The Virginia Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (VADMO) Tourism Symposium was an excellent conference filled with expert speakers expounding on everything from economics to analytics. In my opinion, the most important takeaway for every local DMO in attendance came not from a presenter but from an extemporaneous remark.
While accepting an award for a niche campaign, a CEO told the story of how his team first came to him with the idea and his initial response was, "You want to actually spend money on this?" He was, however, open-minded enough to hear the idea and the data-supported rationale behind it. The campaign got the thumbs-up and has been wildly successful.
It takes guts and a confident leader to make a bold decision like that. It’s bold because not many DMOs are doing campaigns in this particular niche. One has to ask if it’s such a lucrative market why aren’t more destinations pursuing it? It’s untapped, that's why. And the those willing to take the road less traveled usually reap the benefits. It’s a sign of wise leadership because the decision did not live or die based on a whim or gut instinct. Ironically, the initial instinct was to kill the project. In this case, the CEO expected his team to make a fact-based case to proceed. He had the good sense to hear the argument and give the campaign the green light.
The high-performing marketing initiatives are usually the bold, surprising and most creative ones.