Hot trends in hotel advertising: Subtlety works best

“I want a feast
I want a bean feast

Cream buns and doughnuts and fruitcake with no nuts so good you could go nuts.

No, now!

I want a ball

I want a party

Pink macaroons and a million balloons and performing baboons and

Give it to me now.

I want the world,

I want the whole world.

I want to lock it all up in my pocket

It’s my bar of chocolate

Give it to me now!

I want today

I want tomorrow

I want to wear them like braids in my hair and I don’t want to share them

I want a party with roomfuls of laughter

Ten thousand ton of ice cream

And if I don’t get the things I am after

I’m going to scream!

I want the works,

I want the whole works!

Presents and prizes and sweets and surprises in all shapes and sizes,

And now!

Don’t care how I want it now!

Don’t care how I want it now!”

The above song may be a harmonious tantrum performed by one Veruca Salt in the 1971 film adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but the lyrics speak to the way a hotel should perceive its guests. That’s not to say that all guests are sniveling, snotty-nosed adolescents, but for an industry that deals in comfort and convenience, it doesn’t hurt to operate under that assumption. The average overnighter takes for granted the luxuries a hotel provides. So when something does go awry, no matter how miniscule, the concierge often takes an ear-licking.

Guests expect their stay to go off without a hitch. They don’t want to see an establishment’s seams, so to speak. So, a hotel must present itself as competent, discreet and ahead of the curve. There are numerous approaches that can be taken to this end. Here, we discuss four:

1. Street propaganda:

Guerrilla marketing, a low budget, avant-garde approach to self-promotion can be highly effective in portraying an out of the box, curatorial image to a potential client; it also falls into the discreet category. A good propaganda campaign should promote with clever subtlety. Our Florida advertising agency knows the value of this technique lies in its ties to social media marketing. A really creative guerrilla strategy can take on a life of its own by inspiring observers to document their reactions through Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and countless other social media sites. The following link demonstrates several examples of unique street propaganda:

http://www.boredpanda.com/cool-and-creative-street-ads/

2. Easy online accessibility:

Hotel’s must make their website accessible and up-to-date. The site should leave no question unanswered. A customer should be able to book a room, dinner reservation or spa appointment with the touch of a mouse. They should be able to speak to a hotel representative via online chat. Basically, a hotel’s website should act as an interactive reception desk. Daily updates and notices regarding not just the hotel, but also the surrounding area can be helpful as well. It pays to work with a good developer who is aware of the latest advents and limitations of the Internet.

3. Go green image:

Environmentally conscious business practices are key. More so than a hotel making sure it’s operating with the tiniest footprint it can muster, it should also promote these efforts to its guests. If the restaurant in the hotel only uses organic, farm-to-table ingredients, this should be made known. If the lobby motif is made from recycled materials, shout it from the rooftops. After all, green is definitely the new black. Guests will respect any effort to that end.

4. Respond to online comments:

Yet another cheap and fruitful way to make a positive impression with an audience is to keep up with what that audience is saying. This is sort of a no brainer, but to be truly effective, don’t just keep track of sites like Trip Advisor or Travelocity. Instead, reply to comments, be those comments good or bad, with useful information. If a past guest complained about an obstructed room view, apologize and offer them a room with a better view during their next stay. If another applauds the tuna tartar at your dining establishment, thank them kindly and tell them they’re a real mensch for saying so. This practice makes a hotel seem more human; less like a machine on autopilot.

In search of a hotel advertising strategy to ensure that your visitors will also become your biggest fans? Contact our team of marketing experts today!

Marketing Is Now Smarter with Business Intelligence

Business intelligence sounds like something out of a spy movie.  Throw in a few fancy gadgets and an alpha male protagonist, and it could be the premise for the next James Bond flick.  In actuality, the practices associated with business intelligence may not, at least on the surface level, be as glamorous as the plot of Skyfall.  But, with effective business intelligence practices, companies can make strategic decisions that result in savings of thousands or even millions of dollars over time… and THAT sounds pretty glamorous, now doesn’t it?  The folks at our Florida advertising agency think so!

First of all, let’s talk about what business intelligence actually means.  According to Wikipedia, business intelligence is “a set of theories, methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business purposes.”  Put in plain English, that means using data to make factually based business decisions.

It often surprises me how many business owners neglect to put business intelligence at the core of otherwise sophisticated marketing strategies.  They’ll hire marketers to spend thousands of dollars on campaigns, only to find themselves on the losing end of a major marketing push because the marketing team didn’t take the time to assess the ways in which people interact with their brands.

Successful companies analyze business intelligence at both micro and macro levels.  On a micro level, analysts can pinpoint exactly what steps an individual used to make a purchase, from that person’s first impression to what drove his or her impulse to make a purchase.

On a larger level, business intelligence analysts can explain trends across time.  Why do sales suddenly spike at a particular department store during the fall?  What will the financial standing of the company be in a decade?  This kind of information helps businesses executives make smart choices about where to allocate resources, and where to pull the plug.

Of course, business intelligence practices almost always hinge on the quality of the data.  How can business owners be sure they’re capturing the correct data about the correct consumers and practices?  In some cases, this comprises an entire subfield of business intelligence.  After all, it’s worthless for a company to have a lot of information about the wrong type of consumer.

So how can a team of executives gain business intelligence insights?  Typically, marketers collect and store this information through a mix of spreadsheets, reporting software, digital dashboards and other systems.  These tools range from simple to complex, and offer insights into a range of information about user behavior.  Sometimes this extends into internal practices as well.

The business intelligence field is vast, and there’s always a new way to approach the data.  But, a strong team of strategists on your side can help you sift through the junk, in order to find the information you need.

Sophisticated business intelligence practices can help a marketing team design a digital strategy that helps the business reach out directly to a target group, in ways that emphasize the ways in which those individuals consume. However, it takes significant skill to be able to effectively gauge and predict the outcome of campaigns based on business intelligence data.  If you’re struggling with how to help boost your bottom line using business intelligence insights, the team at our Florida advertising agency has a few ideas to help your organization thrive!  We do this for companies and organizations all over the country, let us help yours.

How to Reach the Female Sports Fan In Your Market

In popular culture, it’s common to see television shows where a man sits around watching football, while his wife stands around complaining.  These images that are ingrained in our cultural behavior show men drinking beer and watching the big game, with the women in the corner, cleaning up the mess.

Because of the often masculine appeal of most sports, it’s common to confuse their primary audiences with people of the same gender.  But the reality is that this is not so.

In fact, more than one half of tennis fans are female, a fact that tennis marketers appear to recognize.  Many female tennis spectators are also players (certainly plenty of our Florida advertising agency team members love to get outside for a good match!), and as such, companies continue to invest money in creating fashionable products and apparel for the female tennis enthusiast.

Others are not quite as obvious.

For example, NFL games are dominated by male-leaning television commercials and sports coverage.  However, more than a third of the people who identify themselves as football fans are female.  As such, there seems to be a disconnect between the methods of sports advertising and this demographic.

[quote]It’s important to remember that, from an ROI perspective, women account for 85% of all purchases in all categories, including automotive purchases, apparel, household goods, and food purchases.[/quote]  Being able to hone in on the potential female customer can greatly increase the opportunity for successful commercial advertising during primetime sports slots, increased awareness through sponsorship activities and for cultivating ongoing relationships with the female sports enthusiast.

A common misconception is that women who are sports fans are also somehow tomboys, and that, if given the choice, they would choose hoodies bearing their teams’ logos instead of cute sundresses that show the same logo.  There aren’t many companies that have successfully tested this theory, but a sports apparel company catering to creating high fashion lines for females might actually do quite well!  But, leaning too much in this direction can also be polarizing;… working off the assumption that every ladies’ night at the ball game should be about pink bows and jewelry raffles can be just as belittling.

As with most categorizations, classifying a group as “women” is just one categorization of a number of broader subsets of personalities and interests.  It’s important for sports franchise marketers and sports brands to think creatively when trying to reach the female target consumer.

Perhaps the number one marketing sin is forgetting that she exists.  Alienating the female sports fan by creating ads that are masculine-learning or blatantly sexist effectively costs sports marketers revenue and goodwill in the eyes of the female consumer.

Instead, sports marketers should take heed of some useful advice to help market to the female sports fan.

Develop Audience Insights: Using social media listening tools, sports marketers can garner significant data about their female consumers.  Are they using Pinterest, or are they more Twitter-friendly?  These insights can help sports marketers craft campaigns that offer maximum exposure.

Develop Products Designed for the Female Sports Fan: Thinking outside the box to create products such as colorful iPhone sleeves bearing a team’s logo can help the female sports fan to express herself, while also giving her something that offers practicality and functionality.

Encourage Engagement: An article published on The Next Web last year noted that women are “more likely” to make your social media campaign go viral.  Make the most of your female fans by encouraging them to share.

For more ideas on how to reach women in sports, contact our Florida marketing agency for a consultation, and learn how we’ve helped numerous entertainment businesses grow through integrated marketing efforts.

A Face(book) only a mother could love: How social are moms?

When Facebook first began, it was a tool for students to connect with one another, typically within a limited age range of about 20-30.  Later, when Zuckerberg opened up the Facebook forum to people of all ages, more people learned about the value of reaching out to one another using what is now the world’s largest social network.  What was once seen as cool and limited to a select group of people who were “in the know” became open to everyone.  A college student would cringe to open up his friend requests to see, smiling back at him, an image of his own mother.
But these days, it’s the norm for mothers of all types to connect with their children and with other moms using Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networks.  As women are seeing the benefits of technology, more of them are also investing in tablets and smart phones, which provide ways for them to stay connected.

Facebook is a revolutionary tool for mothers, who often post pictures of their children and families to share with friends.  In fact, many young mothers make their living from blogging and working remotely in social fields, as doing so allows them the flexibility to stay home with their children while still allowing them to earn a living.  Older mothers have found the value of using Facebook to help them stay connected to business contacts.

[quote]For advertisers, moms are a highly coveted demographic, as they are often the ones who have the power to make purchasing decisions for items such as diaper brands, video games, and children’s cereals, among other things.  [/quote]It seems like a no-brainer that these mothers would engage in significant social sharing activity – through social networking sites, they stay connected.

At a recent BlogHer conference sponsored by a number of mommy-friendly companies like Diet Pepsi and Johnson & Johnson, hundreds of moms got together to discuss trends in social media and digital networking.  These aren’t your traditional soccer moms – many of these moms were urban professionals who make a living in the digital media industry, networking to reach out to other moms to create and maintain a community.

Sites like Babble.com cater to what they call “a new generation of parents,” writing articles with titles like “18 Ways to Keep Yourself Feeling Sexy During a Dry Spell.”  In essence, this ain’t your mama’s website…. Except actually, it is!

So, back to the core question – how social are moms?  In a word, incredibly.  Neilsen reports that moms are some of the biggest influencers out there, and use social media to stay connected to one another.  They are:

– 81 percent more likely to become a fan of or follow a brand online

– 86 percent more likely to post a status update

– 84 percent more likely to comment or post content than the general population.

Of course, there may be demographic shifts due to the age of the parent, location, household income and a host of other factors.  But, the mother of one four-year-old I know has hundreds of connections on LinkedIn, due at least partially due to her propensity to use LinkedIn as a networking tool to help her grow her small business.

As social media continues to grow and expand, so too will the ways in which mothers reach out to one another through social media.

To learn more about how you can market to moms in order to create brand preference and instill brand loyalty, check out our Florida marketing agency’s recent whitepaper on marketing to moms, which discusses strategies for segmentation, creating appeals and assessing your own brand to determine the right moms for your business.

Are you a socially savvy mom? Connect with us on Facebook!

Branding discussion: Developing a brand persona – Part I

People who love their brands have an emotional attachment to them that’s almost impossible to match.  Give an Apple enthusiast a Samsung Galaxy to play with, and watch him politely decline to try the $700 phone.  Whether it’s Target for reliability and quality, Neiman Marcus for luxury goods, or JetBlue for affordable airfare, people stick to brands when there’s trust and loyalty between the brand and the consumer.
But how can a marketer with a new product, service or feature create and instill brand loyalty and a brand persona into its users?  After all, the business owner is typically working in a competitive landscape – while the brand may offer a superior product, the business owner unfortunately still must rise above the noise to get potential customers to convert to loyalists.

Brand strategists have discovered that they can do this through creating a strong, unique brand persona.  By addressing a few key concerns, they can rise above others in the field to establish a strong brand presence, as well as a loyal customer base.

Tips from Our Florida Advertising Agency

Here are some tips from the pros at our Orlando marketing agency that business owners can try in order to help create a strong brand identity:

Know Your Audience: Truly understanding your audience is two-fold.  Data helps provide insights about your target demographic – perhaps they are female  smartphone owners, aged 25-35, who enjoy cooking.  But once you know your audience based on consumer insights, you might simply begin to develop gut instincts about them.  There’s a fine line between giving your consumers what they want based on your analytic data, and giving them features and services they love that they didn’t know they wanted.

Create an Ideal Customer:  If mom-to-be Hannah Jones, who lives at home with her husband in a middle class home in the suburbs is your ideal client, then perhaps you’re doing yourself a disservice by heavily marketing in urban areas.  Our Florida advertising agency warns against attracting customers that are not ideal, you may also damage your business by potentially causing dilution of the brand name. Take some tips from the brand Airwalk, which quickly fell downhill once it stopped making its line of specialty shoes aimed toward teenage skateboarders and available only at specialty stores, and accidentally began reaching the thrift consumer instead.

Know Your Product:  If you’ve developed a high-end service for luxury watch owners, then chances are that your brand voice doesn’t need to seem as though it’s wired on Mountain Dew.  Instead, look closely at the types of publications and blogs that cater to your ideal customer, and review them to learn about what’s popular with your demographic in the moment.  If your product doesn’t seem to be an appropriate fit with your target, then you may need to pivot your business or your strategy in order to keep in line with what your target needs.

Once you’ve addressed these items, you can then begin to create your own brand persona.  Part II of this article offers ways in which you can begin to develop a campaign around your target consumer.

Part II is coming tomorrow…

To learn more about our branding services, please contact BIGEYE today at 407-839-8599.

What makes a social media campaign so successful?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned here at our Orlando ad agency, it can be very difficult to offer a clear cut return on investment for social media efforts.  In fact, most companies inherently sense that there is some value in having an active and engaging social media platform, but because they can’t always tie it to an actual return, it can be difficult to determine the exact value of a Twitter follower or a Facebook “like.”  While it may be slightly easier to determine a return based on a campaign that successfully incentivizes people to purchase a product, it’s nearly impossible to determine how a successful campaign leads to brick and mortar sales, brand perception and other valuable consumer information.
But, a new method of thinking suggests that marketers look to other data points beyond a dollar for dollar return.  These new media experts suggest that, in the same way that advertisers can’t necessarily calculate an exact ROI based on the success of a single television commercial campaign, they should stop trying to attach a ROI to a social media campaign.  [quote] In fact, with the field of data science constantly growing in value, it’s highly possible that in the future, big data will be more valuable for a company than dollars spent.[/quote]

The following are some metrics that advertisers can use in order to help them determine an actual return on investment for a social media campaign.

Data through qualitative responses: One of the best ways to find out what consumers want from your company is to ask them directly. If the goal of your social media campaign is to ascertain data about customer wants, then incorporating questions that encourage them to engage by providing information such as their favorite websites or types of features they’d like to see integrated with your product, then a breadth of data can be invaluable.

Sharing: People tend to share content that triggers an emotion, and that they feel the need to share with others.  On Facebook, “likes” are valuable, but sharing is what brings your content into the minds of people who wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.  You can calculate shares in terms of impressions, and can compare your shares against previous campaigns.

Click-through rates, conversions and other analytics: You can also use data tracking tools such as Omniture to find out where people are finding your content, how long they stay on your page and other useful information that can help you build more successful campaigns in the future.

Press Impressions:  You know you’ve built a strong campaign if the press are covering it in a positive light.  AdAge and other companies are always reporting on businesses that use social media and digital marketing in innovative ways, and being able to capitalize on this helps to bring attention and viewership to your campaign so that even more people will pay attention.

At our Florida advertising agency, we understand that the importance of developing social media campaigns that drive sales in the short term while also providing a lasting brand-to-consumer relationship.  And in our book, a happy customer is always the epitome of success.

Contact us for help developing your social media campaign today!