|By J Ragsdale Hendrie, November 2007
We spend an enormous amount of time defining our Hospitality products
and services. Then, we exert our energies to establish some Marketplace
credibility. We research, we learn about our perceived Market, we
festoon our name attractively for entry, now ready to go to town, we think.
Then, “kaboom”, we realize that the Market in which we seek to do business
is really a cluttered landscape – noisy, competitive, inattentive, unresponsive,
disloyal, hard to please, harder to reach.
But, we are steadfast and understand the need for an Advertising Campaign,
which will guide us through that unforgiving terrain, filled with landmines,
natural and man made barriers, ooze, dead ends and paths to oblivion.
What means do we consider for our entry into that Marketplace?
With homage to Marshall McLuan, we know the Medium is the Message, some
obviously more effective than others. So, we look at those choices:
television, radio, print, the Internet, flyers, handouts, catchy slogans
dragged by plane, supermarket grocery carts, costumed hawkers, mailings,
stickers, and, oh, so many more techniques to get out our name into that
Consumer domain, We are awash with choices, limited budgets and probably
not much sophistication. We are not one of the big guys with fully
staffed R&D departments, savvy Advertising Executives, and polished
PR professionals. However, we have the same objective – market penetration,
presence and share for our Hospitality business, product and service.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to Advertising, except
throwing money down that “Black Hole”. You may approach Advertising
like a well balanced Personal Asset Portfolio – some stocks, some bonds,
annuities, and cash – an apportioned sprinkle strategy. Others go
full bore with one or two tactics, like newspaper and local radio
However, there are some verities and some benchmarks you can draw from
your Marketing Plan which will help define the means and the methods for
your Advertising Campaign.
Demographics. With your research you have created a profile
of your Customer – age, sex, type of business, interests, geography and
the like. This is your niche(s) – who you want to reach.
Campaign Strategy. You need to do more than a one time ad.
The best Campaigns include on-going Press Releases; Product News; Features,
mentioning your Product or Service; along with displays, banners, logos
and the like. The Campaign is constant, always rotating and mixing
Niche Marketing. For each niche, there are better Advertising
means to reach and influence the audience intended. For Baby Boomers, probably
My Space is not the most effective, whereas advertising on the AARP Web
Site might be better; just as a targeted group of Restaurant operators
would be better served by Bon Apetite versus The Wall Street Journal. Common
sense should prevail, for each source will typically provide its demographic
data, which you match to yours.
Integrity. Remember, the method you do choose reflects upon
your Brand, which can also be a very important message in itself.
We do want to influence.
Frequency: Each source will provide information on the number
of times your Advertising will run and where. Therefore, you must
decide upon what form and sequence you want representing your Brand and
message. Medium, Type of Advertising and Frequency will lead
you to the next significant factor.
Cost: You have a budget, you have researched the “Mix” available,
and now you attach Advertising commitment to expense.
Score Card. How well did your Advertising Campaign succeed?
Many Media companies will provide you data on the Campaign, some in real
time, so you know exactly who saw what, when - the accountability factor.
You naturally have been tracking responses, inquiries, orders in-house,
etc. Incoming activity as compared to outgoing expense equals your
The Marketplace is unforgiving; there is always someone smarter, sassier,
newer than you. Your Advertising Campaign must keep you in the forefront,
a glint in the Public Eye. It is all about presence. You must
have definition and done your homework. The Marketplace also is sensory.
Your Brand is the Logo you select, the colors, the language you use to
describe yourself – how you translate your passion to that ultimate Consumer
and inform them. The Advertising formats you choose, the medium to
express your values, and effective Campaign Management will assure your
place in the Hospitality Marketplace. Go for it! Aim for the Glint.
There are no guarantees, just like the rained out picnic.
Be resourceful, try a number of Advertising sources, adjust your mix, consider
an Ad Agency, be innovative, take some calculated risks.