I recently spent the day with a team of marketers from a large private resort. They had it all: five-star hotels, amazing restaurants, great retail outlets, a casino and a marina stuffed full of super-yachts. If you ever wanted a product you could fully believe in (half the battle in marketing), they had it.
But like all marketers, they also had a problem. They wanted to increase the number of day visitors to their resort. Cruise ship passengers, who very often walked straight past the resort due to planning restrictions preventing them from increasing signage, were a key target — but they were incredibly hard to reach.
The problem was that while many of these passengers would have done their research on the destination before visiting for the day, this private resort was not featured heavily in any of the tourism sites promoting the area.
Unless you were looking for a hotel or a place to berth your yacht (sadly, not a problem I can afford — yet!), the chances were you might never even know the place existed.
Owning the Conversation
The resort had two options. The first was to lobby or pay local travel sites, guidebook publishers, etc. to include their resort and have no real control over the final results.
The alternative (which I suggested) was to own the conversation.
This meant that as well as producing marketing material to promote their hotel, marina, casino, etc., they also needed to invest in producing the best-quality complete destination guides for the region in which they operated.
They needed to become the (unofficial) travel authority that everyone turned to before visiting the area. That meant they would promote all of the other great things for tourists to do in the area but (unlike the other travel guides) put their resort at the center of the community.
This would mean they would need to stop thinking exclusively like resort owners and start thinking like publishers.
We Are the Media
Thanks to low-cost publishing opportunities online, businesses now have the ability to circumnavigate the traditional media and exercise authority and influence over their target audience, beyond their traditional marketing methods.
You can start owning the conversation today by setting up a blog and using it to capture email addresses and drive social engagement.
Have you placed your business at the center of your community by owning the conversation? Share your comments below:
This abridged post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.