Marketing Must Haves

Last month, easy ways to cut the budget were shared. Luxuries, gone. Lunch meetings, cut back. Cell phones used before land lines for long distance. But as DMOs pour over budgets, what are the “must keeps”? The “no way I’m cutting backs”?

If you are going to truly make an impact this next fiscal year, let’s explore the five tools of a marketing kit that should be the first line items accounted for in the budget… this month’s Five @ 5.

1. Website. Before you say “no duh!” sessions on websites continue to be the most attended at conferences. Perhaps another month I’ll get into the key elements that should go into a quality site. For now I’ll just state your site should be professionally done! Still my favorite stat (and it’s three or four years old): 80% of visitors have fully planned their itinerary using a website before they leave their house. If your site isn’t quality and complete, game over.

2. Printed Piece. Word has some really cool templates. Microsoft puts even more on their site. Drop in a cool picture and us graphic wannabes puff our chests. But if you’re going to seriously play in this game, you must invest in a quality designed printed piece. Visitors will again gauge your destination by the piece.

3. Pictures. Just like Word templates allow us to dream about being a graphics person, those cameras on our phones allow us to dream about being a great photographer. Use the phone to call someone and invest in a professional to capture quality shots of your attractions. Oh, and it’s okay to have people in the picture. Even better is if they appear to be enjoying the site.

4. Research. Okay, some will argue this should have been first, but if you don’t know who your target audience is, what they think, when they travel, what they want to do when they travel, what they think about destinations like yours, you are trying to shoot stars in the sky. Invest in some research and start shooting fish in a barrel.

5. Sales person. And not the really nice retired gal that has lived in Destinationville all of her life and everyone loves her. Instead that agressive “sell ice to an Eskimo” sales person that can make contacts and get people to your community. You have to be able to deliver. Harold Hill can’t oversell and disapoint the visitors, but someone needs to be selling!

Ask around. Pick up the phone and call a neighboring bureau. Heck, call me. All the above can be fairly affordable. If you want to “move that dial” this next budget year, these are the tools you will want to have had invested in!

Have a thought on these five? Does another tool rank above these? Share it with us!

(Originally posted May 2009)

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