Why Destinations Should Create More Content And Less Campaigns


Earlier this year, I wrote about 4 tourism marketing trends to look out for in 2016. And in that post, I briefly touched on the importance of producing more content as opposed to developing more campaigns. Here is what I had to say:

Campaigns are clever, but content is compelling. Campaigns are usually time-sensitive with starting and ending dates, and in order for them to work, they have to be really really good in order to break through the clutter. But the problem with campaigns is that consumers see right through them, and they add no value. Content, on the other hand, can add value. It actually works in all phases of the travel cycle, and is more likely to be consumed and shared. The key to being a good marketer is to always add value to the end user, so allocate your resources to create more content versus more campaigns.

By definition, a marketing campaign is a series of coordinated activities designed to help market a product for a limited duration. Content is the various forms of information communicated to an intended audience. So, both of these involve sharing information with audiences, but only one is constrained by time. Content is evergreen in nature, whereas campaigns have a limited shelf life. Content is multi-faceted and can accomplish several things, including, but not limited to brand awareness, improved conversion rates, enhanced customer service and thought leadership.

Let’s take a look at a few statistics on content:

  • Every minute, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube
  • Between April 2015 and November 2015, the amount of average daily video views on Facebook doubled from 4 billion video views per day to 8 billion
  • In July 2015, Periscope users were watching 40 years’ worth of videos every day
  • 42% of shoppers would like to see more product description and service demonstration videos, such as 360-degree product views
  • The most effective B2B marketers spend 39% of their marketing budgets on content

The problem I have with marketing campaigns for travel is that most of them look and sound just alike. At times, I feel like I could take existing campaigns, change out the city name, and just leave the ad copy and images the same and you wouldn’t even know the difference. Today’s consumer doesn’t want to feel like they are being marketed to, and to break through the clutter requires creativity, patience and an extensive media budget to reach the masses. What is the last marketing campaign you viewed, that persuaded to you to buy a product? Better yet, what is the last travel marketing campaign that persuaded you to travel somewhere…and you purchased that trip? Now, I have to admit, while I do have “beef” with marketing campaigns in general, I am in love with the Arby’s We Have The Meats campaign, and it has elevated their brand to new heights. But how many marketing campaigns end up being that successful? And how many of us have $100 million dollars to spend annually? As much as I love this campaign, how long before I need to see or hear a new message?

Content, being multi-faceted, gives you the ability to not only direct sell your destination, but it also provides you with the opportunity to offer up the intangible pieces of the destination to touch more people in more ways. Content is also more fluid, and allows you to adjust the message, so that you can reach the right person at the right time on the right device. If your marketing campaign begins to fail before it is completed, you can either cancel the remaining media buy, spend more money to update or add to the creative or just ride it out with the hopes that it will turn around. By focusing on content more, you are able to be more adaptable to the consumer and their needs, which offers up the chance to build a relationship between your brand content and the consumer.

There is a place for marketing campaigns. But in 2016, as destination brands, we need to focus on developing more content and not more campaigns.

[Sources: Video Statistics, http://www.invodo.com/resources/statistics/; 37 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2016, http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy;15 Mind-Blowing Stats About Content Marketing, http://www.cmo.com/articles/2015/7/22/15-mind-blowing-stats-about-content-marketing.html]

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