Month: July 2016

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Research on the target audiences

When formulating the Content Strategy, the first step is to refer to the communication goals in relation to each of the target audiences. Then, from the goals for every audience, it’s time to decide what type of contents and formats are more likely to effectively convey the intended message or to motivate the intended action by the target audience. In this step it is necessary to conduct research on the target audiences’ needs, concerns, preferences, motivations and habits to figure out which is the appropriate content for every occasion. Together with the research on the social media channels, it is necessary to find out, for every target audience:

  • What kind of issues arouse their interest and attention?
  • Which social media platforms do they use and for what purposes? What kind of content do they read or view for every purpose?
  • What supports do they use when using social media and reading or viewing contents?
  • What types of formats and styles do they prefer for each type of content?
  • Which is the preferred extension of the content pieces and their flexibility in this regard?
  • Do they miss any type of content? Is there any type of content they would appreciate receiving on a regular basis? What types of content are they most likely to share?
  • How much time do they spend connected to the social media?
  • What activities and contents would motivate them to interact with our brand in social media: participating in contests, discussion forums, etc.?

Bear in mind that the content strategy should not only consider the different audiences and different formats adapted to the social media platforms and devices, but also what is the intended purpose of the content in relation to the audience: is it trying to entertain in order to gain brand awareness and popularity? Is it trying to educate in order to create concern? Is it trying to establish an emotional connection? Is it trying to encourage constituents in becoming brand ambassadors? Is it trying to motivate contribution to the content system?

To map out an engagement process applicable to the majority of the target audiences, there may be consideration of five main roles or engagement stages that most targets may take, so the content strategy has to consider that engagement has a sequential process as follows:

Follower > Client > Tourist > Contributor > Brand ambassador

Which other insights would you research on?

Co-creationMarketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Content strategy development stages

As the Content Marketing Institute defines, “content marketing is the marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience, with the objective of driving profitable customer action”. The marketing contents are created and delivered to educate, inspire, entertain and ultimately to motivate sharing, interaction and engagement with the brand’s marketing activities and its mission purpose. In destination marketing 3.0, the content marketing encompasses not only images, text, audio and video, but also graphic designs to be used for branded merchandise products.

The content system has three development stages:

In the first stage, along with some professional writers employed for these purposes, the priority is to engage the industry influencers who are more likely to contribute in content creation for their expertise in doing so: bloggers, journalists, travel industry leaders, NPO leaders, etc.  It’s time to leverage the most skilled and influential stakeholders to start developing the content creation and storytelling virtuous circle. As these are often busy professionals, sometimes it may suffice to have a partial contribution within a piece of content, as long as they feel it is their own creation, so as to deliver it to their follower audience with their signature, guaranteeing a broad readership.

In a second stage, the circle of contributors should expand encompassing the corporate employees outside the marketing team and the most committed community members. Through storytelling training courses, all these non-professional but potentially skilled writers and storytellers are to develop confidence and skills to eventually become talented contributors. In this stage, there could be schools included whose teachers are interested in developing these skills in their students, along with the motivation for the mission driven purpose. In this stage, there should be also included the co-marketing partnerships, consisting of a content delivery exchange with other mission driven partners, as long as both partners’ contents are relevant to both sets of audiences.

In the third stage, the network of contributors is to reach all kinds of profiles, and the content marketing system starts fuelling itself through the aforementioned creative activists who eventually take control of the brand. In this stage, the destination executives role is no longer about pushing stakeholders to convince them to contribute, but mostly about tracking the results and managing the operational system to streamline and develop communication and sales tactics. In this point, it is necessary to remark on the importance of following the conversations about the brand, the mission accomplishment and the stories, and prepare a strategy for managing crisis in case some issues threaten to damage the brand’s reputation.

These development phases are closely related to the network development strategies explained in the “Network development” section, where the specific strategies to engage every profile are explained.

Would you add other stages or include any relevant point in these three?

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Communication strategy

The communication strategy challenge showcases the strategic shift that entails embracing Marketing 3.0. As in the case of the targeting strategy, there first has to be a sound analysis about the cost-effectiveness of every marketing tactic and marketing channel used to reach the target groups, assessing also its strategic value in accessing the most profitable targets and achieving other key objectives, to eventually streamline the operational system.

Once the objectives are formulated, it’s necessary to foresee the transition process and set intermediate objectives along the path between the present starting point and the desired achievement at the end of the period for which the Plan is elaborated. These intermediate objectives are to be the turning points that determine when the communication strategy has to leap forward to the next transition stage.

Therefore, the strategy has to determine all these intermediate goals and their corresponding strategic shifts, which may consist of a change in the budget allocation –from one channel to another, for instance- or a deployment of a new channel. This way, the new marketing contents, channels and activities are to gain precedence in the overall budget, as long as they obtain the desired results and manage to optimize profitability. However, there has to be consideration of both the impact of the new marketing and its social media reach on the current –and specially the most profitable- customers, as well as the need to find the right balance between the new and the old marketing activities to keep on attracting the most profitable current clients.

Along with the content marketing system, the strategy has to take into account that the destination also intends to develop a business unit marketing branded products and to partner with mission driven travel agents which are to create significant marketing impact on the target audiences. Along with these channel partners, other mission driven partners should be taken into account to reach the desired targets, considering also co-marketing agreements with other mission driven destinations.

The communication strategy will therefore include a content strategy depicting the what, who, how, when, for who and for what purpose for all kinds of contents to be created; a social media strategy depicting which platforms to use, how to use them, for who, for what types of contents and for what purposes; and the traditional strategies foreseeing a progressive decrease in their budget allocation in favor of the new marketing powered by the open innovation system.

What other challenges do you foresee along the transition process?

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Communication goals

With the new marketing system, communication turns into a two-way conversation between the destination and all its stakeholders, who want to be listened to and want to contribute in the brand control and development. Therefore, the goals, the contents, the channels and the communication flows are to change radically over time. However, digital marketing is not to replace traditional marketing, but to integrate with it in order to enhance the marketing system capabilities.

Firstly, there are many goals to consider when formulating the communication strategy:

·  Increase brand or issue awareness ·   Letting stakeholders support your cause
·  Getting feedback from your constituents ·   Telling stories
·  Spur conversations about brand’s topics ·   Promoting events
·  Recruiting contributors ·   Connect with like-minded organizations
·  Getting people to participate in contests ·   Raising concern about a particular topic
·  Recruiting volunteers, trainees and employees ·   Knowing what is said about the brand
·  Building a community around a specific topic ·   Communicating mission achievements

 

When formulating the communication goals, it is necessary to state the target audiences they refer to, as well as to prioritize both the goals and their application to every target audience. It is also necessary to convert them into specific and measurable objectives.

Do you think of other relevant goals to include?

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & execution

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Defining target profiles

To fulfil these roles there are many possible candidate profiles, some of which may play many roles at a time. This is actually the goal of the marketing strategies, to engage these targets in playing as many roles as possible, within their limitations. These are the following:

  • Local community members: followers, clients, contributors, brand ambassadors, volunteers and employees
  • Local community leaders: followers, clients, professional and non-professional contributors, brand ambassadors, volunteers and employees
  • Employees: followers, clients, contributors and brand ambassadors
  • Industry leaders and influencers (executives, experts, journalists, bloggers, politicians, etc.): followers, professional contributors and brand ambassadors.
  • Non-profit organizations & members: followers, clients, contributors, professional contributors, brand ambassadors, volunteers and partners.
  • Travel agents and Tour-operators: partners & sponsors, followers, brand ambassadors and professional contributor
  • Educational institutions (schools, universities & business schools): partners, brand ambassadors and they could bring in students as followers, clients, employees, volunteers and contributors.
  • Local government: investor, partner & sponsor, brand ambassador and professional contributor
  • Value driven communities (organizations and creative activists): followers, tourists, clients, contributors, brand ambassadors, volunteers and partners (in the case of organizations)
  • Communities of consumers: tourists, followers, clients, contributors, and even brand ambassadors
  • Financial institutions: investors, partners & sponsors, professional contributors, brand ambassadors
  • Skilled professionals: professional contributors, followers, brand ambassadors, employees
  • Private institutions: investors, partners & sponsors, professional contributors, brand ambassadors

Would you consider any other profile?

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & execution

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Defining targets’ roles

Beyond the target tourists, the segmentation strategy formulation should also consider other groups and individuals who are not to become tourists necessarily but are also constituents of the marketing strategies, as they are about to play one or many important roles in the destination development. Hereby are explained all the types of roles that may be played by some of these constituents:

  • Tourist: occasionally or frequently visiting the destination
  • Client: buys merchandise products
  • Follower: follows the destination social media sites, shares content and votes in contests
  • Contributor: actively participates in bringing ideas and creating content through the open innovation system for non-qualified contributors.
  • Professional contributor: cooperates with the destination by bringing in his professional knowledge and skills to the innovation challenges reserved to qualified contributors. Here there should also be consideration for those leaders participating in the executive board.
  • Brand ambassador: actively advocates for the brands value proposition in all networks.
  • Volunteer: participates in volunteer programs in cooperation with Non-profit organizations.
  • Investor: brings in capital needed to financially support the destination platform start-up
  • Partners & Sponsors: establish long-term cooperation deals with the destination
  • Employee: works full-time, part-time or collaborates as a freelancer

 

Do you think of any other role that is relevant for the development of the destination?

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & execution

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Targeting or segmentation strategy

The formulation of the targeting strategy starts by analyzing the profitability of the current targets and the occupancy gaps. First of all, from the results of the Marketing Audit, there should be a table drafted featuring the occupancy rates throughout the year and the percentage of tourists corresponding to each target, indicating for every period the average profitability of every target, as a result of the relation between their expenditure and the associated marketing costs for attracting this target.

With this table or graph, it may be easy to identify the profitability of every season together with the occupancy gaps that could be filled in. Ideally, the diagram should also show when the occupancy gaps correspond to specific weekdays, as in many cases the occupancy is concentrated in the weekends.

The targeting strategy formulation is to be reflected in a diagram showing how the assigned priority level evolves for every target over the period for which the Marketing Plan is elaborated.  The targeting priority roadmap should reflect how the highest priority levels are assigned –and so is the bulk of the marketing budget- to the most profitable targets, as long as there is significant potential for increasing their revenue streams. Secondly, there should be consideration of the most profitable target groups with potential to fill in the occupancy gaps.

Having started by optimizing the combination of the current target groups, destination marketing 3.0 is to increasingly focus its attention on a set of target groups identified under the label of Tourists 3.0 or Creative Society. They are to be the ones who fuel the new marketing system and therefore -regardless of their expenditure- are of capital strategic importance.  They encompass many groups:

  • Special interest travelers: these are motivated for specific types of experiences (sports, nature, hobbies, etc.), have a high education level, search for spiritual comfort, are values-driven and are keen on telling stories about their experiences as long as they feel an emotional connection with the destination they have visited. They also are among the highest spending targets.
  • Concerned travelers: these are the ones usually looking for ecotourism or responsible tourism destinations, as they are concerned about the impacts of the tourism activity in the destination’s environment and local community. They are to become active advocates for mission-driven ventures addressing their concerns and embracing their values and ideals.
  • Millennials: this is the new generation of adults –from 18 to 34 years old- showing significantly different habits and values than their predecessors. They are also concerned about the impact of business activities in the environment and the social communities, and are active advocates in and outside the social media for the brands embracing their values.
  • Teenagers and younger generations: these are the generations to be educated in the values of sustainability, and to whom the destination experience has to convey an educational message to raise awareness and concern about sustainability issues. Furthermore, they may become active contributors in creating contents and storytelling through cooperation programs with schools.

Over time, focusing the marketing efforts on the new targets helps the destination in gaining these new clients, while retaining the most profitable ones, to achieve an optimized balance of target groups. Apart from these, the continuous search of new profitable niches and segments should be encouraged.

Do you think of other interesting segments?

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & execution

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Positioning or brand strategy

The positioning or brand strategy defines the identity that the destination intends to project in the outbound markets, as a way to synthetically communicate the destination’s main attributes, create an expectation in the mind of the potential tourists and set itself apart from competitors. When formulating the positioning strategy there are three concepts to be defined:

  • Core identity defines in a sentence the intended image of the destination brand.
  • Broad identity encompasses all attributes that shape the destination’s personality and the values that have to become the institutional standards of behavior.
  • Value proposition describes the functional, emotional and spiritual benefits that the destination is offering to its visitors.

Altogether this provides the destination executives with a structured set of ideas to be used in the communication infrastructure and marketing activities.

In destination marketing 3.0, the positioning strategy has to embed the mission driven purpose at its core, as the success of the destination is to come from the appreciation of the business contribution to the community well-being and the positive cultural transformation it makes on the visitors through the life-changing experiences.

As for the mission definition, the positioning strategy should be defined in the executive board with the participation of the community leaders, main stakeholders and industry influencers, as this is the strategy reflecting the spirit of the mission. Furthermore, as long as the positioning strategy defines the set of values that are to guide the destination’s institutional behavior, this is a key issue in which all leaders have to feel identified and committed.

Since the community leaders are the key decision makers on these issues, it would be convenient to assess the fit of the proposed set of values within the community culture, so as to evaluate the feasibility of the cultural change, as long as this is necessary. In that case, a cultural change strategy also has to be drafted, to be enclosed with the network engagement and development strategy.

In marketing 3.0, only originality, authenticity and honesty are effective, because the reputation of the brand is under control of the creative activists and other like-minded personalities holding the trust of their communities, and they are the first ones to spread the stories throughout the social networks. The brand integrity, determined by the loyalty to the stated values throughout time is an nonnegotiable must in the path to success for destinations embracing marketing 3.0.

Would you consider other methods to define the positioning strategy?

StrategyStrategy planning & execution

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Drafting strategy goals

The mission statement has to be turned into a set of goals to orient the strategy formulation and into a set of specific and measurable objectives to optimize the organizational efforts. This set of strategic goals is directly related to the strategies of the Plan:

  • Targeting or segmentation goals: attracting a set of targets to optimize profitability, balance demand seasonality, foster brand advocacy and contribution to the content system.
  • Positioning goals: developing an identity that conveys the mission pursuit and the value proposition related to the life-changing experiences, along with the destination’s attributes.
  • Communication goals: developing a content marketing system to create and deliver stories adapted to all targets in order to engage them in marketing the destination and the mission driven purpose.
  • Network engagement and development goals: developing a network of partners, followers and brand ambassadors to fuel the content generation and contribute to the mission accomplishment.
  • Product development goals: developing memorable life-changing experiences according to the mission statement to ultimately foster socio-cultural transformation.
  • Business development goals: shifting towards a more cost-effective sales system and expanding revenue streams with new business units

Furthermore, these goals have to be converted into a series of specific, measurable and time-bound objectives which are to be the reference upon which performance is tracked throughout the implementation of the marketing plan. These are to determine the key set of performance indicators that is further explained in the Implementation section. Beyond the marketing goals and objectives there should be consideration of the mission related goals and objectives to orientate efforts and measure their accomplishment.

Would you consider other relevant goals?

Marketing 3.0Strategy planning & executionSustainabilityTourism marketing

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Building the vision and the mission

If the Marketing Audit depicts the portrait of the destination’s present situation, the Vision depicts the portrait of what the destination is to become upon accomplishment of the Mission, and the Mission is the ultimate reason for the destination development. To define the Vision, Mission and goals, it is convenient to engage stakeholders through the following steps:

  • Community leaders’ mobilization. The first step is to create awareness of the need for a new destination marketing model, to boost the tourism business in favor of the community in order to address critical issues and concerns, namely poverty and the environment. Community leaders are the first to participate in the discussion as they should also be the first to be engaged with the new marketing system, though in the following phases other community members should also be consulted. These have to be defined:
  • Current and future challenges affecting the local communities to be addressed
  • Specific constituents of these challenges, namely those at the bottom of the pyramid
  • Other concerns related to environmental and cultural issues
  • Voting proposal and opening participation. Once the community leaders agree upon a mission proposal addressing the critical issues they consider as priorities, this should be voted upon by all interested community members, who could also bring up their ideas.
  • Refining and approving mission. In accordance with the votes and suggestions, the mission proposal may be refined and approved without voting if there is consensus.
  • Tourism experience value proposition. Then, there should be the drafting of the part of the mission statement related to the tourism experience value proposition, which is associated with the socio-cultural transformation connected to the life-changing experiences. This step also requires the participation of industry leaders, influencers and stakeholders in general, who are to become key brand ambassadors for the destination’s development. This part of the mission statement intends only to orientate and inspire the life-changing experiences of the product developers, and so does not need the approval of the whole community, though their contribution should be encouraged.

It is necessary to highlight the importance of engaging as many industry leaders, influencers and creative activists as possible from the outset, as long as the new destination marketing development needs to leverage their influential power, especially at the beginning.

Therefore, by engaging them from the outset and giving them the chance to bring in their ideas, and showing them somehow that their contribution has been incorporated into the mission guidelines, they will feel as if they are co-creators of the new project and will establish an emotional connection with the destination, which in turn encourages them to keep on contributing, so long as they are willing to tell a story of success in which they took part. Such engagement should be maintained by inviting them to participate in regular meetings to track the evolution of the destination development and mission accomplishment.

Would you consider any other step in building the vision and the mission statement?