Not too long ago, marketers would typically set their annual media strategy in stone. They could research, plan and then execute their ideas (through radio or print advertising, for example) with minimal change throughout the year.
Today’s, it’s dangerous to design a strategy that will remain the same 11 months from now. Modern media strategies are fluid and dynamic instead of static. They use many distribution channels and shift, based on real-time results, to accommodate changes in market sentiment, engagement, channel preferences, or even to introduce a new channel that went from zero to hero in four months. (What social media marketer could forget 2016’s storytelling battle between Snapchat and Instagram?)
It’s common to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume and constant change of the always-on approach. Here are four tips your destination marketing team can use to manage this new environment:
1) Use an integrated marketing strategy that includes niches, consumer engagement, social media and content marketing.
This strategy begins with your organization’s objectives. Is your destination focused on visitor education and advocacy? Introducing a new experience? Building interest and increasing visitation in the offseason? Once you have defined the larger goals (and your destination’s Place DNA) the niches, channels and best approaches to consumer engagement can follow. DMOs that learn what their visitors need will succeed.
2) Make strategic updates throughout the year, as we gain greater insight into niche consumer behaviour and preferences across content, campaigns and channels.
Destinations need to invest enough effort into research and planning at the beginning of a media strategy so that there is a reliable methodology for iteration. The media plan needs to work in harmony with creative and when the call to action is online, with the website. Once you launch the strategy, you will constantly tweak the targeting, channels, creative, landing page, and more to produce better results over time.
Today’s business intelligence is dynamic, so you might learn new insights about your consumer that will change your media strategy. Budgets can also shift based on corporate priorities or new market conditions. Regardless, strategic updates are always made in relation to your destination’s overall objectives. These changes initiate tactical executions like campaigns or content calendars.
3) Make on-going tactical revisions by analyzing your content’s effectiveness. Experiment with alternatives.
This is about tailoring your campaigns specifically to their target audiences by measuring the results. When Destination Think! managed the social media spend for a recent Destination British Columbia campaign, our budget for Instagram and Facebook changed based on which platform better met the objective in question. The campaign data doesn’t lie, so we were able to test and optimize the campaign to boost the effectiveness of ad spending. For example, we found that click-to-web ads performed better on Facebook than on Instagram in that instance. A regular process for making tactical revisions allowed us to adjust tactics related to the strategic objectives.
4) Gain specialized skills to make decisions based on the best knowledge.
Many aspects of media buying are becoming highly specialized, including search engine marketing, programmatic digital media, social advertising for engagement and amplification, content distribution, traditional geographic advertising and more. We recommend that destination marketing organizations work with a variety of agency partners to get the best results in each discipline. Those that can best interpret the growing sources of data will make the most effective decisions.
What is your destination’s biggest challenge when it comes to building a media strategy? Tell us in the comments.
At Destination Think!, we understand the challenges DMOs face when it comes to always on destination marketing better than anyone. Our strategic consultancy can help you design a strategy to meet today’s demands. Contact us today to find out how.