Never stop learning. That has been a guiding principle for me all of my life. There will never be a year when I am not taught or reminded about a valuable lesson. Learning a lesson is more valuable, and often more humbling, than learning facts from a book. Here are some things I learned firsthand or observed from those around me during the past year.

  1. The importance of getting the branding right the first time

In two separate instances in 2017, we developed new ad campaigns for existing clients for whom our team developed the original branding in years past. Working on the ad campaigns naturally caused us to reflect on the original branding. In both cases the branding was spot on. They both stood the test of time. Both clients got fresh new campaigns that support their brand messaging, which will definitely make the brands even stronger. That's exactly how it should work.

  1. Research (usually) leads to smarter marketing

Marketers have access to so much more data today than they did a mere 10 years ago. Good marketers know their ideal target audience by age, location, gender, hobbies, and perhaps most importantly their media consumption habits. All that data should steer not only media strategies but also messaging. Why, with all the information at their fingertips, would someone waste money going down the wrong road? Because he or she is following a hunch and not the research? Because they are being pressured by a vocal constituency in the community or perhaps board members? I don't have the answer to this dilemma, but sadly I see it happen all the time.

  1. Sometimes data can be interpreted badly

For example, data shows that travelers are booking trips with less lead time. Does that mean that a destination’s campaign for summer travel should start in mid-May. Absolutely not. It's still important to keep your marketing message in front of prospective travelers to remain top of mind. In this scenario, a destination will ultimately lose business — not to mention brand awareness — by not moving prospects through the sales funnel.

  1. Marketing success is never measured by how little money you spend

If a marketer cuts corners on the quality of their advertising, visitor guide and website making them bland and uninspiring — was the savings a good idea? If a marketer eliminates three months of ad buys because of misinterpreting data (see item #3) thus ceding top of mind position to every competitor — was the savings worth it?

Happy New Year. May 2018 be filled with wise decisions and much success.


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