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Achieving marketing success with a limited budget

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Gary Raucher, Co-Founder of consultancy Big M Marketing, explains why having a limited marketing budget can work in your favour and highlights the key questions every travel company should ask themselves

Over the years I’ve led marketing teams within big global organisations and within small startups. I’ve had marketing budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars and in stark contrast, just hundreds of dollars. And while marketing with limited resources can be more challenging, I’ve learned that the key to getting great results is the same whether you have all the marketing resource in the world, or hardly any at all.

The secret to marketing success is to focus.

The strongest brands in the world all have one thing in common: a crystal-clear focus on the one thing they want to be well known for. They then relentlessly align all of their activities to consistently deliver on this one promise. 

Many companies get this wrong, simply because it’s really hard to make choices, and when you have the resources to communicate multiple messages, it’s even more difficult to resist the temptation to promise multiple benefits.

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'The key to getting great results is the same whether you have all of the marketing resources in the world or hardly any at all'

'The key to getting great results is the same whether you have all the marketing resource in the world, or hardly any at all'

Advantage of small budget

The advantage of having limited resources is that you are forced to make choices.

So before thinking about your marketing communications, it is worth thinking about your marketing strategy.  If you get the upfront thinking right, all your efforts will be far more effective, plus you are going to save yourself time and money along the way.

In developing your marketing strategy, there are four key questions you should answer. Think about them as a set of dominoes - each choice needs to be aligned with the one before.

1. Who is your target audience?

It’s tempting to cast your net as wide as possible. We hear all time, “Our customers are everyone, everywhere”. Well, that might be true, but it’s far more effective to target your marketing efforts to a specific audience. Focusing on one group enables you to better address their specific wants and needs. Are you catering to business travellers or vacationers? Couples or families? Families with small children or teenagers? Once you have selected a target audience, try to describe everything you know about them including both demographic and psychographic information. The more knowledge you build of the specific audience group, the more likely you will develop marketing messages and tactics that really resonate.  You’ll also be better able to provide guest experiences that lead to rave reviews.

2.     What is the one thing you want to be known for?

Understanding your target audience will uncover insights into their specific wants and needs. Think about these in combination with your own strengths and weaknesses, relative to your competition. There will be things that you have to deliver on par with others, but try to find something that you can potentially deliver better than others. You could choose, for example, to focus on your unique location, your incredible customer service, your exquisite dining, or the fantastic activities you offer. The key, however difficult, is to pick one thing and build your story around that one thing. Doing so will make it easier for people to know why they should choose your property.

3.     Where in the decision journey can you make the biggest difference?

Deciding where in your guest’s decision journey to focus, will make your marketing much more effective and efficient. Are you trying to trigger people to go on holiday? Then having a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programme may be a great way to reconnect with past guests and offer them incentives to return. Do you want to be in people’s initial consideration set? Then using social media advertising may be the best way to reach new people. Are you trying to win people over while they are deciding between different options? Then improving and amplifying consumer reviews may be your biggest priority. Although it is difficult to focus, always remember that you are better off excelling at a few things than being mediocre at many.

4.      How will you measure success?

They say that what gets measured, gets done. So it's crucial to have clearly defined objectives and KPIs that can keep all of your marketing activities focused on achieving the right results. Now, more than ever, it is easy to be distracted by ‘vanity’ metrics. But as tempting as it may be to pursue high numbers of likes, views, and followers, you need to keep your metrics closely aligned with all of the other choices you’ve made. For example, you may not only want to track the number of reviews, but specifically the number of reviews from families with young children that recommend your property because of the kids club.

When you can answer each of these questions with clear and consistent choices, you’ll be well on your way to marketing success, because regardless of the size of your budget, the secret always is to focus.

Hero image: credit to George Hiles, Unplash


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The secret to marketing success is to focus
Four key questions every company should ask themselves:

Who is your target audience?
What is the one thing you want to be known for?
Where in the decision journey can you make the biggest difference?
How will you measure success?