Putting a marketing plan together may seem like a daunting task, competing with your daily must-do list and everything else vying for your attention. But without a plan, you are just wandering in the desert and hoping for outcomes you haven’t clearly defined. Planning is a necessity in order to grow and sustain your business.
This episode of Destination on the Left is a solocast all about developing a solid marketing plan: setting goals and the tactics it will take to achieve those goals. We’ll talk about situational analysis, SMART goals, and drilling down on exactly who your target market is. We’ll talk about the messaging you need for different stages in the customer journey. We’re going to give you everything you need to get a great plan for 2019 together and get it done!
What You Will Learn:
Plans are fluid documents.- you don’t have to have all the answers today. They provide a roadmap to where you want to go, but it’s okay to tweak them and change them. Having a plan to start with will make it easier to make adjustments along the way.
You will start your plan by answering this question: What are the top three to five goals that you want to accomplish in 2019?
Back in Episode 96, we touched on some really important ideas that affect how you plan your marketing. I spoke with guest Susan Baier from Audience Audit. She talked about getting beyond the who and the where to really understanding the why. Why are clients looking for a travel option, and why is your destination the best option for them? Understanding the why provides you with the insight needed to tailor communications to speak to them. This is the kind of information you need to gather for an effective marketing plan.
None of this matters if plans remain on a page somewhere on your laptop or in a binder lost in a pile in your office. So in this episode, we also dig into the tactical elements that will bring your marketing plan to life.
Remember, this is a breathing and living document. It’s not written in stone and it can easily be changed and adapted as you move through the year. Just having the plan is a huge step in helping you to achieve your goals in 2019.
Nancy Marshall has been doing PR since the early 1980s. She founded her agency, Marshall Communications, in 1991 serving tourism and especially outdoor recreation clients. Since then, her agency has grown significantly and now her and her team handle the state of Maine Office of Tourism and state of Maine Department of Agriculture, as well as the Orvis Company. Nancy’s passion is around personal branding and she works with individuals to leverage their personal brand. Nancy recently launched her own podcast, the PR Maven – so check that out right after you listen to this one!
On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Nancy about all things PR. We discuss how Nancy gets into the trenches with her clients to find out what they are all about. We also talk about digging in on data and analytics-how to look at the right numbers to understand where your visitors are coming from and why. Hers is a breadth of knowledge that doesn’t come along every day, so this is a great conversation.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:
TEND TO THOSE RELATIONSHIPS
Being connected in real life with your media contacts is so important. Nancy says for her, “That has been where the magic happens – when I’ve been able to spend time with my media contacts in some shared activity. It builds trust and a genuine relationship.”
Digital relationships are good, but there is something about meeting and connecting with people in real life that helps deepen those bonds, so you are friends – and also that your destination will be top of mind, because of that outdoor adventure you shared, or the great meal at a memorable restaurant. With a relationship built on trust, when a crisis occurs, people are more likely to trust what you are saying.
Measurement is crucial. What do you measure and why does it matter? Nancy shared, “When we’re starting a new engagement with a client, we actually have a discovery meeting where we discuss what the goals are and what the metrics should be. We decide collaboratively what to measure.”
With tools like Google Analytics and others at our fingertips, there’s no excuse for not knowing the data.
Caroline Boland and Gary Curran together run the Dingle Peninsula Tourism Alliance, located on the southern coast of Ireland. Gary serves as chairperson of the alliance, and Caroline is a marketing consultant for DPTA.
Gary grew up on the peninsula and now runs Greenmount House, a 4-star rated bed and breakfast in Dingle. Caroline visited some years ago and knew this beautiful place was where she wanted to live. Together, Gary and Caroline have been traveling in Massachusetts and New York on behalf of the DPTA. Coincidentally, both Gary and Caroline graduated from the Shannon College of Hotel Management in Galway, Ireland.
On this episode of Destination on the Left, I have a conversation that will make you want to pack your bags immediately and head for the southern coast of Ireland. I talk with Caroline and Gary about the challenges of marketing on a limited budget and the exciting opportunities for collaboration that come out of that kind of necessity.
Whatever brings people to your destination is often just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. How do you help visitors explore all your destination has to offer? In Ireland’s Dingle peninsula, it starts with the incredible natural beauty. From there, the people, the food, the hectic festival schedule (they have a LOT of festivals) can all be a big draw. We talk about how there is a different target market for different seasons, and how to connect with people who will enjoy the winter or shoulder season, and those who want to be there in the summer.
As Caroline points out, “You don’t have to have money to make a new friend. You just have to be genuine and, and just welcoming and just want to spend time, share a bit, and build a relationship.” That’s how they approached their relationship with sister city, West Springfield in Massachusetts. How can you build a mutually beneficial relationship, so it’s not just a plaque on the side of the road, and now you’re a sister city? There is some great conversation around making that happen.