As well as the whole marketing strategy, the shift towards a Marketing 3.0 approach entails a transition process in the business development strategy.
The starting point of developing the new business development strategy is marketing the mission-driven stories to and through the channel partners, as these hold good reputation and their power of influence needs to be leveraged especially in the early stages of the marketing 3.0 development in the destination. Such channel partners are also likely to contribute in the mission definition, market intelligence and in product development through co-creation. Channel partners are to be mainly travel agents, but retail partners also have to be taken into account for the sales of merchandising products.
Partners should be selected according to their mission and values, to make sure they hold enough credibility to deliver the stories and also to increase the likelihood of long-term collaboration. Furthermore, mission driven partners are more likely to build a relationship based upon fairness, transparency and win-win attitude. Although we should prioritize mission driven channel partners, conventional channel partners could also be taken into account especially during the transition process to the full Marketing 3.0 system.
As the destination gains reputation and brand awareness, it is expected to expand its network of brand ambassadors beyond the initial channel partners, especially throughout many communities, which are to become the main “business development agents”. In this way, the Destination Marketing shifts progressively from “Push” to “Pull” strategy, as long as the compelling stories become popular in the social networks and raise the destination’s brand awareness.
When designing the partnership strategy, we should assess the target partners according to the kind of value they are likely to bring in order to define the priorities over the short and long term:
- Channel partners bring in market insights for the mission definition & product development, and their circle of influence, who are likely to become the first creative activists. They are the key marketing partners at the outset of the development process.
- NPO brings volunteers who collaborate in the mission accomplishment. They also bring along brand integrity as they hold the best reputation among the communities. They are likely to be engaged as storytellers and brand ambassadors. They are of great strategic importance over the long term, even if they bring in little profit.
- Communities where creative activists play the role of opinion leaders. These are to become the bulk of the destination’s market over time.
- Schools interested in educating students in the values of environment protection, socio cultural transformation and poverty alleviation, have the opportunity to actively participate in mission driven activities and to exercise their creativity participating in some sections of the open innovation. Furthermore, students may be trained on how to tell stories as a communication skills development exercise to be used for mission driven purposes.
- Other groups might be seniors, special interest associations, etc.
Do you envision any other type of partner apart from the mentioned ones?