The challenge of engaging the local community stakeholders requires its own marketing plan, usually known as internal marketing plan. This should be focused on the target stakeholders aimed at attracting in the first phase, encompassing the key partners and the local community. The Plan’s goals are to explain the vision, mission and the value propositions of the Destination Marketing Plan 3.0, encompassing the community related issues to be addressed through the destination development, the sociocultural transformation through life-changing experiences and the values that have to drive the organizational standards of behavior and the stakeholder community.

The Plan should distinguish between the different target audiences to assess convenience for targeted communication strategies. For instance, the professional audience and target partners may require a business oriented presentation, whereas for the bulk of the community members the presentation would be rather storytelling oriented.

Considering that many of the key partners and community leaders have been engaged since the mission definition, most of the effort should be focused on the local community members who have not yet been engaged with the project. For such purpose it is convenient to explain to them the project vision through a compelling story that connects first with their emotions and human spirit, to awaken interest for a deeper understanding of the marketing system.

Once these community members are interested, it is necessary to explain to them the operational functioning for them as potential contributors, and a series of communication tools should be developed to help them understand what their contribution experience is likely to be about. Such communication tools could be brochures, CD with video showcasing contributor’s fiction stories, web-based interactive presentation, social media based forums to solve queries, customer service hotline, etc. Finally, co-creation and storytelling workshops should be organized to empower potential contributors to participate in a first content creation contest with prizes for contributions in many categories so as to reward all valuable contributors proportionally and boost engagement.

To make a compelling story for this purpose it is convenient to use one main character similar to the audience profiles as the protagonist. Such a character should have similar problems, needs, concerns, fears and aspirations as most local community members, to allow them to identify with him or her and connect with the story. Then, the story shows the character finding out how the new destination model addresses all their needs and concerns, and how the open innovation system gives them an opportunity to contribute, showcase their skills and gain social reputation.

What other points would you consider when drafting the internal marketing strategy?

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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