At the recent Spring Meeting of the Southeast Tourism
, there was an interesting session on the future of print media
communication where the panelists offered an impassioned argument that print is
not dead. It was immediately followed by a session on cutting edge internet
trends that cited extraordinary growth in online bookings and social media
participation that could easily have to lead one to the conclusion that, well,
print is dead or at least dying. During both sessions the room was filled with
some experienced marketing people and lively discussion ensued. Ultimately,
everyone agreed that the best path to marketing success is to have an
integrated strategy.

What exactly does it mean to be fully
integrated? What is the right ratio of each kind of media? And exactly
what media are we talking about here.

First, let me say that I agree with the conclusion. We
always prefer to develop integrated plans for our clients whenever possible.
One web site defines integrated campaign as “a multidisciplinary approach that
uses a number of communication techniques in order to deliver a consistent set
of messages.” I couldn’t have said it better.

The second question is a bit of a trick. No textbook, web
site or individual can tell you exactly what the right ratio is for your
product or destination without first gaining an in-depth understanding of the situation. Are
your customers typically older or younger? Affluent or blue collar? Where do
the customers come from and is it cost-effective to reach them through radio, television
or outdoor advertising? The proper percentage of resources to devote to various
media can vary greatly from one client to the next.

Finally, the advertising outlets available are
practically unlimited making it nearly impossible to be fully integrated. The
traditional media of magazine and newspaper advertising, brochures, radio,
television, direct mail and outdoor are just the tip of the media iceberg
today. Now add in direct e-mail marketing, online banner advertising, social
media, pay-per-click, and blogging. And don’t forget about promotions,
sponsorships, trade shows, and PR. Wait, there’s more – text message marketing,
location marketing and mobile. Fully integrated may be as elusive as achieving
full employment. The important thing, however, is to not put all your marketing
eggs in one basket. Be savvy and creative and develop the most integrated
strategy possible for your situation.


6 Walnut Avenue • Vinton, Virginia 24179

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