Digital and Destination Marketing in 2012

Digital and Destination Marketing in 2012

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It’s January 31st. The year is in full swing. Last chance to post something on what 2012 will bring! So, here goes.

It is certainly an interesting time for destination marketing and the national, regional and city Destination Marketing Organisation – the ‘DMO’. We have been talking about fundamental and revolutionary change for a while now. The hyper connected economy in which we live means our customers are now truly empowered and we are facing up to the fact that they are getting increasingly turned off by one-way communication. The current economic climate has brought with it austere times in many countries around the world and with that comes cost cutting and spending controls.

There are however plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the opportunities that 2012 brings for digital and destination marketing. Here are five.

  1. There is a real opportunity, through better collaboration, to get what could be a whole country behind creating, sharing and distributing great content about your destination. Imagine that! The potential to leverage a hugely valuable content network to help you achieve your marketing objectives from awareness raising to conversion is indeed a huge one.
  2. We have been saying that this year will be the year of mobile for at least 5 years. This year probably will be! And mobile is intrinsically linked to local search. If you have not done so already your destination marketing strategy needs to consider the opportunities mobile brings and how you develop marketing programmes and platforms to support that.
  3. Integration really is important. Destinations really are thinking about multichannel now and we are even starting to define multichannel roles within the organisations we work in. Those organisations are starting to figure out how to deliver integrated marketing campaigns across multiple channels. Furthermore, words like engagement, participation and sharing are becoming part of every destination marketers vocabulary.
  4. It is finally time to put that campaigns mentality you have been developing for the last 25 years to one side. Yes, your campaigns still have a place but you need to start putting relationships at the heart of those campaigns. An unending dialogue between your destination and the customers that are interested in talking to you.
  5. Focus and prioritise. Probably the biggest challenge you face is time. A list that is far too long for you to have any chance of reaching the bottom of. At its simplest level developing strategy is about making sure the right things are at the top of the list. This presents an opportunity in itself – making the right decisions around where to invest, where to test and what deserves a rest.

Perhaps ironically some of the biggest challenges you are going to face are likely to exist closer to home.

Paradoxically, success in delivering digital is more to do with people than technology. The skills shortage and lack of experience that exists in other areas of digital applies equally to the DMO. Success very much depends on getting the right people in the right jobs – and creating an environment for them to thrive.

The destination’s relationship with the tourism industry is critical. Even smaller tourism businesses are empowered to act like never before and reach out directly to the customers they are targeting. How the destination enables and supports those tourism businesses as well as defines the DMO’s role across awareness, consideration, planning, booking and advocacy will dictate whether the destination creates an effective and collaborative relationship with the industry it is supporting.

And finally, just a little bit of tech. Developing a destination content ecosystem, taking advantage of the opportunity that mobile brings and undertaking useful evaluation and measurement in a truly multichannel environment demands more of your platforms and toolset than ever before. Just like the marketing programmes you are running, success is going to depend on effective integration of different systems and technologies in the pursuit of delivering a seamless customer experience.

Good luck!