Are you talking to me?
I’ll never forget going to work for a national hotel chain in Hawaii in the marketing department.
The resort did great during peak seasons, but our specific goal was to drive more bookings by groups and individuals in the off-seasons and to grow the number of contracts booked out for future years for group conventions and meetings.
The resort sat on the white sand beach where awesome snorkeling was available. The sunset was gorgeous from the restaurants and most of the hotel rooms. It was located across from two golf courses, had amazing amenities, great beds, spa, pools, kids club, luaus, access to local shopping, restaurants, etc. It had so much going for it and had literally everything one would hope for in a Hawaiian vacation.
When I began an audit of the marketing materials that existed for groups and conventions, this is what we found:
While a lovely meeting room (not an actual photo from that resort, but gives the idea), this is NOT what consumers are looking for when they bring their entire conference to Hawaii. The clients, even group attendees, are looking for the sunset, mai tais, and beaches, not the notepads in the meeting room. This room could be anywhere in the world - there is nothing special about it.
Worse yet, as a consumer, it leaves you feeling nothing. In fact, you may look at it and think, “are you talking to me?”
It’s the same disconnect we see in marketing with many of our clients. In healthcare, in biotech, in small businesses, we get excited about our process or machines or services or things and we “geek out” and speak in a language that does not resonate with the customer. We fill our websites with photos of fancy equipment that makes no sense to the consumer.
When is the last time you “walked in the shoes” of your customer? Have you read their comments on surveys (every word?), reviews, or posts? Have you listened to how they talk about what you have to offer? Have you taken the time to see what they are saying about your competitors?
This kind of insight is invaluable to marketing. The feedback you get from research into the voice and preferences of your customers will change everything. It will ground your marketing efforts and make it connect in a more meaningful way to your targets...and it will lead to better conversions, increased ROI, and profitability.
As for our marketing materials for this resort? We did a complete redesign and photoshoot with the true Hawaiian elements - gorgeous sunsets, palm trees, Hawaiian culture, the beautiful grounds and pools … and a few shots of the meeting rooms. Oh, and we exceeded our goals for booking new business!