Multichannel marketing: how can it help a DMO?

Multichannel marketing is a complex, however indispensable marketing strategy when it comes to trying to connect to customers. Many organizations still struggle with using multichannel marketing when it comes to optimizing their customer engagement management, while it really can be done. Especially in the case of a DMO, multichannel marketing is very important to help connect customers to a brand on various levels while at the same time improving the channels accessibility and reducing the costs of the channel infrastructure (Peelen & Beltman, 2013).

Multichannel marketing is all about choice; giving the customer the choice of interacting with you, in whatever manner is most convenient for them at all stages of the customer journey (SAS, 2015). Because of this, multichannel marketing has to be carried out by using both direct as indirect channels, as both of these channels are used to sell goods and services to customers. These channels can be subdivided as the physical arena, digital arena and social media arena. To briefly explain: the physical arena is where your customers are in direct contact with the organization, such as a travel agency. The digital arena has to do with your digital world, for example your website visitation and email traffic. Lastly, the social media arena include the DMO’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

The pitfalls of many companies when using multichannel marketing, are irrelevant messaging, disjointed campaigns and poor optimization, leading to a customer engagement strategy that is not working (SAS, 2015). When this happens, instead of reducing costs by utilizing multichannel marketing, it is increasing the costs, while not even strengthening the customer engagement. This can be improved by following three simple steps, which are creating and maintaining a single view of the customer across all channels, establishing a multichannel marketing platform and by creating a consistent customer experience across all channels (SAS, 2015).

This specific type of marketing can be especially beneficial to DMO’s, as the average vacation purchase cycle takes 30-days or more, creating a lot of moments for the potential customer to slip in and out of the customer journey (BIGEYE, 2016). Booking a holiday is not a fast process, and therefore it is very important for DMO’s to be available to the customer one very level, on every second of the day in order to improve customer engagement. By using multichannel marketing, you learn how to invest your money in the right channels, which will give your company a huge boost. It is the perfect opportunity to connect to your customers while also reducing your own marketing costs. It’s a win-win.

References:

BIGEYE. (2016, August 8). Multi-Channel Marketing Meets Tourism. Retrieved on October 8, 2016. From: http://bigeyeagency.com/blog/multi-channel-marketing/

Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.

SAS. (2015). Multichannel marketing. Retrieved on October 8, 2016. From: http://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/marketing/multichannel-marketing.html

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DMO’s: let Data Mining help you to target the right customer

Over the last decade, more and more companies are beginning to grasp the importance of customer engagement, and therefore have been conducting a lot of research in regard to how they can engage their customer to the most of their abilities. However, according to Emerald Insight, many businesses have been caught off guard by the enormous amount of data they gathered. Data mining, which is a process that can turn raw data into useful information by using software to look for patterns and relationships, can be a great solution for these overwhelmed companies (Investiopia, LLC.).

By using the data mining process, businesses can learn more about their customers, develop more effective marketing strategies as well as increase sales and decrease costs. Data mining is a broad and extensive process that can be used for many different aspects of companies in various sectors. However, for this blog, we will be focusing on three specific aspects for which data mining can be used, which are identifying market segments, database marketing and scoring.

The first thing you have to do in order to be successful  is identifying market segments, in order to be able to target customers personally and individually (Bearson, Smith & Thearling, 1999). Data mining can be of great significance in order to successfully carry out this aspect, since it requires substantial data regarding potential customers and their buying behavior. When using data mining – the more data the better, since the process can find the useful information easily and can connect and detect the most important patterns and connections.

After finding the right information, the marketing team can use these results to create a targeted marketing campaign directed at the previously defined market segments. By using data mining in order to create the campaigns, marketers can alter and modify the campaign just right in order to connect it closely with the needs, wants, and behavioral patterns of their potential customers (Bearson, Smith & Thearling, 1999). In this aspect of data mining, it is important to ask yourself specific questions about your potential customers, such as ‘which potential customers are most likely to respond to a particular kind of offer?’.

Finally data mining can be used for scoring. In this aspect, data mining can be used to build models by using customer data to predict future customer behavior. A ‘score’ can indicate the likelihood of a potential customer’s behavior (Bearson, Smith & Thearling, 1999). With regard to a DMO, this information can be very important in terms of who to target with which offer. A DMO can, for example, target specific customers with specific offers for a type of city or attraction a potential customer is eager to see.

References:

Berson, A., Smith, S. & Thearling, K. (1999). Building Data Mining Applications for CRM. McGraw-Hill Companies (December 22).

Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.

The importance of Personas in Customer Journey Mapping for DMOs

“Customer journey mapping is the process of tracking and describing all the experiences customers have as they encounter a service or set of services, taking into account not only what happens to them, but also their responses to these experiences” (Dent, 2013). Creating the ultimate customer engagement strategy is of great importance for any company,  which is why it is necessary to be able to map a customer’s journey. By doing so, you can very specifically analyze the customer’s preferences and opinion about your company and its strategy, while also figuring out more about the aspects which are creating gaps during the entire customer journey. In this blog I will be focussing on DMOs (Destination Management Organizations), who represent destinations and focusses on the development of long-term travel and tourism strategy of that destination (Figueroa, 2016).

In order to make the customer happy, you will have to segment your different target groups into potential customers with similar interests, after which you can create a persona for each segment. By doing so, you can specifically and personally target the customers during the entire customer journey. First, the differences between people’s demographic and personal characteristics should be determined and subdivided. This way the organization will gain more insight on who its customers are, the value they bring to the company, thus enhancing the image of the company (Dent, 2013).

Personas are typically defined using three research methods, which are independent market research, combined with insights from your actual customers usually obtained through surveys and interviews, and finally, the overall market trends (Arnie Kuenn, 2015). It is important to know how many personas you are going to be using in your company and how specifically you are going to segment your customers. According to Arnie Kuenn (2015), depending on your company’s size and its business model, the ideal number of personas is anywhere between 2 and 30.

For example, a DMO would segment their customers as follows. First they segment the demographic characteristics, such as their age, gender, education, jobs, household income and composition and marital status, after which they can look at the behavioral characteristics. These include things such as ‘what keeps them up at night’, their challenges, role in purchasing and content consumption, while also having an idea who their customers are and their values they have and bring to your company. After completing this research, you can pinpoint all the personas you want to use, and can start targeting them in different ways in order to make each customer feel special and individually targeted. A great example of a DMO that used this approach, is Visit California. In 2015, Visit California launched their new marketing strategy, in which they break down their consumer target audience demographics and psychographich profiles. Two examples of their personas are ‘Momy Maximus’ (the busy working mother who puts family before all else and makes the bulk of family travel decisions) and ‘The Confident Connoisseur’ (for the luxury travel market) (Oates, 2015).

After creating the personas you want to use, you have to make sure it is consistently used across your entire company, so that every team, but especially the sales team, can benefit (Sorenson, 2011). When all your employees are aware of the various personas that the company uses, not only the indirect but also direct contact with your customers can be targeted to a specific persona. This will enhance the connectivity a customer will feel to your brand, product and services, creating a better customer engagement and brand loyalty level.

References:

Dent, Julie (2013). Customer Journey  Mapping: A Walk In Customers’ Shoes. In ascend Issue No 2. Retrieved September 24, 2016.

Figueroa, A. (2016, June 1). What is a DMO. Retrieved October 12, 2016. From: http://tourism.about.com/od/marketingandpromotion/fl/What-is-a-DMO.htm

Kuenn, Arnie (2015, May 4). Why You Need A Persona-Based Content Marketing Strategy. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from http://marketingland.com/why-you-need-persona-based-content-marketing-strategy-125582

Oates, G. (2015, June 15). Visit California Dives Deep Into Traveler Profiles With New Strategic Marketing Plan. Published in: Skift. Retrieved October 8, 2016, from https://skift.com/2015/06/15/visit-california-dives-deep-into-traveler-profiles-with-new-strategic-marketing-plan/

Sorenson, Lauren (2011, December 13). 6 Core Benefits of Well-Defined Marketing Personas. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/29583/6-Core-Benefits-of-Well-Defined-Marketing-Personas.aspx#sm.00005u1pfjndcekfzl825ix17iol1

Implementing the Total Engagement Model in DMOs

We all know that a business in the time that we live in now, has to do better than just offer a great product for a good price. Everywhere you look, you can see companies making an effort to target and engage every single customer individually in order to persuade them to buy their product, and, most importantly, to make them fall in love with the product or service they provide. But in the midst of all the enormous amounts of strategies that are available, which one works? Well, the Total Engagement Model does.

According to Frank Alpert (2010), there are only two demands in order to create the ultimate customer engagement and ‘level-5 customers’, which are that your brand should consistently communicate your value proposition, and your internal culture should be used as a tool to deliver a distinct value proposition and planned customer experience. Though this might sound easy enough, it is very difficult to make your message sound through each time you connect with a customer. This does not only mean that every commercial you make should include your slogan, no, also every employee – customer moment, every email, every letter and whatnot should come back to that one message you want to send out to all your clients.

This automatically indicates that you should be very meticulous about recruiting new employees and training the employees you already have. It is not just about them needing a particular skillset to work for your company, your employees themselves should also be enthusiastic, engaged to the brand you are selling and fully comprehend the company’s strategy to get that brand out in the world. The best way to accomplish this kind of employee engagement is by creating a transparent work environment, where their opinions matter and they are not just a disposable piece of the company. A specific company that has great employee engagement, is Google. According to Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith (2013), Google “communicates an environment of playfulness from whimsical doodles to April Fool’s Day jokes”.

In order to implement the Total Customer Engagement Model into destination management, you will need a clear customer value proposition, one of which the core will be used in every aspect of the customer engagement strategy. In addition, as stated before, you will need a good internal culture with engaged employees. The pitfalls you will have to be aware of include creating all the key elements as one, in order to create a working message, lack of consistency in the customer engagement journey, and to never lose focus of the customer’s satisfaction (F. Alpert, 2010).

Some of the challenges that DMOs face when it comes to customer engagement, is the fact that customers are now, according to Marketo (2014), more empowered than ever. Because of the internet, customers are now able to gather extensive information about anything they want, including your company, its culture and strategy, but also other competitors and of course, customer’s reviews.This development allows your customers to already form an opinion about your products or services, without even having experienced it for themselves.

Overall, the journey to a perfect customer engagement strategy is a difficult one, but it can be done, especially in the destination management branch. By creating a transparent work environment, for both your customers as well as your employees, in addition to consistently communicating your value proposition and utilizing your company culture for every step of the way, you can gain a customer’s trust, and most importantly, loyalty.

References

Alpert, F. (2010, June) Total customer engagement: Designing and aligning key strategic elements to achieve growth. Retrieved September 17, 2016.

Marketo. (2014, September 29). The 5 Principles of Engagement Marketing. Retrieved September 17, 2016.

Vorhauser-Smith, S. (2013, August 14). How the Best Places to Work are Nailing Employee Engagement. Retrieved September 17, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/sylviavorhausersmith/2013/08/14/how-the-best-places-to-work-are-nailing-employee-engagement/#9ce971638aa4