Is it time for a more intelligent approach to travel marketing?
by Special Nodes
Digital and social media have opened the floodgates to real communication between brands and customers.
Despite the wealth of consumer data now available, many travel brands are failing to effectively utilise it to deepen its understanding of customers and improve engagement through tailored and relevant communications.
To stay ahead, travel brands and tourist boards need to integrate thinking across every discipline, know the value of every touch-point and put the customer at the heart of every communication.
This requires a step-change in thinking and a very different approach to marketing – one where customer intelligence sits at the heart of all activity.
The intelligent customer
A shift in the balance of power between brands and customers has occurred. Individuals know more about the products they buy than ever before.
Early stages in the buying cycle used to be driven by what the brand chose to say in its advertising and marketing. Now they are initiated by the way consumers pick up those messages – or even create them in the first place.
Social media has given the consumer a new power: market intelligence is available to all, via comparison websites, user reviews, blogs and ratings; it is accessible online and through the mobile phone.
Hearing the voice of the consumer, acting on what it is telling the brand and reflecting the individual’s needs and desires in a conversation is now what makes marketing engaging.
It also makes it more effective. Marketing has to become smarter.
Travel and holidays are enormously emotionally-driven purchases and are one of the most researched purchases consumers make.
The potential to ignite interest and spark conversations through imaginative marketing is therefore incredibly exciting.
The challenge travel marketers face is that consumers and their purchasing decisions are varied and multi-faceted – they’re dealing with individuals, not mass markets, and with shifting roles, not fixed identities.
Driving creative messages, content and even the online experience needs to be supported by data.
Creative ideas built on insights should give the consumer a clear sense that the brand understands, recognises and respects them – in other words, something they can trust and will want to buy into.
Get it right and it powers a campaign beyond what classic marketing has ever been able to achieve. Intelligent marketing is all about leveraging data to generate the best understanding of the consumer, to identify appropriate and powerful propositions that match their needs and wants, to express that knowledge creatively and to use the consumer’s preferred channels to deliver the message.
By using customer intelligence that way, what starts as a conversation steadily becomes a deeper connection.
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