What do we want? Thousands of Facebook likes! When do we want it? Right now! Why do we want it? Errr…
If travel marketers had a rand for every time a client said they wanted to be famous on Facebook, but couldn’t say why or what they wanted to achieve, they’d all be sitting on a beach in the Bahamas sipping piña coladas instead of updating your Facebook posts.
Instead, your CEO goes off to play golf and comes back with a clear-as-mud mandate: “We simply must be on Twitter and have one of those ‘hashtag thingymajigs’”.
And so it must be implemented. Without any regard for what the company hopes to achieve by expending its resources on Twitter or, worse still, any thought given to how the ‘hashtag thingymajig’ is going to be integrated within the company’s overall marketing strategy.
Although nearly every travel marketing campaign these days contains a hashtag, very few of them actually have a purpose. This is because marketers think they can take their traditional marketing campaigns online by slapping a hashtag on to them.
What this means for you is that there’s very little social interaction, no long-term brand benefit and failure to take in to account what makes the audience tick. The whole idea behind social media marketing is that there is already a conversation taking place, not to conjure up one.
Destination marketer and self-proclaimed DMO (Destination Marketing Organisation) Nerd at Sense of Place, Jim Brody, says people will not flock to a campaign simply because it has a hashtag. “The marketing idea needs to be solid before you attach a hashtag to it. You should never build a campaign to fit a hashtag, you must be a reflection of the brand statement and must connect with the promotion.”
Cogs in an integrated marketing wheel
While in this case, the CEO may be pinning all his marketing hopes on social media, it is but one cog in the wheel of an integrated marketing campaign that will generally not succeed unless you use various other marketing elements like a website, advertising, public relations and email marketing, among others.
As new marketing channels pop up daily and the barrage of marketing messages grows – let’s face it travel is an exceptionally competitive space – the attention span of your clients is becoming increasingly fragmented and your marketing efforts lost.
Travel companies have the best chance of getting their marketing messages seen and their brand exposed by ensuring it is displayed consistently across multiple channels, and those channels that are being consumed by their target market, not those that you simply ‘must be on’.
An integrated marketing campaign achieves your company’s goals by co-ordinating promotions across different channels in a complementary manner. The message is the same, delivered across multiple channels to a targeted audience whose needs you have examined and are striving to meet. And yes, you have to be patient because it takes time.
8 steps to creating an integrated marketing campaign:
- Think big. You need a captivating hook that will cut through all that marketing clutter. Something memorable, and better yet, shareable, on which to base your entire marketing campaign like the Best Job In The World campaign held in Queensland a few years ago.
- Think results. What will define your success? If you’re going to be spending marketing money, you need to define what you want to achieve and measure that success. Remember, goals are more than just getting Facebook likes. There has to be a benefit to your organisation for getting those likes, more than brag factor on the golf course.
- Think audience. Really get to know who your customers are to deliver a campaign that surprises and delights them, and cuts through the clutter. What they’re interested in, what their desires are and, most importantly, where you are likely to find them.
- Think what. Define how your big idea will inspire them and what content you need to communicate it. Based on your audience’s profile – are they time poor, do they like to engage, are they educated – develop content ideas that will captivate them no matter what platform you use to communicate to them. The key, however, is to produce that content once and repurpose it multiple times to suit the communication platform you’re using.
- Think hub. First step is to find an anchor. It could be an event. It could even be a website. Essentially, it lies at the centre of your entire strategy and is the point to which all your marketing efforts will direct.
- Think spokes. Once you’ve determined the platforms on which your audience are engaging, translate the content you have developed into each platform, remembering that what works for social media cannot necessarily be replicated exactly for other marketing channels like advertising and PR. Remember that effective marketing includes engagement, so be prepared to engage in conversations that emerge from these platforms. Don’t post and ignore your customers’ responses.
- Think schedule. To see the campaign through to the end, you need to create a schedule and dedicate resources to it just as you would any project in your organisation, and then you need to press the ‘launch’ button.
- Think numbers. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. You’ve already defined what success looks like so as your campaign runs its time to measure whether you’re achieving it. And if not, tweak, tweak, tweak. Be willing to change your tactics to meet your goals and not throw good money after bad.