The ability to swim affectedthe reactions of certain individuals with respect to water sports or activities.While activities such as bible study, nature study and educational workshops had beenexperienced by many from the focus group, few had negative reactions to these being a part of aretreat event. However, negative reactions which did rise from these types of activities wereagainst “homework” style assignments, suggesting that workshop activities remain fullyconfined to the actual event.Favorite memoriesQuestion 13 was open-ended and offered as round-robin sharing among participants. Thisquestion yielded the greatest number of responses. Church camps, Young Life camps and beingwith people from church were among the first mentioned as fond memories. Meeting new friendsand “hanging out” during free time, building lasting relationships and introductions to influentialpeople ranked high among positive memories. It was important to most in the focus group tohave a plethora of events, evening concerts, downtime between activities and an opportunity totemporarily escape from daily life with no distractions in order for meditation and to concentrateon oneself and one’s spirituality. Opportunities to build leadership and counseling skills,discover college options and prepare for professional roles were key components of their 37  
  38. 38. recollections. For some, connecting with nature and being apart from cell phones and technologyproved memorable.Lasting impressionsConnected with favorite memories, Question 7 concentrated upon lasting impressions of retreatevents the participants had experienced. Responses were led to a small degree by asking abouttheir emotions at the time of departure. While some were “glad to be leaving” or “missed theirown bed,” each participant had overall positive reminiscences and voiced varying degrees ofreluctance in leaving their retreat. One was sad to go back to reality and life with electronics.While one felt that it was nice to get away and to have fun, another remarked that departure wasa little overwhelming, requiring a “step back” to manage emotions.Negative reactionsAs mentioned above, negative reactions and negative emotions centered upon aspects of theenvironment, the accommodations, the staff (in isolated instances), religious intrusion anddepartures. Especially for young women, the concept of shared bathrooms and showers elicitednegative reactions. This clearly intruded upon their desired comfort zones.The existence of wild animals—particularly snakes—predictably yielded negative responsesamong some of the participants. The natural environment of a wilderness setting also encouragedthoughts (and perhaps misconceptions) of insects, dirt and filth.With respect to the religious foundation of a retreat center, participants were not overly negative,but would react against attempt to force religious convictions—Christian and not. Whilereactions to experiences with staff were overwhelmingly positive, responses suggested poorinteractions in the past, yielding negative reactions to counselors probing too personally orencouraging inappropriate relationships. 38  
  39. 39. Based upon the interests of this particular market segment, the inevitable distance from newfriendships and relationships on departure from the retreat provided negative emotions andreactions. This supposition is based upon the importance of developing and continuing newrelationships described elsewhere during the focus group session.Finally, question 20 concentrated on concepts that would seem alien to a retreat event accordingto the preferences of this target audience. Among activities and characteristics which would notfit into a retreat environment would be alcohol, long lectures, fasting, homework, demandingmental exercises, cell phones, technology or concern for personal appearance.SummaryWhile the above eight themes represent only select aspects from the data gained through thefocus group interview session, the concepts contained within these will provide a soundfoundation from which to develop attractive retreat program schedules. Positive and negativereactions will provide valid parameters to work within in the continued design of HolyArchangels retreat center. Further analysis of the data will yield additional insight andinformation, allowing a tailoring of the questionnaire to fit differing audiences of young adults. 39  
  41. 41. QUANTITATIVE  RESEARCHIntroductionFollowing an analysis of Holy Archangels retreat center, specifically, the competition, the retreatcenter industry, a determination of research goals, a qualitative exploration to discover thereactions of young adults to the concept of retreat events, quantitative research was pursued todiscover additional, measurable findings on which to base future decisions.Research Objectives and MethodsBased on the secondary and qualitative research conducted, it is clear that Holy Archangels is ina position to create a center that is in line with the expectations and preferences of universitystudents and young adults. The findings from the focus group interview show participants’ idealretreat activities and settings, which Holy Archangels can use to develop programs and activitiesfor their future clientele. However, conclusions thus far are based solely on the relatedexperiences of eleven undergraduate and graduate students of one university.While the target market of Holy Archangels retreat center is described as university studentsfrom 18 to 24 years of age, a larger respondent pool beyond the initial focus group session isnecessary to base sound marketing decisions. Nevertheless, the qualitative research validated thefindings of the secondary research, indicating that students ages 18-24 should prove to be anappropriate and valuable target audience.Beyond university students likely to attend retreat events focused upon their needs andpreferences, further consideration should also include employees of the university who plan orassist with the organization of off-campus events. For example, if a student group is looking toconduct an off-campus retreat, the events committee will likely consult campus advisorsregarding a retreat location and environment. Therefore, the target market should be broadened 41  
  42. 42. to include a wider audience of university constituents including alumni, staff and faculty.Understanding their preferences as well as those of students will allow Holy Archangels to begindeveloping facilities and activities to meet the demands of potential clientele from this targetedmarket audience.Audience expansion was conducted in the form of an online quantitative survey. Quantitativedata will supplement qualitative research providing additional substantial information for furtherorganizational planning and decision making. Qualitative research gained a clear understandingof the general thoughts and opinions of target audience members, but statistical data offers ameasurable component to compare and contrast critical preferences of the market to suggest andsupport the direction of organizational planning. Board members, executive officers and majorcontributors of nonprofit organizations may want access to statistical data during considerationof issues surrounding organizational operation.ProcedureTime constraints did not permit a development of a set of quantitative questions derived fromfindings of the focus group sessions. Questions for quantitative research were generated byreformatting the questions used previously during the focus group interview. By slightlyadjusting the format of questions and creating appropriate answer sets or category rankings,statistical data could be obtained.However, similar sets of questions between the focus group interview and the quantitative surveyshould allow Holy Archangels an in-depth understanding of the questions stated in the researchobjectives. A different set of questions between the qualitative and quantitative phases ofresearch would have offered a broader understanding of issues. But, the objectives of HolyArchangels were quite specific. Gaining a deeper understanding of a few key elements 42  
  43. 43. outweighed the need for a broader—perhaps, more shallow—understanding of a larger numberof research categories.From the carefully prepared questions to conduct an effective focus group session, a similar setof questions were translated swiftly to fit a survey format. Differing question types allowed forsurvey participants to provide feedback in a variety of patterns. For example, questions permittedrespondents to rank retreat activities in order of preference, as well as providing space for themto respond independently. Once questions and answer sets were modified and formatted forquantitative analysis, the survey was prepared for distribution to be completed by voluntaryparticipants. The survey was designed to be completed in approximately 10 minutes. Due to timeconstraints, the survey was open for only 7 days. At the time of analysis, the survey yielded atotal of 36 completed responses.Instruments and ParticipantsSurvey participants were recruited through campus email channels and social media networkplatforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. In all participant recruitment communications, a link tothe survey was included with a personal message seeking participation supporting an academicresearch project. Emails to on-campus student, faculty and staff contacts were sent requestingtheir participation in an online survey hosted through SurveyMonkey.Participants of the online survey ranged in age from 20-35, with the mean age of 23. 57% ofrespondents were male. In the demographic questions, participants were asked to state theiraffiliation with the university. 29% described themselves as college seniors, 21% were alumni,18% were staff members, 18% were graduate students, 7% were juniors and 7% weresophomores. There were no faculty or freshmen represented in the responses. 43  
  44. 44. The first link of the survey presented the Informed Consent Form to each respondent, whichdescribed the purpose, expectations, risks, benefits and confidentiality of the survey, togetherwith contact information to reach the survey administrators. The final section of the InformedConsent Form was the user’s agreement with the above descriptions. Agreement was requiredbefore the participant could access the full survey questionnaire.A welcome and introduction to the survey followed the Informed Consent Form, explaining thepurpose seeking their thoughts and perspectives about retreat centers. The introduction wasfollowed by 20 questions inquiring about previous experiences with retreat centers, as well asseeking perspectives and speculation of an ideal retreat center setting.Concepts of InterestFour questions concentrated on gaining knowledge in specific areas of the general topic thesurvey explored. The first question explored the reaction to concepts of retreat events hosted by afaith-based facility. This determination was critical for Holy Archangels to discover if audienceswould be willing to use the retreat center facilities, in spite of the organization’s religiousaffiliation. Aside from religious orientation, the second question explored activities that would beattractive during a retreat event held in a semi-wilderness mountain environment. Knowing thisinformation will allow Holy Archangels to craft a variety of retreat program packages to serve abroad demographic segment, yet encompassing every aspect of an ideally conceived retreatevent. The third question explored the range of experience previously encountered with retreatsor summer camps by young adults in this age segment. An understanding of past experienceswill aid Holy Archangels in crafting events tuned to the expectations and needs of this targetaudience. The information will also indicate likes and dislikes among university students. Thefourth question explored the creativity of young adults in designing and suggesting activities of a 44  
  45. 45. retreat event to serve their own preferences. From this information, Holy Archangels candetermine specific preferences from the age group toward the development of an “ideal” retreatexperience tailored to the needs of modern American university students.FindingsThe first research objective is concerned with the reaction of college students to a faith-basedretreat center located in a semi-wilderness environment. In order to determine whether or notyoung adults are a viable audience, it must be determined if the will remain open to the idea ofattending a center founded upon a faith-based model.Participants were asked, “If individuals of a religious group maintained the retreat center couldthat keep you from considering attending an event there?” 79% said no, this would not hindertheir attendance, 21% said that it would hinder their attendance, and eight participants skippedthis question. Based on these numbers, it can be assumed that a religious group maintaining aretreat center will not pose a significant negative effect on college student participation.The next research objective sought to identify characteristics students ages 18-24 would like tosee during a retreat event. When asked to rank retreat characteristics in order of importance, 47%of participants indicated forests as most important, 31% said bonfires were the most importantand 14% noted hiking trails as the most important element of retreat centers. The least importantcharacteristic was archery, with 64% indicating the activity last on their list. Since HolyArchangels is located in a semi-wilderness environment, the organization fits expectations of aforested environment.The third research objective was to determine previous retreat and summer camp experiencesamong young adults. The survey findings indicate previous activity experiences during retreatsincluded hiking (78%), sports (75%) and educational workshops (72%). To remain compliant 45  
  46. 46. with standard expectations among college students, Holy Archangels should consider includingthe necessary resources in support of sports programs, outdoor activities and a series ofworkshops focused upon interests among this target audience segment.Participants were asked to describe an ideal retreat center. The most frequent keywords includedfood, nature, seclusion, sports and a structured schedule. These responses reinforce the findingsfrom the focus group interview and should prove beneficial as Holy Archangels creates retreatprograms designed to serve the needs of a target audience composed of college students. 46  
  48. 48. RESEARCH  CONCLUSIONSResearch focused upon developing an integrated marketing campaign to serve Holy ArchangelsOrthodox Christian Retreat Center yielded a number of anticipated responses, several surpriseresponses and a series of perspectives offering suggestions to consider in the creation of retreatprograms designed to serve the needs of typical American university students. These findingswill prove instrumental in the development of staff structures and appointment considerations,event scheduling and the identification of issues of safety or vulnerability which should beaddressed.Among key potential problematic concerns, research indicated that university students are notnegatively affected during attendance consideration of a retreat event hosted by a religiousorganization. Indeed, responses indicated that the majority of past experiences occurred at churchretreats and summer camps. Negative reactions were not indicted toward any retreat center whichmaintains an underlying religious foundation, or develops reasonable rules and parameters ofconduct. While staff and personnel should be available to retreat participants for discussion ofreligious or spiritual topics, negative reactions among students were primarily isolated to aprearranged resistance against any religious expression being forced during the course of aretreat event.Activities conducted during a retreat event should be varied, well organized and allow options ofchoice for guests to select according to personal preference. Outdoor activities should include avariety of sporting events, hiking, nature studies and water sports, corresponding to appropriateseasons of the year. Other opportunities should include events to encourage friendships andrelationships, such as evening bonfires, campfire songs and storytelling events. Event schedules 48  
  49. 49. should allow for free time, permitting moments of personal solitude and informal unplannedactivities among retreat participants.The concept of developing new relationships and deepening existing relationships occurredthroughout the research project, as an important aspect of a retreat event experience. Thisindicates that the development of team building exercises and group activities would be welcomeadditions to any schedule of events. Relationships were not confined only to guests of similarage, but included introductions to professionals, coaches and counselors as guests soughtguidance and insight into various stages of life. Offering opportunities to explore professionaland educational possibilities through seasoned individuals should also become a necessarycomponent of activities for this target audience.Educational workshops composed a common component during previous retreat experiencesamong research participants. Positive reactions confirmed that moments of learning andencountering new ideas is an expected part of a retreat event, particularly with respect topersonal and spiritual growth. However, negative comments suggested that the workshops beself-contained, without the expectation of homework assignments or the requirement ofcontinued study. Any continued study should be based individually on the personal interests ofretreat center guests.A semi-wilderness forested environment with the potential for rustic accommodations is anexpectation among all respondents and preferred by a majority of respondents. However,responses to the presence of wild animals in the environment confirmed an anticipated reticenceamong some participants suggesting the need to implement a proposed plan to offerpresentations by local game wardens and the forestry service during retreat events to help guestsunderstand the nature which will surround them in order to overcome misconceptions and fears. 49  
  50. 50. Despite an overall positive perception of retreat center staff from previous experiences, negativeresponses surfaced of a reluctance to engage counselors who became too personal or who mayhave encouraged inappropriate relationships. This confirms the existing caution, underscoringthe commitment of Holy Archangels to provide a safe environment to all guests at all levels ofinteraction, particularly through careful and selective screening of stable, qualified staff.Further study of concepts rising from workshop presentations should be voluntary according tothe individual interests of guests.At an early stage of development, Holy Archangels is well-positioned to tailor retreat events to atarget audience composed of typical American university students. The center’s dedication toproviding for the personal safety and the preservation of the free will of any guest lends well tothe inclinations and preferences voiced by students during the qualitative and quantitativeresearch studies. Further research is recommended at universities throughout the Midwest, aswell as from the East and West Coasts to include regional differences. Additionally, furtherresearch is advised among students at Orthodox Christian, Roman Catholic and Protestantseminaries to determine any differing sets of perspectives among similar age groups, but withalternate perspectives on the nature of retreat centers, events and activities. 50  
  51. 51. OPPORTUNITY  RECOMMENDATION  FOR  IMC  CAMPAIGN  DEVELOPMENTAccording to research findings, Holy Archangels Orthodox Christian Retreat Center hasconsiderable opportunity to develop retreat events to serve university students throughoutMidwest America. Further research will help tailor these events to serve larger segments of thesame demographic target audience across the country, taking into account regional differences,preferences and expectations. By focusing on maintaining a low-profile faith-based environment,Holy Archangels will continue to fit common expectations among young adults of retreat events.By concentrating on a balance of activities to include physical activity, educational opportunitiesfocused on new and unique subjects, free time set aside for personal solitude and the building forfriendships and relationships, an environment to explore professional and continued educationalopportunities with seasoned adults and to provide access to nature and a temporary distance fromtechnology and everyday concerns, Holy Archangels OCRC promises a program platform tosuccessfully serve an influential segment of society. As university students become alumni andcontinue to grow and mature in professional pursuit, these same individuals will be in a positionto offer endorsement to the facility as community leaders with experience of the environmentprovided by Holy Archangels. 51  
  52. 52. IMC  CAMPAIGN  OBJECTIVEThe objective of the current integrated marketing campaign is to explore the expectations andpreferences of university students who could become prospective guests of Holy ArchangelsOCRC during a retreat event or a series of events. The purpose of the research has been todetermine parameters of operations, design of activity events, consideration of comfort andsecurity needs of prospective guests and any reticence regarding the religious foundation of ahosting organization.From the findings, work has already begun toward the development of several small-scale pilotprograms to be conducted in the spring, summer and autumn of 2003. Due to budget constraints,advertising and promotion will be limited to social media network platforms, email broadcasts,campus brochures and posters. The initial target audiences will be local undergraduate andgraduate students from Drury University and Missouri State University. The campaign would bedesigned to increase awareness of the presence of the retreat center and invite students toparticipate in a limited attendance retreat program.Logistics and existing accommodations would limit participation to 10-15 students at a time asan outdoor camping event. Activity schedules would be based upon preferences indicated fromqualitative and quantitative findings, incorporating the retreat center property, as well as localstate parks, lakes and streams for hiking expeditions and water sports.Educational components of the retreat event would include presentations by the regional forestryservice and local game wardens, general presentations of Christian history and informaldiscussion sessions of the concepts of human spirituality and relationship. Academic leaders andprofessionals from the locale would be invited to offer informal presentations from their specificfields of expertise. 52  
  53. 53. IMC  CAMPAIGN  STRATEGIESCurrent operational planning and development for Holy Archangels Orthodox Christian RetreatCenter will implement a website, blog page, Facebook page and YouTube and Twitter accounts.A thorough social media strategic plan was developed in June 2012 during the SMC program atDrury and will provide the structure necessary to integrate these modes of communication intothe planned IMC strategy.These platforms will serve as the primary points of advertising and promotion for the pilotprograms serving the university student target audience planned for 2013.A short-run production of 4-color brochures and posters will augment the campaign to announcethe event on the campuses of Drury and Missouri State University, linking students to the on-linepresence and social media platform of Holy Archangels. The entire campaign would focus uponthe development of retreat center activities tailored specifically to the needs and preferences ofuniversity students and would be presented as “Our Weekend in the Woods.”The website will provide an overview of the organization, including the history of developmentwhich includes international retreat programs serving university students in America, Europe andthe Near East. The information conveyed through the website will present the religiousfoundation of the retreat center to insure no prospective guest is surprised by the affiliation oroutward expression of Holy Archangels.An institutional Facebook page representing Holy Archangels OCRC will be utilized as anaugment to the website presence, integrating the posting of photographs and YouTube videosegments from previous retreat events in America and abroad which are connected to theMissouri facility. Facebook will be the central social media interface, incorporating blogcomments and spontaneous Twitter tweets focused on the event—beforehand, during and after. 53  
  54. 54. YouTube will remain the repository for videos associated with retreat events, allowing universitystudents to share their own videos during or after an event with Holy Archangels. 54  
  55. 55. APPENDICES 55  
  57. 57. Pre-Screening QuestionnaireWe are graduate students at Drury University currently enrolled in an advertising research class.As a part of our final class project, we are conducing a focus group about retreat centers. Thefocus group will last about one hour and while we cannot offer you compensation for yourparticipation, we will provide dinner and refreshments. We need some additional informationfrom you before the focus group begins. Thank you for your participation. 1. Name: 2. Age: 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 3. Sex: M F 4. Activities or clubs you are a part of: 5. Major or program of study: 6. How many retreats have you attended, if any? 7. Are you comfortable being recorded during this focus group? Yes No 8. Our focus group will be held on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2012 at 9:00 p.m. We will be meeting in Shewmaker. 9. If you are able to attend this session and would like to participate, please fill in the following: a. Email: b. Phone: 57  
  58. 58. Informed Consent FormPurpose of this StudyThe purpose of this study is to understand the experiences and preferences of college studentsaged 18-24 regarding retreat centers.Expectations of Study ParticipantsStudents who choose to participate in this focus group will be asked to discuss their experiences,knowledge and opinions of any retreats they have attended or could envision themselvesattending in the future. The focus group will consist of eight to twelve participants led indiscussion by a group moderator. This group will be audio and video taped and should last aboutan hour.Potential RisksThere are no potential risks, health or stress related, involved with this study. If any participantfeels uncomfortable during any time throughout the study, the participant is free to end thesession with no penalty, no questions asked.Compensation and BenefitsThis study does not provide its participants with compensation. Involvement is voluntary. Dinnerand refreshments will be available.ConfidentialityAll information collected during this session will be available only to the moderator and HolyArchangels Orthodox Christian Retreat Center. No statement made during the session will belinked to an individual participant. Participants are free to withdraw at any time during the studyfor any reason.Questions/Contact InformationIf you have any questions or comments regarding the focus group session contact BrettHenderson at, Courtney Mellinger at or FatherTheodore Niklasson at have read and understood all of the above information and agree to participate in the focusgroup study. I understand that my participation is completely voluntary and I have received acopy of this information.Participant: ______________________________________________ Date: ____________ 58  
  59. 59. Focus Group Moderator GuideObjective/Informational NeedsThe purpose of this primary qualitative research is to understand the preferences of collegestudents aged 18-24 regarding retreat centers to determine an appropriate integrated marketingcampaign strategy. Holy Archangels Orthodox Christian Retreat Center anticipates gainingclient/consumer insight by analyzing focus group participants’ answers and discussions ofquestions related to retreat centers. Holy Archangels OCRC also anticipates developing furtherresearch. We need information regarding the past experiences of college students in regards toretreat centers, as well as their preferences for future retreats they may conduct or participate in.Their insights, opinions, attitudes and perceptions of retreat centers will be vital in conductingthis primary research.Moderator Guidelines 1. Introduce yourself to participants. Welcome them to the focus group and thank them for taking time out of their schedule to participate. 2. Verify that all those participating have read and signed the Informed Consent Form. They should also all have a copy. 3. Remind participants that if they have any questions or concerns regarding the study, to contact Brett or Courtney and remind them that they may leave at any time. 4. Use the questions provided to you as a discussion guide, but listen intently to participant responses to ensure that additional, probing questions can be asked for clarification or more understanding. 5. If you ask a probing or follow-up question, remain as un-biased as possible. 6. If a participant responds with a one-word answer, do not as “why?” so we do not pressure these students. 7. Include all participants in the session. Notice those who are quiet and encourage them to speak their mind. Avoid allowing one or a few participants to dominate the conversations. 8. Avoid any cultural signs that convey your thoughts. These include nodding, shaking your head, saying yes, good, wrong, etc. 9. Neutral statements such as ok and uh huh are preferred. 10. Attempt to end the session within one hour.Discussion GuideIntroductionHello, my name is _______________. Thank you so much for taking the time to participate inour focus group today. This session is part of our research project for an integrated marketingcourse here at Drury. I will be the discussion moderator today and the group members of theclass (say names) will be assisting me today. 59  
  60. 60. PurposeThe purpose of this study is to understand the experiences and preferences of college studentsregarding retreat centers. You have been chosen to participate because you are all collegestudents aged 18-24.Discussion Group Rules For the next hour, I’m going to ask you a few questions about retreat centers. I would liketo hear your opinions. Please speak your mind and contribute to the conversation. There are noright or wrong answers; we are simply interested in finding out your attitudes, opinions andperceptions. This discussion is simply an educational research experience. We would like to record the discussion in order to more effectively collect the data.Please speak one at a time in a loud and clear manner, so that we will be able to hear theinformation at another time and better analyze the outcome of this session. Anything said within this group is confidential. You will not be labeled individually by aresponse you say. To do this, we will have a code name in the transcript later created. If you feel uncomfortable at anytime throughout the next hour, please feel free to removeyourself from the session.IcebreakerLet’s all go around the room and say your favorite vacation spot.Main Discussion 1. [Straightforward/ Direct factual] Have you ever attended a retreat center? a. Prompts: summer camp, retreat, hiking expedition b. What was the reason for attending? 2. [Elaboration/ Idealization] What is your idea of an ideal retreat center? 3. [Projective/ Word Association] When thinking of remote retreat locations in mountain settings, what words come to mind when you hear the following characteristics: a. Forests b. Wild animals c. Hiking trails 60  
  61. 61. d. Bonfires e. Snakes f. Canoes g. Fishing h. Archery4. [Straightforward/ Direct Factual] At retreats you have attended, what kind of lodging was provided? a. Prompts: cabins, dormitories, hotel style, # people per room, shared bathrooms, common kitchen, cafeteria or restaurant style?5. [Straightforward/ Direct Factual] If you had the funds available, how far would you travel to reach the location of a remote retreat?6. [Elaboration/ Contrast] During various retreat events you have attended, what types of services and activities did the retreat center provide? a. Prompts: sports, fishing, canoeing, hiking, educational workshops, bible study, nature studies b. How many people attended with you during the event?7. [Elaboration/ Grand Tour] Tell me about a typical retreat event or summer camp you have experienced. Describe who suggested the choice of location (parents, friends, yourself), what your experiences were on arrival, during the event and on the trip home: a. Prompts: that is, what were your impressions as you departed? … “Glad to be leaving;” “Sorry it is over;” “It all happened so fast;” “I never want to leave!” etc.) 61  
  62. 62. 8. [Projective/ Sentence completion] Complete the following sentence. “During our retreat event, the retreat center staff was _____________.”9. [Elaboration/ Contrast] In what ways is a retreat event different from a vacation?10. [Elaboration/ Idealization] If you were free to choose any time of year to attend a peaceful and quiet retreat event, what time of year would seem ideal to you?11. [Elaboration/ Hypothetical-Interaction] Imagine you are at a retreat center and it is the middle of a warm summer day. What would you be doing?12. [Projective/ Personification] If a retreat center in a rugged remote area could be thought of as a person or a celebrity, who would that person be?13. [Elaboration] Describe your favorite memory from the very best retreat or summer camp you ever attended.14. [Projection/ Sentence Completion] Complete the following sentence. “The type of people who would attend an outdoor retreat event held at a religious location would be ________________.”15. [Straightforward/ Structural] If individuals of a religious group maintained the retreat center, could that keep you from considering attending an event there?16. [Projection/ Sentence Completion] Complete the following sentence. “My college friends and I were invited to attend a sports retreat at a religious monastery in the mountains. We were all ___________ about the idea.”17. [Projective/ Shopping List] This is a category list of activities tailored for different groups at a religious retreat center. Briefly describe the approximate age and types of people who would attend each of these types of events: a. List A: Afternoon soccer match; midnight bonfire; canoeing; hiking 62