Wish you were here…

Wish you were here…

Australia is such a vast country with so much to offer the travel consumer, there is no doubt Australians are spoilt for choice. In a bid to be seen in a saturated market, destinations often struggle for a point of difference to anchor meaningful and effective advertising campaigns.

There is a growing expectation for regional councils to lead the destination marketing charge. Tourism brings foot-traffic and in turn revenue to keep local businesses alive as well as council revenue to pour back into the community. One of the great challenges for marketers working in councils is to provide viable ‘cut through’ amongst the noise of so many competitors to attract (and maintain) the attention of the traveller.

So what factors need to be considered in formulating a regional destination campaign before going to market?

Know your audience

Before a Council decides to commit to an advertising campaign, they need to establish who they are attempting to attract to their part
of the world and if the experiences their destination or product offers can live up to the expectations of
the audience. Families or singles? Overseas or local? Councils must refine their target audience profiles based on past visitor numbers, seasonality, media consumption habits and perhaps most importantly, what the region can confidently offer to certain demographics in terms of sites, accommodation, attractions and events. If any of these areas are somewhat lacking or mismatched to the target audience, expect your audience profile numbers to dwindle.

Understanding the mindset

Ok, so the audience profiles have been formalised. Time to buy the media? NO! What’s it going to look like? What’s your messaging going to be? (Hint: “Where the Bloody Hell are you?” is

copyrighted by Tourism Australia.)

Your audience profiles should be able to give you insights beyond the standard demographics of age, gender and occupation and showcase the psychographic and behavioral insights of who you’re trying to engage with. Things like tone, approach and pace are just a few to consider.

Choosing the right media

Once you have a solid understanding of your target audience and their mindset, you are set to now look at media buying. Whatever figure you have in mind on spending, will never be enough so you need to have your media budget work smarter not harder. Understandably, not every regional council will have the budget of QANTAS or mates like John Singleton to produce award winning commercials. These days it takes a lot more than just sticking a half page advertisement in the Travel section of a metropolitan paper to snare your target audience.

Remember about those audience profiles that were mentioned earlier? And the creative messaging that came about from it? They are just parts
of the puzzle that will help form the bigger picture. And by bigger picture, I mean your go to market campaign.

Ask yourself, will my creative look good on a billboard or as a TVC? Where is your target audience more likely to be, at home watching MKR, or at the pub after work with mates? Out shopping with the kids or perhaps making the long commute on the train to work? These insights should be able to give you an idea of where they are and what device or media channel they’re more likely to be watching.

It all comes back to your website or microsite

This is the 21st Century. If you don’t have a responsive website (as opposed to just a website), then all that hard work with the creative and the media placement has just gone to waste. Responsive means that a website needs to work on ALL devices. Not just desktop…ALL DEVICES. From mobile to tablet and even on a game console, the website must cater for the needs of the many rather than the few.

Tasmania punches above its weight – click and awe.

The website, as well as being responsive, needs to act like the local who’s proud of where they live. They’re the folks you meet when you stop and pull over to ask for directions as they stand idly by their picket fence watching the world go by. The website, like the local, should say things like “Oh, you’re new to the area? Oh, well…let me tell you something! You are in for a treat”.

It needs to be friendly and informal, informative, yet straight to the point.

For many councils, bringing the website up to par is a daunting and expensive proposition. For a campaign, consider creating a tailored microsite with a URL name linked to the campaign name. Use the media channels you have selected for your target audiences – whether they are print, radio, digital or outdoor – to drive visitors to your microsite where they can immediately access the campaign message without getting lost in the quagmire of a council or tourism website. At the same time, make sure you have an advertisement on your permanent websites to also take visitors to your campaign microsite.

Remember, whatever the size of your advertising budget, the trick is to make every cent and media channel work for you.

Melissa Guajardo is the Digital Marketing and Strategy Lead at Leonards Advertising.
She has extensive experience and knowledge in developing and implementing Through-The- Line Campaigns for the Local Government, Retail, Recruitment, Tourism, FMCG and Technology Industries.

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