Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Our new self-promotion t-shirts . .

Just in case there is any doubt about what we generate for our clients.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The stultifying sameness of advertising.

Here's a fun thing to do. 
Google a bunch of hotels and resorts and look up a bunch on TripAdvisor. This will prime your re-targeting pump and you'll get to see a lot of digital ads for these folks and people like them. Cubes, leaderboards - the works.
You're going to see fairly quickly that they look pretty much alike. Especially the resorts - a beach-in-the-foreground-water-in-the-background shot with some line that, frankly, is probably pretty much interchangeable with any other line on any other ad. In other words, nothing terribly unique or compelling here folks, move along. It appears that nobody ever even thought, for example, to show the beach from the water - if for no other reason, just to look different enough to attract attention.
Lookalike advertising is a waste of money. The purpose of advertising is to grab some eyeballs to your message. Not look like everybody else.

What's wrong with the New York Times?

Nothing really, so far as we can see. 
So one has to wonder why there is so little travel advertising in the Sunday Travel section. Sometimes, there only one or two ads in there. It's a national run - they don't do regional editions - and the open rate is a shade less than $1,200 per column inch. That means for about $18,000 you can run a 3 x 5 ad with almost no competition. Nationwide.
Which is to say, to people all over the country who are enjoying the Sunday Times over breakfast and coffee. And, because they are reading the Travel section, they have an interest in travel. These folks probably also have the time and money to travel, which makes that 18 grand a pretty good deal.
A highly visible 3 x 5 ad one time in a respected newspaper with a desirable readership. Well, no, it's not exactly a collection of cubes and leaderboards that come and go on all sort of websites (including some you'd never want to visit), and it's not the same as Adwords.
But it can sure as hell make those other things work harder. 

There's a difference between copywriters and SEO writers

The difference between an SEO writer and an ad copywriter is that SEO writers try to use as many words as possible to tickle the Search gods, while a real copywriter uses as few as possible to enhance the delivery of the message to the actual target audience.
One is focused on over-writing at the expense of clarity while the other is focused on making a marketing point.

Monday, May 16, 2016

It's the Pepsi Generation for . . . whatever


You've seen a billion of them. TV spots for everything from cars to phones to beer to vodka to  . . .  jeeze, probably even to long-term disability insurance.

They feature millennials just having so much fun as they run around, drive around, race around in the city, the country, on the beach, at a bar or at a party. They're quick cuts with lively music as they love their phones, their beer, their cars, their whatever else and  . . .
And they're repetitive and unoriginal. 

Our friend Lyn Thompson used to say back in the 70's that this sort of thing was "The Pepsi Generation for (product name goes here)."

There are two things about this that are kind of embarrassing. One is that they are for national brands who can't seem to find an agency with much in the way of original thought.
The other is that they run together so much and are so much one to another that it's hard to remember a specific or two.Which kind of seems to be the antithesis to advertising. Call me old-fashioned, but I never thought that the idea was to do ads and spots like everybody else's ads and spots.

Anybody can do that.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nobody likes budget development.  So let's talk about budget development.

One reason budget development for hotels and resorts is often such a headache is  because of starting at the wrong end. With tactics.

If you start with a list of tactics and assign costs next to each one, you will almost always end up with more than you can afford. Do you start with a list of "things to do" like advertising, PR, SEO, PPC and so on and simply put a cost next to each one? Let's re-think that. Don't just start with last year's tactics.

Start with goals and expectations instead. Be clear in your mind what your goals and expectations are. Build occupancy? Increase rate? A little bit of both? Or just maintain and not lose any ground?

We've put a thought-starter spreadsheet in the Thinking section of our website that can help you determine a budget level – and you'll see how having goals in mind can help you settle on what that budget figure ought to be. This worksheet lets you play around with different revenue goals and budget scenarios.

The point is, have your goals and expectations and a budget figure all lined up. Now you can think about tactics. But this way, you're looking at which tactics will help you reach that goal the most cost-effectively.

You still may find that they don't all fit within your budget. But at least this way, you have some parameters with which to evaluate and prioritize those efforts and determine which will bring you the best return. That's good.

And one reason it is good is that it might force you or whomever you work for to examine exactly how serious you are about your goals. If you have aggressive goals, but aren't willing to apply aggressive resources to them, well then, the whole budgeting exercise can seem a bit pointless.

If you've approached this the right way – setting goals and expectations first, then setting your budget figure, then prioritizing the tools you need to reach those goals and you simply can't get there from here, it's time to go back and re-think your goals or your budget. That spreadsheet makes it pretty easy to do either one.

This is a big topic that could go on forever, so we posted a downloadable paper in the "Thinking" section of our website with more on it. Help yourself.

But if you're like many in the hospitality industry, when budget season comes around you are asked to do more with less. This might be a business-based argument to take to the CFO.

Friday, February 12, 2016

What's the actual goal here?

OK, so we're the creative agency for a warm-weather resort client and Somebody Else does the social media. Right now, it's cold as hell in the Northeast, but, of course, toasty warm at the resort property.

So, the client wants to get some Facebook ads placed right quick pointing this out to their target.

OK now believe it or not, Facebook has different ad specs if you want to drive business to your website and if you want to generate page likes.

We sort of assumed the goal was to drive people to the website. You know to, um, well book a room? The social agency patiently explained to us that their goal is to generate page likes, so we need to re-size the ad.

So, to repeat: It's cold where the target lives, warm where the resort property is and rather than try to get people to visit the web site to book a room our goal is to generate page likes?

That might make the social agency look good, but isn't the ultimate point here to sell rooms?

What am I missing?