Thursday, June 7, 2018


Money is an issue. Money is always an issue.

So spend it wisely. 
To begin with, don’t be seduced by low cost. "You get what you pay for" is almost always true. Low cost and high quality are rarely compatible. Make one or the other a priority. 
With that in mind, here's a three-part approach that we think works well for independent hotels and resorts.
Focus your target - Start with geography. From your own records and your local CVB, determine where most of the traffic to your area hails from. Focus on the top four, or maybe even just the top one or two, depending on your available resources. A geography that is already sending guests your way is an opportunity. Unless you're a destination resort, your CVB should do the heavy lifting of getting them to come to town. Your job is to get them to stay at your place when they do. 
Creative message delivery - Now go beyond PPC or ad-tech placement. Don’t drop your PPC campaign, just augment it with some strong brand-message display. And don’t put all your eggs into an ad-tech basket with computer-generated placement.
There is life beyond cubes and leaderboards, and there are a lot of attention-getting toys out there you can use. So talk to ad reps for the media outlets in those targeted geographies. Newspapers, radio and TV stations all have websites – with leisure/travel sections. Those folks can offer you an impressive array of creative tools, like geo fencing, channel roadblock, video, pre-roll, contextual re-retargeting, page takeovers, sliding billboards and more. 
Those sorts of things are not typically available to you with ad-tech. And, although totally discounting any medium but digital could be a mistake, you don’t have to be running print or broadcast to make use of them, either. Besides, placing your own ads in a target geography will generally get you a better, more focused audience. 
It’s also important to stay away – well away – from lookalike creative that makes it more difficult to distinguish your property from the competition. Make a little noise of your own.
Close the deal on your website - Think about what happens when you pull someone to your website. Don’t just send them to the home page or specials page and stop there. Have your advertising agency and your web firm work together to create a landing page that will connect your advertising and your website.
And while you're at it, make sure your website is interesting and engaging – not just a brochure on wheels. Your advertising should bring them to your site for a reason other than price. Your website should close the deal. 
Marketing and sales communications today is a fairly dizzying arena with many choices and options and various experts whispering in your ear. And there are a lot more ins and outs and details and side roads than we could cover in a single email. But as a general rule, we think you can get a lot out of a limited marketing budget if you do a few fundamental things and do them well:
1) aim at the right target, 2) send out a strong message and 3) close the deal. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Artists, mechanics and creative marketers

Some years ago, my sister told me she thought the world was divided into artists and mechanics.

I guess, if you think about it, she's right. Probably a left-brain/right-brain thing.

I think this comes into especially sharp focus when you think about the creative marketing-digital execution divide. As general rule, creative people don't know all the technical details of the digital world as far as delivering a message is concerned. And they aren't doing their client any favors if they claim to.

By the same token, the digital mechanics on the other side of the marketing equation generally aren't at their best when it comes to creative. And they shouldn't try either.

It's like building a house. The architect has a clear job and a clear vision of what he or she wants to end up with; the construction company, project manager and workers all know how to make it happen. They need to work together, but they each need to recognize their role.

A creative marketing firm ought to be the driver in the Brand, strategy and creative messaging part of a marketing effort. The digital folks need to be the ones to make it happen - and offer any insight they may have on the latest whiz-bang digital stuff that might be employed to deliver the message.

As long as each of them understands that and is willing to work as a team, everything is going to work out just fine. 

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.