5 Golden Rules to Running Successful Campaigns
It’s a simple rule but one that’s easy to forget, and one that if you’re honest with yourself as a marketer you will continue to learn many times during your career. In tourism we’re all marketers whether it’s in our job title or not. So I thought I’d share a few marketing campaign golden rules with you. To give them a bit of context I’ll use our ‘’Stay 3 nights, but only pay for 2’’ campaign that we’ve now run three times for Wellington with our hotel partners.
5 Golden Rules
Rule 1 – The right objective
Set specific objectives for your short term and long term plans, because if you don’t, you won’t know if you’ve been successful or not.
Rule 2 – The right target market
This is the most important part of your campaign – ‘’Don’t sell to everybody; sell to somebody!’’
Rule 3 – The right offer
Always ask yourself ‘’What’s the benefit my customer will gain for buying or using my product or service?’’
Rule 4 – The right communication
Use the AIDA principle – your message must gain the customer’s Attention from the start. Involve her and arouse her Interest (I’m referring to females here as we know they make the majority of short break holiday decisions!). Develop that interest into a strong Desire for purchase/use and get the desired Action.
Rule 5 – The right review
You never fully know how successful you are going to be. The only way is to test, and test continually. Make sure you analyse your activities against your objectives and take the time to ensure you learn from all your experiences, good or bad.
Putting it into practice – part 1
So let’s take a look at the first ‘’Stay 3 nights, but only pay for 2’’ campaign we ran with our hotel partners last winter. The campaign was a major success and resulted in WellingtonNZ.com booking revenue increasing 60% on the same period year on year and surpassing $80,000 revenue for a single month for the first time ever.
Rule 1 – The right objective: Our objective was to increase hotel partner occupancy during the challenging winter period, and gain 100+ bookings on WellingtonNZ.com (the campaign also included partner hotel websites). We beat this target by more than 50%.
Rule 2 – The right target market: Our target audience was clearly defined as couples aged 25-55 wanting a short break weekend to get away from the winter blues.
Rule 3 – The right offer: Stay 3 nights, but only pay for 2; as long as one of the nights is a Saturday night. This offer hit the mark with our target audience and also enabled our hotel partners to improve weekend occupancy during Wellington’s traditionally challenging winter period.
Rule 4 – The right communication: We communicated our campaign message via updating the ending of our motivational brand television commercial for Wellington with a call to action for ‘’Stay 3 nights, but only pay for 2’’ and ran digital advertising alongside this through our own Positively Wellington Tourism channels as well as paid for channels.
Rule 5 – The right review: We undertook a full review of the campaign results and promo activities at the end of the campaign and came to the conclusion that we should try the offer out during Wellington’s other traditionally challenging time of low hotel occupancy – mid-December to late January.
Can we make the offer work during summer? – part 2
We made a couple of tweaks to the campaign. We created a stand alone 15 second television commercial and removed the necessity for one of the nights to be a Saturday.
We launched the campaign with high hopes straight after Labour Weekend (as our research had shown that this is when New Zealanders start to make their Christmas holiday plans).
So how did we go? Well we’ve achieved a small positive increase year on year for the summer period, however the booking results were 50% down on our winter campaign. Why was this? It was very much case of right idea but the wrong offer for the time of year. At a time when Kiwis traditionally go to the beach and the bach the offer needed to be a stronger motivator relevant to the time of year.
Let’s roll out ‘’3 for 2’’ again for winter 2012 – part 3
As the offer and campaign mechanics worked so well last winter we rolled it out again for this winter. The result was a 15% increase in bookings and a 25% increase in revenue on WellingtonNZ.com on last year’s fantastic winter result. It proved that it was the right offer, at the right time.
So do we have a plan for this coming summer? Yes we do. In keeping with our analysis it won’t be a ‘’Stay 3, pay for 2’’ offer …watch this space!