In accordance with the social media strategy, there are many tactics that may help us improving the marketing results. In this point, social media platforms evolve quite rapidly, hence paving the way for innovative tactics. Some of these could be:
- Sweepstakes do not bring in ideas like contests but are a valuable source of followers and data. Unlike in contests, the winners are chosen at random. Offer many prizes to generate more leads.
- Encourage fan photos, comment on them and make fan engagement a central component of your social media presence.
- Facebook places is a way of letting users “check in” to venues or places in a way that let their friends know where they are, hence improving the destination exposure among their network.
- Pinterest boards are a great place to showcase the merchandise products and redirect the user to the online store. Also to upload videos and redirect the user to the booking platform.
- Enable video upload within the destination’s mobile App to let tourist contribute with their best videos on the destination’s experiences. This could be driven by a permanent contest, where the videos may be watched and voted through the App, letting viewers leave their creative reviews.
What other tactics would you consider?
In accordance with the content strategy, there are many tactics that may bring good results. As with all tactics, creativity and innovation are a must to keep streamlining the marketing system. Some of these could be:
- Create innovative storytelling formats such as comic books for the youngest target groups to make the destination stand out in their minds and encourage them to become followers and contributors.
- Use images instead of text whenever possible to convey ideas and emotions. Good images catch the readers’ attention and create good expectations of the text. An image is worth a thousand words!
- Tell stories about other destinations so as to be perceived as more authentic in your claims as a values-driven change agent, and ultimately position the destination as genuinely mission driven.
- Organize storytelling training seminars for all kinds of stakeholders. This is a key tactic to leverage the stakeholders’ collective talent and knowledge. Such empowerment is crucial to boost the content creation, and it is also a life-changing experience!
- Create a story database with inspirational content that may help in finding ideas to compose new content pieces. Such database should encompass not only written but also multimedia story formats to help in the digital storytelling production.
What other tactics would you consider?
Beyond the new types of marketing activities related to content and social media, there are always other tactics to take into consideration when intending to communicate a message, create an emotional connection, or convey the brand values. Some of these could be:
- Send creative Press releases providing all the key elements (photos, quotes, links, chronology, etc.) in a different format and tone to make it stand out. PitchEngine.com is a great tool for that.
- Use selective and accurately targeted advertising in social media, selected websites, search engines, industry and special interest magazines, etc. Outbrain, StumbleUpon, and Zemanta may help.
- Develop a mobile application to empower tourists and other stakeholders in connecting with each other, searching and sharing information, viewing and producing content, and booking or buying.
- Show the human side of the organization with images of the employees and partners in some of the communication materials, to foster an emotional connection with your prospect targets.
- Organise press-trips, bloggers’ trips, instagramers’ trips, youtubers’ trips to leverage the readership and reach of these powerful influencers. Beyond the influencers that are engage at the outset, it is convenient to keep on identifying appropriate influencers to reach new target segments.
What other tactics would you consider?
A particular kind of infrastructure for the development of Marketing 3.0 is the social media corporate page or account. This page is the platform where all the content delivered throughout the network can be found, and so it is the face of the brand in the eyes of the brand followers. Such platforms are continuously introducing innovations to provide more value to its users, for they are likely to provide increasing opportunities to interact and gather intelligence about the customers’ behaviors, motivations and desires. The main recommended platforms are:
- Facebook page is to be a key tool for engaging tourists and contributors for its scope and enormous functionalities. You may create many pages for different regions and languages, but also manage all regions from the same page and also targeting each update by language and region. Furthermore, you may use the micro-targeted Facebook Ads which lets you show ads to specific audiences based on location, interests, age, profession, etc.
- Linkedin page is to be one of the main information hubs for corporate stakeholders. In Linkedin it is better to have only one company page for all target audiences. However, you can target each of the shared content updates by geographical area, in a way that only the audience you specify will see the content update in their Linkedin newsfeed. You may also create ads for your target audience just by creating an ad manager account, and then track the results of the marketing campaigns.
- Pinterest page works like a board where the user pins her –most users are women- favorite images and videos found on the internet. These can be liked, commented and shared by friends. Pinterest is turning into an ideal tool for marketing brands, and also an excellent platform for holding contests, though you need to publish the details of the contest on your website or other social channels. It is also convenient for marketing merchandise, showing corporate culture or doing market research.
- Twitter profiles need to be created for every language you want to work with. An effective strategy requires not only quick answers but also continuous tracking of the trending topics in the target region. In this regard, it is possible to run advanced searches so as to monitor the conversation about your brand by language and region. In twitter there are promoted tweets which you can place in the timelines of your target audience, as well as whenever someone searches for its hashtag.
- Google+ page allows users to post and share all kinds of contents to make a very attractive site. It is important to note that whenever someone searches something on Google, the search engine uses information from Google+ pages in the results, including the Google+ users contents posted in their account. Therefore, corporate marketers should take this into account, as having a Google+ account is crucial to improving the brand’s SEO.
- Instagram page allows the brand to create synergies with the Facebook fan page and access an increasing amount of keen photographers who like sharing their pictures in the social media. This platform has one of the most active user communities, and so it is the perfect one to organize photo contests about the destination’s experiences and spots. Further there are leading “instagramers” with a large amount of followers who may be used to draw attention of their loyal audience to the destination.
What other social media platforms do you recommend, and for what purpose?
In relation to all the new strategies to deploy Destination marketing 3.0, there are their corresponding infrastructures and tactics to implement the strategic guidelines. As explained for every strategy, the existing tools and activities are to keep on functioning as long as they are profitable enough. Actually, one of the roles of the Open Innovation System is to keep on streamlining the marketing operations. When drafting this Operational Plan it necessary to explain for every infrastructure or tactic: its goals, its constituents, budget, priority level, person(s) responsible for its implementation and key success factors.
The new infrastructure consists of website, web-based platforms:
- Corporate website is the main communication hub for all stakeholders. This is the hub where most of the “Call to action” featured in the content have to redirect, and so there has to be landing pages for every call to action. Furthermore, it is also the hub where contents are posted and linked to the social media channels for every target audience. It may include a blog, a forum, and the landing pages. It also contains the Booking platform, the Open Innovation platform and the Online Store.
- Open innovation platform is the hub where innovators are called to be registered and to sign up for related events. In the case of non-professional contributors it is the place to submit their content or their ideas, whereas in the case of professional contributors this becomes an essential tool, as the innovation challenges for professionals are fully managed through this platform and entail more complex procedures than the non-professional ones.
- Booking platform is one of the key infrastructures for the new marketing system as the intention is for it to become the main sales channel for tourism products. Through the delivered content, there is an increasing publicity of the booking platform –within the website-, thus increasing the target audience awareness of the new online channel and the overall sales through it. The goal is to make it the central sales channel as it is the most profitable for the destination and its businesses.
- Online store is another new sales channel but for the merchandise products. Based also on the website platform it is to become the main distribution channel for the new merchandise products. Through advertising content in the social media and the expected popularity of the destination branded designs, this is to become an important source of revenue streams. It is also a way to collect data about the destination followers when they submit their order.
- Network database. This is a crucial infrastructure, as important as it is to know our network members. As long as the followers, clients, contributors and other engaged individuals establish relationship with the destination it is convenient to register their data and add information on how they engage with the destination activities and contents. The better we know them the better we can optimize the marketing strategies to engage them.
Do you think of any other necessary marketing infrastructure?
In accordance with the product development strategy, there are also some significant changes in the sales or distribution strategy. In summary, the sales strategy may be synthesized in three channels:
- Traditional channels for tourism products: travel agencies and tour-operators selling commodity products, and direct booking to every service.
- New channels for the new tourism products: Special Interest travel agents and tour-operators; mission driven travel agents and tour-operators marketing the life-changing experiences to value driven customers; booking platform in the destination website centralizing all services and leveraging the increasing brand awareness and interest.
- Distribution channels for the merchandise products: retail stores and online store.
The main power of the new sales system is not only the new product lines and channels, but mostly the growth of the brand awareness that drives prospective customers to the destination’s booking platform and online store, which in addition are the most profitable channels, providing direct connection with the client and empowering the destination to control customer satisfaction and collect intelligence data.
Needless to say this booking platform is applicable only to DMOs, as long as they hold the destination brand and are providing service to all the destination’s businesses. Furthermore this booking platform is intended to provide a low cost sales channel to the destination businesses, charging them only a service to cover its cost, for it may be considered a non-profit service.
||Current TA and TTOO
||Special Interest TA
||Mission driven TA
||Online store & booking
While the travel agents are used to leverage their marketing influence along the initial stages, over time the online channels are expected to become the main sales channel.
Would you consider other sales channels?
Apart from the tourism products, the new marketing system intends to leverage the open innovation contributors’ talent in creating attractive designs for merchandise products such as t-shirts, caps, umbrellas, bags, school material, and other souvenirs or gadgets. There is a vast potential of revenue streams so long as the brand becomes popular and the marketing team manages to develop a portfolio of quality products with attractive designs.
Moreover, merchandise products such as t-shirts play a role as little advertising platforms, which in turn have the power of starting conversations on the destination and its experiences, thus working as conversation originator, and conversations lead to storytelling.
For such a product line, there should be at least a Product Manager in charge of managing the product line, searching for new designs and new product concepts to be developed with the help of the open innovation system and its contributors. This contribution process could also function as a contest, where there is free participation but also a set of winners according to followers’ votes. Such votes work as a market survey on which designs are more likely to be sold, and therefore guarantee a certain success in the launch of the branded products featuring the winning designs.
As in all contests, the winning designers should be rewarded both with a prize in accordance with their preferences and with some kind of social recognition. Ultimately, some of these designs may end up becoming like destination icons, for the contribution in the contests should be specially advertised not only throughout the community of usual contributors, but also targeting professional contributors such as graphic designers.
Do you think of key strategy tips to develop the merchandise product line?
Beyond the new products lines development, it is convenient to keep on improving the existing ones based on enhancing value and reducing efforts for the tourist. The value is to be brought by improving the experience, the feelings and the service quality; whereas the efforts may be reduced by eliminating discomforts and uncertainties. The Whitepaper “Tourism Competitiveness strategy” is to explain all these factors in detail.
To assess and improve these factors it is necessary to listen to the tourists to know their opinions. This may be done through polls on the site or more efficiently by stimulating and facilitating interaction with them through their smartphones while they are living the experience and right after to allow them to post critical and creative reviews on how to improve the experience. For such purpose it is necessary that free wifi is available in the critical spots.
Further, regular benchmarking trips should be sponsored by the destination –for instance, as a reward for outstanding contributors- to visit reference destinations where to learn best practices in management, marketing, product development, or just to live other life-changing experiences that may inspire the development of new ones in the destination.
The Product Managers are the responsible executives for the improvement of the product competitiveness. They are therefore responsible for organizing the tourist satisfaction surveys, monitoring the reviews of the visitors through the App or the social media platforms, as well as to organize the benchmarking trips and to train staff and service suppliers according to their need for skills development.
Would you consider other strategies to improve competitiveness?
The life-changing experiences are what sets the destination apart from others and somehow the main reason why the destination is to become popular through the stories. Along with the marketing contents, the life-changing experiences are developed through co-creation between local suppliers and creative stakeholders within the open innovation system.
Taking the value proposition and mission statement as the inspirational mantras, along with some reference benchmarks, the product innovation challenge is about leveraging the stakeholder imagination by stimulating contribution permanently, through creative reviews right after the experience and also through product development contests and co-creation workshops.
There has to be a Product Manager in charge of organizing these events and supervising the developed ideas to assess their feasibility and adequacy, and eventually to put them into practice.
Out of the aforementioned events, innovation is constantly encouraged by rewarding well elaborated ideas and customer reviews bringing in ideas on how the experiences could be improved. Furthermore, the proposed experiences are flexible and customizable for every client, hence generating a wider variety of stories and ideas for product development.
Would you consider other strategies to develop life-changing experiences?
One of the main innovations of Destination marketing 3.0 is the development of new product lines which require specific strategies for its creation and sale. The Special Interest experiences have to be developed in cooperation with expert consultants and the Special interest Travel Agents who are to become our Channel Partners at the outset.
They are to target the Special Interest travelers, one of the key targets identified within the profile of Tourists 3.0, characterized by a high educational level and income, high interest and respect for the destination’s culture and environment, as well as a will for contribution to the greater good in many cases. The experiences themselves consist of tourism activities dedicated to specific motivations, such as sports, cultural & educational activities, specific leisure, discovery or adventure activities, etc.
The strategy to decide which experiences to develop in the destination is based on the Mckinsey matrix, to be explained in detail in the Whitepaper “Business Portfolio Strategy”. To explain it briefly, the method consists of the following steps:
- Assess segments & niche attractiveness: demand seasonality, tourist expense, associated marketing costs, necessary investment, etc. (see the complete list in the “External Audit section”) weighing all the factors to elaborate a synthetic index for each segment.
- Assess destination competitiveness for each segment: assess destination compliance with the segment key success factors, evaluate cost and capability of solving competitiveness gaps, and elaborate a synthetic index out of the assessed factors.
- Prioritize segments: draft the McKinsey matrix indicating competitiveness in one axis and attractiveness in the other axis, as a bi-dimensional diagram where the zero point is the minimum value for both. Then place every segment within the diagram according to the values of their synthetic indexes to visualize the segments where the destination may compete successfully and those that are most profitable. Finally, prioritize accordingly.
Would you consider other methods? If so, what method, and why?