There seems to be a never-ending race among marketers to stay on the cutting edge of both trends and technology. I have observed something ironic about trends. It helps to have an understanding of fundamental basics of advertising and marketing because certain time-tested principles can help make even cutting edge tactics more successful. In other words, it’s not just the use of trends and technology that get results it’s how they are applied.

For Example:

  • It may seem ultra-cool for a brand to have a presence on the latest social media outlet or app. The reality just might be that the brand is wasting time and money — following a trend like a lemming and not because it’s the right thing to do. Is this outlet really reaching the right demographic or does it make about as much sense as the Museum of Modern Art buying commercial space during a broadcast of the monster truck pull? Lesson: Match up the target demographics of a social media outlet just as you would a broadcast or print media buy.
  • Speaking of apps, how many brands rushed into developing one only to spend many thousands of dollars to have their app downloaded by a few hundred people who then used it once? The decision to advertise — make no mistake, that’s what the app is for — is usually made by examining reach, frequency and CPMs (Cost per thousand). Apps need to gain very widespread popularity and download rates before the CPM makes good sense. Lesson: Take a realistic look at the potential CPM before proceeding with any initiative, especially in the context of your entire marketing budget (once you have determined that it will reach the right demographic, of course).
  • In the rush to dabble in “Content Marketing” some brands feel so much pressure to push out content that quantity becomes more important that quality. In the tourism space in particular where Mikula-Harris is so deeply engaged, we see an endless supply of Top Ten lists in blogs. I don’t understand how knowing the top ten places to buy shoelaces in a destination helps move a potential visitor through the sales funnel. Somewhere between the Awareness and Action stages of the funnel is the Consideration stage where people need to be inspired to act. Bland blogs are informational at best but rarely inspiring. That takes real stories about real people and places, creatively documented and told. Lessons: A. Quantity is rarely more important that quality. Creative messaging moves the needle; B. In travel and tourism it’s essential to sell experiences and emotions not amenities, statistics and facts.

Looking at new marketing opportunities and trends through the lens of time-proven fundamentals can help you decide which ones to skip and which ones to fully embrace. You have to learn to walk before you can run. That’s another timeless and truthful principle.


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