I think it’s fair to say you either love them or hate them, but we can all learn a thing or two from them! The Kardashians are ending their 14 year TV reign and some say their brand is so well known now that they don’t need to do TV or anything else ever again. How true or false is this statement?
If you look at some of the biggest brands out there…Nike, Under Armour, Google, You Tube, Netflix, do they ever get to a point where they say, “we are doing so well we can pull back a bit on the brand awareness campaigns”? The answer is no! The reason these brands are so well known is because they have ensured they are always present at all stages of the customer journey, whether it’s online or offline.
Consistency and repetition are key strategies used by big brands and yes, they have fairly hefty budgets to support their marketing activity. So how do you ensure your brand stays front of mind as we navigate the coming months with the many challenges ahead.
Look at the challenges and they will help shape your strategy;
- Limited Budgets
- Reduced services at your property
- Less Resources
Having worked in hotels for 20+ years and delivered multi layered campaigns with online and offline elements, I know at the end of the day a lot of GMs, boards and bosses will just want to see the return on investment.
Simple, cost effective ways to keep your brand front of mind:
- Social Media is cost effective and engaging, offering impressive reach.
- Direct Email Marketing is also cost effective and engaging and if you get your targeting right will reach a high intent audience for you.
Brand Awareness Activity
- Search Ads – brand campaigns deliver but when online travel agents are not bidding on brand, generic campaigns can also deliver. Be clever with budgets; work with your digital agency and you can reach new audiences with a better split of generic vs brand campaigns. It would have previously been 70% brand and 30% or less generic terms. You have an opportunity to reach new audiences for the foreseeable future. Grab it.
- Display Campaigns – offer you a choice of audiences to target. Understand the audience you are targeting and ensure your creative captures their imagination, be it holiday makers, wedding planners, foodies, health experts or fitness gurus.
- Video – offers so many different types of audiences to get your brand in front of. Video offers low intent traffic with great reach. If supported with all the other marketing activities, it may become higher intent traffic, especially if your creative is clever, stands out and can hook folks in the “messy middle”.
Test, Measure, Repeat
Look at your results; what campaigns are working and which aren’t.
Understand what is delivering, fine tune and repeat. Consistency and repetition is key, especially when you are working on multiple platforms and channels. It is crucial that your brand is recognisable with brand colours, logo and a tagline. If it’s radio, it can be that same background music that we all know. Remember that jingle from the Budweiser Christmas ad?
Don’t look back at last year, particularly if you were reliant on international markets. You have a clean slate to work from. Understand your demographic, who is booking, what they are booking? You will be able to fine tune your marketing message to suit their needs.
Front of Mind Activity
Harness the power of social media
Look at social and the power of user generated content. In the current climate if I see a story from a friend or family member about a weekend away, restaurant or activity they have enjoyed that will resonate with me quicker than any review site will. I know them and trust them, we are like-minded people. If it was okay for them, it will be okay for me. Make sure your audience is sharing their experiences and tagging you while they do it. Think of clever ways to encourage them to do that. I think social and I see the ripple effect which is your reach. It just goes on and on and on.
It is also very cost effective, and you can keep tweaking ad copy and images until you see the engagement you expect.
Talk to the experts
If you have a property management system or a customer relationship management tool, get the two systems to talk to each other. Have you any idea how much data they have between them. You can slice and dice data whilst sending direct marketing campaigns to targeted audiences with a very specific messaging. There is no need to blast your full database every time you want to tell them something. This proven method will deliver a higher open rate and generate more revenue, trust me!
Talk to your customer
You have access to so much data on your customer from social campaigns, booking engine activity, your Google Analytics stats, etc. Use data to give your customer the information they want. Look at your website stats, do you have a high bounce rate, what pages are getting the most traffic, and is your session time up or down? Use this information to deliver messages that hit the customer at different stages of the customer journey. What you show a low intent first time visitor should be very different to what you show a returning visitor who has already browsed your website. What the pre stay guest sees when they come back to check a few details should be very different to what the post stay guest sees. These are all opportunities, all hooks to nurture the guest at the right time. Give them personalised, contextual information they are looking for, make the journey easy, let them know you understand their needs.
From fine tuning the messaging on your website to nurturing the guest throughout their journey with you is a cost effective way of converting good business, generating positive reviews and ultimately repeat and referral business. All of these result from positive guest experience.
Brand Awareness Activity
Messy Middle – Make sure you are in the thick of it!
“A space between trigger and purchase where decision making is made complete by the huge amounts of choice and information available to today’s consumer”.
The 3 elements that will ensure you are in the thick of it are:
- Exposure – display campaigns, video campaigns
- Social proof – as detailed above is the newest and one of the most powerful sources of user generated content
- Authority – credible experts. The consumer will still look for ‘the best hotels, car brand, food mixer ‘etc.
Think about the last thing you bought or trip you made and retrace your own experience. Chances are you started out on the web? Did you have a specific destination in mind, what factors influenced your last purchase? Think about it and then think about your brand and look at the different touch points, identify where you are winning and the gaps in your marketing activity. You don’t have to allocate big budgets like some of the big brands do to compete, you can compete within your current domestic market as effectively as your competitor. If you know your audience and can capture them using a multi- channel strategy. I will leave you with these nuggets from “Think with Google.”
“Even before COVID-19, consumers were researching their purchases more than before, and using different channels to do it. Last Christmas shopping season, 79% of consumers used both YouTube and Search to research purchases. Apps were also key to the shopping experience — 55% of consumers reported using them, with 38% using retailer apps — and it’s likely we’ll see that trend continue, this year as downloads of apps from Google Play rose 30% from February to March”
In this fast paced digital age we live in we need to be agile, creative and ensure we are meeting the needs of the customer. We need to understand what channels work and tie in with our marketing strategy and budgets. We need to work smarter not harder, it’s a challenge!
You don’t have to spend large amounts of money to keep your brand top of mind; you just need to be consistent with your branding and messaging, be always present in that messy middle, try new things, test them out and if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.
….OH, and keep an eye on the Kardashians, let’s see what they do next!