6 Thoughts on Digital Marketing.
Digital marketing is imperative to any business as we know. Dare I say that we have perhaps been a bit “slow on the uptake” in the travel industry? Especially for those of us based out in the wilds of countries where we may feel isolated from, and behind the curve on, digital technology infrastructure, training and supplier resources. We might be trying to sell to people well versed in a digital lifestyle but we ourselves may reside in a very different reality.
I am engaging with my clients to offer tips on how to start to shift thinking and get started on digital marketing. Here are 6 ideas for your consideration of things that have come up on our journey so far.
I would love to hear your feedback and comments on this post and your own situations in the comment box at the bottom and feel free to write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org
1. GOLDEN THREAD OF STRATEGY
We all have a limited amount of human and financial resources so it is imperative that what we end up deciding to do – our sales & marketing actions and activities – are in line with what we are trying to achieve as a company overall.
Everything has to come from your company “WHY” – your purpose, your reason for existing. If you haven’t seen it yet check out Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk around his great theory and book “Start with Why.” https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action
From this, a business must then be 100% clear on its overall business strategy and objectives – its priorities and why they are priorities. Do you have a business strategy? Do you update it each year to ensure it is still relevant and reacting to what is going on in the world with your industry?
A business can then use that overall business strategy to create (strategic) plans for each of its company departments. From sales and marketing to operations and finance you can lay
out what you want to happen in each area in order to help you achieve that overall business target.
It is very important to include your staff as much as possible in the development of these strategic plans and at the very least to clearly communicate them to everyone. Everyone should know their role and responsibility and how that all comes together to create business success.
With marketing that should mean that you need to also think about your strategic plan for both traditional and digital marketing and how they work together.
THIS is the “Golden Thread” of strategic direction that has to run through the business
2. STRATEGIC PROCESS
So a business needs to create and implement a strategic plan, both for the business overall and for each area of its operations. This does not have to be huge and daunting. If you have never done one before I recommend just a very simple process to:
- Think about SWOT analysis – look at what your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats are as a business,
- Come up with your top 3-5 priority goals as a business based on what is currently going on for you and your business
- Decide on 3-5 things that need to happen to achieve these priorities
- Make a plan to carry out these things and measure and report on progress
- Repeat regularly, learn and get better
The more simple you make it, the more likely you are to actually complete it. The key then is to do this process regularly, celebrate success, learn from what happened, update and go again. A strategic process is iterative, organic and a process of continual improvement that should be revisited regularly and never end.
3. FIND YOUR MAGIC MIX
Every company is different – has a different purpose, products, and services, level of resources and expertise. You, therefore, require your own unique marketing strategic plan tailored to your own unique situation.
Any marketing strategic plan – I would argue – has to include a ”magic mix” of traditional, content and digital market which perfectly plays to your company’s situation and goals. I also feel very strongly that this magic mix should be thought about in terms of what is needed now and what will be possibly needed in 3-5 years time based on changing trends within your target markets and our changing world environment.
Your target audience now is very different to your target audience will be as the Y Generation and Millenials grow up…. and who will follow them? Having a long-term strategy means you can plan for what you need now and start training up, skilling up and saving for what you are going to need in the future. Updating this strategy at least each year means you continue to learn and improve and react to a rapidly changing world.
4. REMEMBER…. DIGITAL MARKETING IS NOT JUST YOUR WEBSITE
Your website is a central point of your digital marketing, the cornerstone perhaps and a great place to start, but by no means the end of the story.
I always think of that great movie “Field of Dreams” (showing my age) where he says…. “If you build it they will come.”
Sorry but with digital marketing that is not the case. Building a great website is only the start of the journey…. and in fact, your digital journey needs to start with how you design and build that website given what you have learned from your strategic process.
You need to ensure people are finding your website online – being in the right place at the right time – and that you are engaging with your (potential) customers and essentially available to them as and when they need you on the right device.
5. EMBRACE DIGITAL – BIT BY BIT…
Digital is here to stay and let’s face it – it can be rather daunting. It’s a huge beast, it can be complex and high tech and full of words that we don’t understand. Whether we like it or not though we do need to learn to tame that beast or it will most likely eat us alive.
Digital marketing is increasingly powerful and necessary so we must embrace it but we can do so in a way that is realistic and fits your business. Does it all seem too scary? Some thoughts which might help:
- Start small and manageable and cheap and with a plan to keep growing
- Use your strategy to pinpoint priorities so that you can concentrate efforts in small areas, celebrate success, learn and grow – without it becoming overwhelming
- Include in your strategic plan how you plan to increase you digital knowledge, experience and reach over the next years based on who your market is, will be and how they behave “digitally”
- Gradually increase your budget and bring onboard more digital marketing resource elements as appropriate and necessary over time.
Below is just a diagrammatic representation of how you might plan to build digital marketing capacity and activities over time.
6. MARKETING & SALES – FUNNELS & TRUMPETS
What follows is just how I think of sales and marketing in the travel industry, which may well be very different to you so please allow my indulgence.
I like to see SALES as developing business and increasing sales & relationships with existing clients:
- Improving sales, conversion rates, profits, service, and relationships for both sides
- Creating a continual feedback loop into your organization to continually improve a wide range of product, service and operational activities
I see MARKETING as finding new business:
- Finding new business (trade & direct) which fits your company style & niche
- For trade partners – support those new businesses so they can start selling you effectively, ASAP
For sales, I’m currently entertaining the idea of a SALES MEGAPHONE or TRUMPET whereby you amplify and grow your business with existing clients. (More on this another day.)
For marketing, I still like the good old MARKETING FUNNEL
Appreciating and understanding that for both of these you are entering into a “journey” rather than one transaction is key. Also, to realise that people need different things at different points on these journies and can come in and out of these journeys at different points and for different reasons is very important.
It is imperative to think about who your target customers are and innovate on how you will engage with them at each stage along these journeys. What different content, message and technology/activity needs to be used along the way?
I will talk in more detail about all this another day for now – I was hoping to get you thinking and to get your feedback.
I hope you found the above ramble thought-provoking and of interest and relevance to you. I would love to get your comments either in the box below or via email on email@example.com