Category: Strategy

Strategy planning, strategy execution and business model design focused on collaborative modelling

Business trendsCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0

Destinations with a soul (I)

Most of us have experienced working with – as an employee, supplier or client – companies or visiting destinations with a soul, as well as working with companies or visiting destinations without one. The difference is not easily visible, but it can be perceived by sensing the spirit behind the people’s behaviour.

 When human relationships are only based on rights and obligations, often without a win-win approach, people work because they have to, rather than because they want to. They are demotivated and are unlikely to bring in any value beyond what they are paid for. In these types of firms and places, financial KPIs are the only metrics taken into account to measure the health of the organisation, and social problems more or less related to its operations are most likely disregarded or overlooked. These types of places have no soul.

Sometimes there are organisations created with a purpose beyond the financial success thanks to a visionary leader who thought that caring about the common good was key to business profitability, but also because it was appealing to him/her and many other stakeholders, and so this vision is a powerful inner source of motivation.

However, many of these organisations born with a noble soul have lost it over time: sometimes they have been bought by a larger corporation without the same sense of purpose; have new shareholders that do not share the same values, or because the founder has been replaced by a leader with a different vision. And when this happens, all stakeholders notice it to some extent as the passion, generosity and purpose that used to drive the organisation disappears, and the relationships turn out to be colder, rather short-term oriented and calculative, and decisions are based on financial KPIs only.

Instead, in organisations with a soul, people work moved by their human spirit, knowing that what they do is not only to get income at the end of the month, but also to make a positive change in their community at a smaller or larger scale, and becoming change makers for the sake of the environment and the disadvantaged layers of society. In such a kind of organisation, sustained commitments are more likely to take place and its soul can be sensed beyond the marketing campaigns, in the daily routine. It is good to know that more and more talented professionals nowadays feel attracted to work in organisations with a soul, with a special sense of purpose beyond the financial profits.

When an organisation is based on authenticity in human relations – respect, empathy and self-exigency – when customer and mission centricity are deeply rooted in the people’s mindset, and when leading means serving the common good with humility and passion, then we can be sure that there is a soul. And it is reflected in the organisational culture not only in the speeches but also in the daily behaviour and the critical decisions, where the mission and the values prevail over the short-term financial profit, because long-term financial profit is superior when the organisation is loyal to these values and mission.

 

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Marketing trends for 2019 (IV)

Social media stories

Stories seem to be likely to take over feeds as the main type of content through which people share their thoughts, ideas and experiences. They consist of short slideshows made up of photos and videos, usually done during an event or a specific time period, such as holidays. They are far more engaging than traditional content feed, and therefore capable of leveraging the brand’s social capital through an increased number of comments, reviews, shares, etc.

In the case of destinations developing according to the principles of Tourism 3.0, the destinations’ marketing platforms must leverage the content creativity of all visitors and other stakeholders in all kinds of possible formats, among which the social media stories should gain prominence as time goes by. In order to promote the contribution through specific formats, the content creation contests should have a prize for every type of format, including the newly promoted ones. Such social media stories could be related to the visitors’ life-changing experiences, the positive impacts to the locals’ lives due to tourism development, etc.

Other general trends

All in all digital marketing is expected to continue to grow, particularly mobile marketing. A digital marketing mix should integrate advertising through comprehensive SEO (including voice and image), video, social media and display.

Apart from digital marketing, broadcast TV advertising continues to be the first source for promoting new brands, staying way ahead of online TV.

On the other hand, both traditional and online radio are valuable platforms for advertising, taking into account that online radio and podcasts audiences are experiencing significant growth.

With regards to email marketing strategy, this will progressively integrate data collection, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, personalization and compelling content.

Finally, printed items such as newspapers, magazines and books are – despite their stagnation – still leading influential media, especially when referring to premium printed media.

So, even if there are many newcomers in the marketing mix, the traditional advertising platforms still remain, losing some of their prominence, but keeping a significant share of the marketing budget.

 

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Marketing trends for 2019 (III)

Social messaging apps

Apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger are also playing a role in some marketing activities, such as customer service, direct sales, or content marketing. These apps provide personalisation, so long as the interactions one-to-one allow the possibility of customizing he message, especially for sales and customer service. With regards to content marketing, these messaging apps provide an excellent opportunity for the content to go viral.

For tourism destination, these apps can provide tourist information on demand as a sort of 24 hour hotline, and at the same time try to engage the information seekers as clients by providing booking service for accommodation, transportation and activities. Furthermore, so long as it is possible to get the phone number of the information seekers and other prospect clients, it is also possible to deliver them content related to their interests through the messaging app of their choice.

The new search: voice and image

Beyond the traditional word searching in the internet browsers, there are two new searching methods to take into account: voice and image, and so businesses should be ready to be found through these new searching means, and care for a more comprehensive SEO which encompasses voice and image.

With regards to voice search, nowadays almost 1/3 of the Google searches are voice searches, and it is estimated by ComScore that in 2020 the voice searches will account for nearly 50%. To make your site voice search-friendly it is recommended to bear in mind how users usually formulate their queries, the most likely queries related to your service or product, etc. You need to have a voice search strategy, just as you currently have your SEO strategy for keywords.

Regarding image search, there are already some tools like Google Lens and Pinterest Lens providing a visual search function that uses Artificial Intelligence and machine vision to detect real-world objects and offer suggestions for related items. With image search you get instant results, much faster than voice or word search: just by taking a picture of the related item, you can obtain immediate results.

According to Gartner – one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms –- it is estimated that businesses which adopt both voice and visual search early on are likely to increase their online revenue by 30%. This is a field where early adopters have the opportunity to gain valuable experience and know-how in order to gain and keep a privileged position in the new search means.

In the tourism industry, these are both very relevant issues, so long as all sorts of tourist information have to be easy to find through the search engines, both DMOs and local businesses have to care for their holistic SEO strategy. Local businesses should care mostly about voice, whereas DMOs should care about voice and image for the tourists already visiting the destination. The image part is useful also to attract visitors to the destination.

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketingTourism trends

Marketing trends for 2019 (II)

Video marketing & original video content

Digital video advertising spending has been increasing these last two years and is expected to continue to grow at least two more years. The most popular kinds of used content are Comedy, Music, Education and News. Brands tend to target the audience through sponsorship agreements integrating the brand within the show, rather than through traditional advertising interrupting the video.

According to many surveys, video offers an outstanding performance on many relevant metrics such as content sharing rate and conversion rate, as well as generating confidence in online purchase decisions. When it comes to the broadcasting of the online video, there are also some significant trends to consider:

  • Length of the video varies depending on the marketing goal
  • Calls to action such as redirecting the viewer to a site, another video, to a form in order to receive further content are included
  • Talk style videos are used when explaining something in depth
  • “Ask me anything” type of videos where a public figure from the industry answers questions from a diverse group of characters are used to create trust on a potentially controversial issue.

Needless to say, video is one of the most engaging content formats according to many metrics. When it comes to marketing destinations and related experiences, this is even more obvious. In this regard, far beyond the “destination marketing video” there should be a collection of videos in accordance with the different experiences and motivations that move the target audience to visit the destination. A very convenient tactic is to make a short version of the video (less than 5 minutes) to draw the attention of the audience with a call to action to watch the long version of the video (not longer than 15 minutes). Furthermore, as it has been explained in all the marketing-related white papers, the finest video content produced by stakeholders should be delivered through the branded platforms of the destination.

Influencer marketing

Influencers are expected to be able to raise brand awareness, boost reputation, improve brand advocacy and drive lead generation. Beyond the most popular and expensive influencers, there are also a great deal of smaller influencers targeting specific types of audiences or niche markets. Accurately selecting those types of influencers is likely to be the most effective choice. The software Traackr contains an influencer database and allows the users to find the appropriate influencers in accordance with their marketing goals.

Furthermore, beyond the influencers you will have to pay for in order to gain their support, some others are likely to provide you with some support, so long as they really are enthusiastic about your product or service. Moreover, as it has been explained in the marketing white papers, it is convenient to create a network of brand ambassadors leveraging the power of influence of many stakeholders like suppliers, employees, and specially clients.

For as long as possible, it could be convenient to establish some kind of incentive system, giving special deals to the brand ambassadors who manage to raise more brand awareness and foster engagement. Influencer effectiveness can be measured through different metrics (mainly engagement but also sales) and techniques, like providing them with unique deal codes, UTM codes on digital posts, and custom landing pages to monitor their results.

As explained in some of the Envisioning Tourism 3.0 White papers, destinations developing tourism based on the principles of Tourism 3.0 are very likely to attract influencers, so long as they move their human spirit to take action in favour the destination’s social and environmental challenges stated in the mission. In many occasions, this is likely to happen at no cost for the destination. This is one of the greatest advantages of the Tourism 3.0 approach.

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Marketing trends for 2019 (I)

 

As all of us know, marketing tools and practices evolve faster than ever, for it is necessary to keep the strategy up to date at least every year, and integrate new tools that help us reach new clients, further engage our prospects, or gain more valuable market intelligence. According to Advance Travel & Tourism there are seven key trends that are already shaping the new marketing strategies in the most advanced businesses, which are perfectly applicable to the tourism industry. This issue is to be split in four articles.

Authentic & consumer centric content

It is well known among marketers that advertising has lost a great share of the trust it used to have. In its place, consumer centric content is taking the lead, mainly through content marketing and influencer marketing, both delivering real value to audiences and thus engaging them more effectively. Audiences demand that calls to action lead them to useful content to get engaged. Traditional media – both printed and digital –will continue to play a role in the overall strategy, but will lose importance progressively in the marketing budget.

With regards to the tourism industry such content should consist of texts, photos and videos of the life-changing experiences, stories and imaginative ways to enjoy the destination, with some detailed information for the reader to experience it him/herself. Apart from that, destinations approaching Tourism 3.0 should also use stories about the positive impacts that the tourism development creates in the destination, improving the lives of the locals as well as the visitors’ experience. There should be also stories about how local stakeholders and visitors contribute to the development of the destination through the creation or co-creation of marketing content, product innovation and different types of “voluntourism”. This is actually what has already been explained in previous articles and white papers such as “Envisioning destination marketing 3.0” or “The Marketing Plan 3.0”.

Personalisation

This consists essentially of using all the market intelligence and customer data to create niche tailored content, mostly consisting of deals related to the preferences of every customer niche or even tailored to every customer based on the items they have purchased or searched information on. According to a survey carried out with marketing executives, the most effective personalisation tactic is email marketing with dynamic content.

Concerning tourism destinations, as long as it is possible to track the information searched by every user within the destination website and social media platforms, it is possible to deliver content by email in accordance with the user’s interests, such as different sorts of special interest tourism, “voluntourism” or different types of contribution they are could do for the destination’s development.

Marketing 3.0storytellingStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Multichannel Approach Holds the Keys to Tourism Marketing Success

If you are hoping that things are going to get easier for tourism marketing, you are wrong. A recent article from New York based HotelNewsNow.com paints a world in which consumers are active on multiple platforms, on multiple devices, and savvy enough to desire only the best travel-related content:

“Consumers don’t watch devices; they consume the content on them,” [NGC Media VP Andrew] Capone said during a recent think tank event held by the Association of Travel Marketing Executives. “Today, it’s about experience messaging. People are coming out of a three-, four-year hole and it’s more than just about branding, it’s about ‘I have X number of vacation days, what do I want to do?'”

So what does this mean for your tourism marketing? Great content is not enough. You must be an active content distributor with a smart combination of traditional outreach (like print and trade shows) and marketing activities that place your great content where your target market is going to find it.

Study after study shows that consumers are using a combination of online sources and platforms throughout the travel buying cycle – from dreaming about a destination to selecting the museums they attend. All of this messaging and distribution needs to work in tandem to sell the brand and help the target market understand more about “the experience” with your business at your destination.

You must fight hard to maintain that prized spot that we like to call “top of mind.” How can you make sure that your ideal traveler will choose your place above all the other options out there? How can you prioritize your options to make sure that the right content is going in front of the right people at the right time?

 The idea of Marketing with a Purpose brings all of the different platforms together to work compatibly as a sales driver. If done correctly and strategically, each touch on the consumer is an opportunity to pull them deeper into your brand. We address the “experience messaging” by continually engaging potential travelers with a combination of practical and inspirational content they need to paint the travel experience picture in their mind.

In the project with the Namibia Tourism Board, a multichannel approach during the “Share My Namibia” campaign allowed to provide storytelling to consumers, reach out to the international travel trade, and build strong social media communities that still interact with our content. We engaged consumers in different locations on a frequent basis so our message of “Share My Namibia” remained fresh.

A social media campaign like this takes considerable planning and a balanced approach to what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it – the two sides to the marketing coin.

But one side of the coin might be a little heavier. Mark Snyder, a branding and marketing consultant formerly with Kmart and InterContinental Hotels Group, says: “The medium is not a substitute for the message.You think getting a digital budget is tough, wait until someone gives you $100,000 to go and do something with and you have to go create content. Content is hard. Content is the cornerstone of engagement.”

This article has been reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing?start=10

StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Destination Branding is a Marathon Not a Sprint

This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger

I recently had a conversation with the CEO of an East Coast DMO who was being pressured by some of his hotel partners because the city’s brand strategy, revealed three months earlier, had not generated an increase in business. While we didn’t develop this strategy, it did seem to be a good one. He needed to remind his partners that while there may be some short-term gains in visitation, the real benefits of branding won’t materialize overnight. If the hoteliers wanted to increase heads in beds in a month or so, perhaps they should have invested more in their tactical marketing communications and price-based incentives.

It takes time to unite the community, break through the competitive clutter to reach customers to build awareness, and then more time to change perceptions about the destination and convert their interest into actual bookings. Many mistake the roles of branding and marketing. Branding requires a long-term strategic mindset, not just a short-term promotional outlook.

Branding can, and often does, bring short-term benefits but the true value is long-term and cumulative. A destination’s image is the result of thousands of influences over an extended period. On the other hand, a Grand Slam home run approach to branding based on one big ad campaign is a sure-fire way to blow the budget with little impact. Real success will only come from the consistency of messages and outstanding experiences from many sources hitting their mark again, and again.

My new book, ‘Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions & Downtowns‘ examines many of these trends, changes and challenges, and provides a path for cities and destinations to follow in developing their brand identity.

This article was been re-posted with permission from the author

 

Business model innovationBusiness trendsEnvironmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0Strategy

The marketing power of doing good

As it has been explained right from the outset in the presentation of the ¨Vision of Tourism 3.0¨, the essence of this vision is that the tourism business should be focused not only in the financial goals, but also in environmental and social goals, to say it shortly, in doing good. And doing good is not only a matter of responsibility, it is also the smartest way to ensure the sustainability of the development, and to build a good reputation, which is the core essence of the best possible destination marketing.

The ¨Good doing¨ of destinations 3.0 is not only focused on caring about the destinations social and environmental challenges, but also on leading a cultural change, by fostering mission-driven cooperation and innovation throughout the stakeholder system, and improving visitors’ lives through life-changing experiences. It is therefore a holistic approach of Good doing: inwards and outwards. This approach is what makes people fall in love with destination 3.0 brands, and creates an unbeatable virtuous circle of effective and efficient marketing that draws not only tourism flows but also contribution from all stakeholders in addressing the social and environmental challenges stated in the destination model’s mission.

In this TED Talk, Simon Anholt -creator of the Good Country Index, as a sort of Global Nations Reputation Index- explains how country reputation is created, and how important is the perception that people all over the world have about a country on its economic development. Needless to say, these lessons apply also to destinations, and so they should be taken into account when defining the destination model.

Business trendsMarketing 3.0storytellingStrategyTourism marketing

Tourism Marketing with Instagram

Instagram is nothing new – it’s long been one of our favorite social media platforms – but it still lags behind other tourism marketing tools. Don’t neglect this simple app that offers huge potential. Photos are a big part of travel marketing, and this humble app specializes in nothing else so there is no reason it shouldn’t be part of your tourism marketing plan.

But where should you get started? Luckily, Instagram is a very straightforward platform. Here are a few tourism players who are doing great things on Instagram, and some quick lessons we can learn from their success.

Highlight User-Generated Content

Why does Australia always make our lists of the best of the best? Because they are terrific tourism marketers. But don’t be fooled – you don’t have to have a huge budget like Australia to see results. In fact, Australia’s Instagram success does not come from employing hoards of photographers. Instead, Australia came up with an innovative way to crowd source their photos. Their entire social media strategy is aimed at enabling fans to build upon their platforms, like Instagram. They essentially turned their fans into marketers. Now, they receive 900 photo submissions each day and choose the best 4-5 photos to share with their 600,000+ Instagram followers.

Pay Attention to Hashtags

If you feel a little overwhelmed, step back and focus on doing one thing really well. Instagram has a variety of common hashtags that encourage sharing among users. The most popular one, by far, is #tbt or #throwbackthursday where users post older photos on Thursday. Within the tourism world, nobody does #tbt better than Delta. In fact, most of their Instagram content is throwback photos from the earlier days of the airline. Your photos don’t have to be new and shiny. It can be a great marketing tool to reflect on the nostalgia of a different time – especially since so many people have vivid travel memories. It also inadvertently emphasizes the long tradition of your brand and highlights innovation over time.

Throwback Thursday isn’t the only hashtag around either. Read here for a list of other great daily hashtags, and don’t forget to pay attention to current trends. Specific hashtags pop up all the time to celebrate events, holidays, and other happenings.

Don’t Neglect Other Aspects of Your Brand

Yes, gorgeous travel photos are an easy sell on Instagram, but don’t neglect to highlight other aspects of your brand. Everything can’t be photos of sunsets or beaches! And those won’t necessarily help your brand or destination stand out in the crowd. Virgin America has found creative ways to highlight other aspects of the traveler experience. Their Instagram feed is full of passengers and cabin crew doing everything but taking themselves too seriously. Their photos help display the mood of the airline by emphasizing people and candid moments over scenery and posed shots. They always look like they are having fun, which is a huge feat for a company that deals in an area of travel most people consider to be a pain.

Virgin also runs some great contests, like this social media one from 2013. They offered 15 minutes of free in-flight wifi for Twitter, Instagram & Vine and encouraged passengers to use these social media platforms & a specific Virgin American hashtag to enter to win airline points. The easier you make it for users to interact with your social media (free wifi!), the more results you’ll see.

Educate Your Audience

Instagram isn’t just about gathering likes and follows. Like all social media platforms, the ultimate goal is to grow your audience and generate more customers. Sharing beautiful images is a great way to showcase your destination and inspire future visitors, but it’s also important to help nudge them down your sales funnel. You want them to go from aspiring traveler to actual traveler.

One way you can help this process is by focusing on educating your audiences with key pieces of information. This will also help set your destination apart. I know this is a huge need in tourism marketing because I had to look outside the travel world for a good example.

NASA’s Goddard Space Center does an outstanding job of marrying their breathtaking images with equally intriguing information. Each photo helps inform the viewer with interesting facts, tidbits and stories. You can do the same thing with your travel-minded audience. Rather than share a photo of a lake with only its name and location, mention a unique fact about it. Maybe it’s great for fishing or swimming. Maybe it hosts an annual festival. Maybe it’s a hidden gem that most visitors would be surprised to learn is easily accessed from a nearby hub city.

You should still try to be concise, but by adding one extra sentence, you can help move your traveler from the dreaming to planning stage of travel.

This article has been reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing

Business trendsCo-creationCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilityInnovation

Envisioning Alternate Reality Games for marketing destinations

Unlike Augmented Reality Games, Alternate Reality Games (ARG) are not mobile based but transmedia based and much cheaper to create. ARG cannot be explicitly a marketing product, but rather a marketing strategy, which turns into an experience itself and could be indirectly considered as a marketing product, so long as they are usually free although sometimes they end up involving some business too. They stand out by offering best practices in collaborative learning and problem solving, having been object of attention by scholars, private and public organizations for that reason. ARG design requires many different skills, and there are actually several profiles matching that role, such as storytellers, web designers, and puzzle creators, to shortlist the main ones.

ARG deny the difference between the real and the game world. Actually, the game takes place for those who discover that something is going on in the real world beyond the obvious, by identifying some codified information and decodifying it to figure the clues to start playing. Another unique feature of ARG is that there is no other marketing than word of mouth from players, who look for other players to help them in tackling the game’s challenges. These games rely on knowledge sharing among players to solve the challenges and use the internet as a platform for sharing knowledge, although the game uses all types of media to provide the information to the players. The game works like an interactive networked narrative using the real world as the game board and many different media channels to deliver clues and the story that is eventually co-created by the organizers and the players.

The games are driven by a story that takes place in real time and is developed through the contribution and reaction of the players. The story characters are controlled by the game designers –unlike computer games, where characters are controlled by artificial intelligence- and interact with players, solving plot-based challenges and puzzles through collaboration by analyzing the story and coordinating real-life and online activities. Players discover the story researching just as archeologists would, as the story is split into pieces throughout the media channels to challenge players in connecting those story pieces to make a coherent narrative. The game uses players’ real live as the platform, players not being required to build a character other than themselves. The game designers control most of the story but leave some room for contribution to the players, who end up being co-creators of the story to some extent. Furthermore, so long as the game evolves demanding more complex challenges, players need to recruit new co-players with specific skills or expertise. ARG have become a genre of gaming themselves, not just a one-time occurrence, as it appeared to be at first.

ARG are usually free to play, using various kinds of revenue sources such as supporting products or marketing deals with existing products. In the case of tourism, the price to pay would be that associated to visiting the destination, without discarding other sources such as marketing deals with brands that want to be associated with the destination brand to target players as potential customers. Actually, after the first successful ARG had appeared, many corporations started regarding such games as a potential marketing strategy to promote their business as an innovative and fan-friendly strategy. So far, the major trends regarding the funding strategy for large-scale ARGs are the development of game-branded products and also fees for participation in the game.

Curiously, beyond the games created for fun only purposes, the so called “Serious ARG” have also emerged, consisting of the same structure and functioning way but with a real-world problem as a driving challenge instead of a fictional one. The first one –World Without Oil– was centered about the vision of a world with shortage of oil, and others such as Tomorrow Calling tackle many environmental issues. This type of ARG approaches the idea –ingrained in the Vision of Tourism 3.0- of open innovation for tackling the social and environmental challenges, so long as ARGs are focused on collaborative problem solving, leveraging the collective intelligence, knowledge and imagination to design innovative solutions. The “Serious ARG” approach works as a marketing strategy to attract and engage contributors through the shape of a game.

So far, the ARG phenomenon has already reached millions of players in more than 177 countries, who participate both online and in live events in the streets. There is even an award at IndieCade for games that have a social message, shift the social perception of games as a medium, represent a new play paradigm, expand the audience or influence culture.

Moreover, there have been organized some ARG directly related to the tourism industry. In 2008, the American Art Museum organised an ARG called Ghosts of a Chance encouraging players to find new ways to engage with their art collection, attracting more than 6000 participants over six weeks. At the same year, McDonald’s and the International Olympic Committee launched an ARG to promote the Summer Olympics of Beijing, facilitating the participation of players from different countries running the game in 6 languages, and encouraging players to share information and interact with fellow co-players overseas. They used a sport celebrity as Game Master to promote the game and promised to donate US$ 100,000 to charity at the end of the game on behalf of players.

Prototypes such as those presented for Augmented Reality Games could be useful for Alternate Reality Games, namely the “Worldwide ARG tournament calendar”, the “Film story or local legend based game”, and mostly the “Collaborative challenge based game”, without discarding other options. Rather, inspiration should come from the “Serious ARGs” focused on tackling real-world challenges.

The ARG can therefore become a good strategy to find and engage new targets, neutralize tourism demand seasonality and also create long lasting positive impacts both for the visitors –through the life-changing experience provided by the game itself- and for the destination, so long as the game challenge is related to some of the social or environmental concerns of the destination stakeholders.