Published on February 5, 2014
How Destinations Can Boost Their Content Marketing in 2014 A Strategic Marketing Group White Paper
The art of creating buy-in over the hard sell is making its way through the DMO sales community . . . . Jeremy Fairly, 10 Things to Look Out for in 2014 Destination Marketing Destination Marketing International 12/31/2013 While consumers continue to tune out traditional, intrusive marketing communications, they increasingly crave the type of genuine, customer–focused information that content marketing delivers. Jayson DeMers, Forbes 10/8/2013
Content Marketing Challenges • There is the challenge of creativity. Creating content that is relevant to your customers and makes your destination stand out in new, exciting ways takes a constant supply of fresh, innovative creative ideas. • There is the challenge of dynamic change. Not only are changing technologies and different channels involved, but the DMO sales process itself is evolving. The hard sell is out. The soft sell–with customer-focused, value-rich information–is in and quickly becoming the new norm.
Content Marketing Tips for DMOs • If your DMO’s content marketing isn’t happening, isn’t working, or just needs a lift, what will you do in 2014? • The following are some suggested actions you can take that are essential to creating content marketing lift, closing the door on discouragement, and positioning your destination’s digital marketing for improved productivity in your destination’s sales life cycle process: • • • • • Change or modify your DMO’s customer view Make customer relationships strategic Craft customer personas and profiles Analyze customer brand journeys Study your customer’s perception of “relevance”
Part 1: Change or Modify Your DMO’s Customer View To compete in this aggressively interactive environment, companies must shift their focus from driving transactions to maximizing customer lifetime value. That means making products and brands subservient to long-term customer relationships. Rust, Moorman, Bhalla Harvard Business Review, 2011
How do you, your marketing team and entire DMO view your customers? • Are they seen as mostly as faceless sales, a low transactional view, or as human beings and valuable long-term customer relationships–a high relational view? • Does your DMO tend to think of customers primarily as consumers, or as co-creators of what makes your destination and DMO great?
High Customer View’s Impact • A high customer view encourages caring. Caring impacts relevance and quality, and relevance and quality impact customer’s experiences and choices. • A way to boost your destination’s content marketing is organically related and flows from your DMO’s customer view. It’s called customer intimacy.
Part 2: Make Customer Relationships Strategic Companies that excel in customer intimacy combine detailed customer knowledge with operational flexibility so they respond quickly to almost any need, from customizing a product to fulfilling special requests. As a consequence, these companies engender tremendous customer loyalty. Treace and Wiersma Harvard Business Review, 1993
Customer Intimacy • The term customer intimacy may sound new, because it is not commonly used in the DMO marketing community, but it has existed in wider marketing circles, at least since Michael Treace and Fred Wiersma introduced the phrase over 20 years ago. • Their essential idea regarding customer intimacy was that it was necessary to stop viewing sales transactions as standalone events and move to a longer-term relationship view of sales. This long-term view of sales relationships would be characterized by more particular knowledge of customers.
Priority and Goal • To add lift to your content marketing results in 2014, make customer relationships high priority and customer intimacy your goal. • If you haven’t already, start thinking of your different marketing communication channels as different customer intimacy channels for you to capture and continuously expand knowledge of your customers. There are plenty of online and digital tools to help you do this as well. • In addition to maintaining a high customer view, creating and applying customer intimacy insights to your DMO’s content creation process, developing and applying customer personas and profiles can help increase your content marketing
Part 3: Craft Customer Personas and Profiles When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen . Ernest Hemingway
Customer Personas and Profiles • A customer persona is a grouping of customers based on certain shared attributes. “Summer Campers,” “Fall Lovers,” “Winter Skiers” and “Spring Walkers” might be an alpine destination’s typical customer persona set, for example. • A customer profile breaks a persona down into more particular details. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to analyze a persona. There are as many ways to organize customer’s profiles as there are marketers.
Organize your customer data into an customer persona and profile chart to make it easy to access and use.
Translate Insights Into Relevant Content • As customer information and intimacy grows, your ideal customer personas and profiles chart can change too. • The more content that is produced around your ideal customer’s problems and interests listed in your chart, which is grounded in objective customer data, the more power your content will have to break through the marketing noise, get heard and motivate your ideal customers to profitably act in your destination’s favor.
Part 4: Analyze Customer Brand Journeys Movies that encourage empathy are more effective than those that objectify problems. Roger Ebert
Customer Brand Journeys • A destination’s content marketing should do far more than serve up objective information, facts and figures to its customers. • Content that mostly objectifies your destination is boring. While it may be interesting to city hall, hospitality, entertainment and shopping venues it tends to make your destination invisible to potential visitors and customers. It makes competing destinations seem better. • So, how can your content marketing and creative team develop more customer empathy and effective marketing content in 2014? A solution is to create a framework that provides perspective and meaningful insights into your different customer’s experiences with your brand.
Customer Brand Journeys • The result of this is content that “speaks” more to your customers. It makes them feel like you personally know them and their interests. It builds customer’s confidence that your DMO is able to guide them to what they need in order to have a great time at your destination. • Some visitor segments are highly sensitive to misspending their dollars, especially with the economy today. So this perception of confidence and trust in your DMO is key to building prepurchase motivation. • Customer empathy is a powerful tool in your content marketing toolbox. A final suggestion to create more content marketing lift in 2014 is to consider what relevant means to your customers. Capturing insights from customer perceptions, and then applying them to your content marketing production process, will help drive customer responses and conversions higher.
Part 5: Study Customer’s Perceptions of “Relevance” If your social content isn’t relevant, it’s just noise.
Relevance • A final matter to consider when your content marketing isn’t producing the results you hope for is whether or not your thinking about what your customers find “relevant” is broad enough. • An overly narrow perspective of customer’s perception of relevance can lead to missed opportunities of creating higher quality content that can potentially generate higher content marketing lift. • The important distinctions for DMO executives to remember are, 1) Not all content value is of equal worth to the customer, and 2) Content value is calculated in the eyes of the customer, not the DMO.
Conclusion: Finding Content Marketing Success in 2014 The new role for the DMOs is that of content developer and curator, reaching into the destination to find and share interesting and authentic content that inspires. Those destinations that understand this shift and take advantage of it will be winners. Carl Ribaudo, SMG
Conclusion • This paper’s focus has been to highlight 5 action steps DMO leaders can take to positively impact their content marketing: • • • • • Change or modify the DMO’s customer view Make customer relationships strategic Craft customer personas and profiles Analyze customer brand journeys Study customer’s perception of “relevance” • Implementing these 5 steps can help your DMO execute and achieve the content marketing lift you’re looking for in a more targeted and strategic manner.
For more information on SMG or to obtain a copy of this white paper please visit smgonline.net/freebies/white-papers/ Solutions for your competitive world.
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