The last seven years have been very interesting for me to watch and see how the marketing/PR fields hav changed. If you were the marketing director of a ski resort (as I am) you used to spend a lot of money placing ads in vertical publications (aka SKI, Skiing, etc) and call it good. In fact, you knew you had made it as a resort when you had an ad running in every issue of these magazines. And of course this doesn’t come cheap! And who do these magazines even reach? Is it your audience.
A little over four years ago I was promoted to Director of Marketing and Communications from Communications manager at Park City Mountain Resort. There were a lot of people questioning my young age (26) and “what in the world I could know about marketing” when I had been in a PR world. I am not of the same belief that running ads in vertical pubs is a smart decision or even running ads in other magazines. What is the ROI? Can you really track it? I seemed to bump heads with those who had in been in their positions for over 20 years and continued to do the same thing year after year. Is it really smart to have the same marketing plan in place that you used 10 years ago? 5 years ago? even 3 years ago?
You see times have changed. It’s been said that american people see over 3,000 advertising messages a day! I love what Seth Godin said in the article “”Permission marketing turns strangers into friends and friends into loyal customers.”
So how do you accomplish this? What I believe in is good old PR. Now remember I don’t just think PR is about media relations, it’s about personal relationships! It is about communicating with your audiences…all of them. This means your internal team (and as a ski resort we have over 1500 employees to communicate our message and be brand advocates), the community you work in (especially if you are in the travel/tourism industry), your guests (those who choose to visit or use your product) and your future guests (those who don’t know yet why they should choose you). Each of these audiences is unique but they all have one thing in common: they want you to engage with them. They want to feel like they are getting “insider information”. They want “authentic” conversations. They don’t want to feel like you are just advertising to them.
So how are you turning strangers into friends? Are you engaging them? In what ways? Is there a balance that needs to be had? Of course. How do you find that balance? I’d like to know your comments.