NOTE: I previously shared with you my thoughts on 10 marketing trends that I plan to focus on in 2015. Of those 10 trends, I plan to break each one of them down into its simplest form so that you can understand it and implement it in your own destinations or places of business.

I often see and hear about the sales and marketing departments operating separately within organizations, with no one talking to each other. And for the life of me, I can’t understand why organizations allow this to happen. Let’s think about this rationally, shall we…

If the sales people are selling A widgets, but the marketing campaign is talking about B widgets, then there is a true disconnect for the brand and the destination in the marketplace. There is no synergy. Your offline efforts, such as tradeshows, grassroots, face-to-face meetings and speaking engagements should always correlate to what the potential traveler will see in digital media form. Too often, I have seen digital advertising be one message, and the sales message be another, with a completely different look and feel in the marketplace And then we wonder why people don’t fully understand our marketing message or connect with our destination.

Here’s how you can improve this situation:

  1. Have routine formal meetings with each department. Always make sure that your sales and marketing departments have direct access and direct communication to each other. Formal meetings can provide that opportunity to have top-level strategy meetings where all parties walk away with a to-do list. Content calendars on shared community networks can provide the necessary access and knowledge for all parties involved.
  2. Have informal conversations with key players. Some of the best ideas come from conversations you have in the break room, on lunch or when you travel together. Those informal conversations work, because mentally you are not confined to the four walls of your organization. Getting outside of formal settings allows people to think more freely and openly.
  3. Be more holistic in your approach to reach the consumer. Going in to any marketing strategy, you have to know that you can’t reach everyone with one tactic. It requires different forms of media to reach a designated action from the consumer. And sometimes, you just don’t have the money to stretch across multiple platforms, and that’s okay. You can still be holistic while working with one form of media, by providing content and calls-to-action that encompass various media usage.
  4. Put on some blinders. The key to any good marketing strategy is to be precise and targeted. I know often that sales people want to talk about everything under the sun, after all that’s what we pay them for – to talk! But that often leads to unaffecting messages aka “falling on deaf ears”. Every organization should have 3-5 key brand pillars that will drive the core message, and then use those brand pillars to introduce the other attributes of the destination.
  5. Give up control. Everyone wants to own the message nowadays – whereas every sales person thinks they are a marketer and every marketer thinks they are a sales person. Quit trying to tell the next person what to do. Just bring your knowledge to the table to cover your area of expertise and I promise you that you will be able to create a marketing strategy that is a win-win.

What are some things that you have done, or are planning to do, to develop true online/offline marketing integration?

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