How can you reach a new audience with your destination marketing?

Growing your marketing  footprint into a number of different channels offers huge potential when it  comes to getting your message heard, understood and acted upon. Even without the incidence of a global  pandemic, consumers have for some time craved a blend of digital and  non-digital experiences with brands.  As  a consequence they are more likely to spend more with a brand that they not  only trust, but that also uses those channels that treat them like individuals  rather than faceless groups, picking up on preferences and how they like to  receive information.  Paul Dalton Borge, Chief Executive PACE – the practice at Four Communications dedicated  to performance, activation, creative and  engagement),  tells us more.

The  Advertising Landscape

Digital is agile, forensically targeted, and trackable - at a time when every penny of marketing spend counts.  It is accountable and measurable in a way that many other channels simply can’t compete with. Add to this the fact that we’re all spending enormous amounts of time online in every sense – from our smartphones to watching smart TV - it is, by default, the most effective way to reach people with your destination marketing.

Subsequently, we are seeing place marketing clients not just invest more in digital, but ‘up their game’ in areas like marketing automation, data analytics, digitally-derived audience insights and marketing intelligence. The complexity and sophistication of digital marketing now means that any marginal gains in performance across the customer journey can make an enormous difference to the success of a campaign and the bottom line.

Gathering, holding, and using personally identifiable information has been made harder by GDPR regulations, so it is more important than ever to realise the value of this data through carefully managed eCRM activity.  Creativity in digital advertising continues to evolve and become smarter, including a new generation of immersive and ‘shoppable’ ads that stand-out and drive conversion against a backdrop of waning consumer attention for advertising online.

To be or not to be: above and below the line

When it comes to above and below the line activity, the line simply doesn’t exist anymore, and if it does then it certainly isn’t a straight one. To succeed in marketing you need to consider the breadth of channels and touchpoints that reach any given audience and then align the customer journey to them – adapting and optimising as you progress, in order to affect change in the most effective way possible. It is a never-ending process of learning and evolving rather than a straight line.

So, as always, it starts by understanding your customer – who you want to reach, why and what would make them engage with your place brand - and then acting based on that information. That hasn’t changed but it has got a lot smarter. We have the ability, more than ever before, to really understand people and what makes them tick, through digital footprints we all leave as we navigate, converse, socialise and shop online. Whereas marketing personas used to be based on surveys, static datasets and a bit of good old fashioned instinct and supposition, we now use open source social media data, proprietary CRM data and other sources, which help to paint a far more detailed and accurate picture. This insight then informs the decisions we make with strategy, media, messaging and creative – ensuring they are the right decisions.

Marketing mindfulness

The biggest thing to be mindful of, is to ensure that you invest properly in the digital infrastructure to capitalise on this shift towards digital. By infrastructure that means everything from your website and social media channels, CRM systems, marketing automation tools, through to the tracking and data analytics that sit behind everything.  This gives you the management intelligence to make real-time decisions on digital marketing to ensure the best outcomes and a healthy return on investment.

All too often, we come across clients, who have many of the right components in place – they just haven’t quite pulled them together in such a way that they are utilising the capabilities of their tools to the fullest extent. It’s not just about budget either; it’s about having the skills and expertise within the business and the commitment to collaborate with agency partners that can help drive the value.

Across the place, destination and retail sectors it is really exciting to see brands starting to bring the physical and digital worlds together more effectively to create customer experiences. Naturally the marketing world has come up with an absolutely classic moniker for this – ‘phygital’. Classic because the term is somewhat lacking, ‘phygital’ activity is more than a hybrid: when done right, it’s so much more than just a concept.  

Know thyself

As an agency, we invest heavily in innovating to drive performance for place marketing teams, and this includes developing new techniques, tools, methodologies and approaches. Within destination and place marketing spaces, we have pioneered digital-to-footfall tracking, with a performance measurement and messaging methodology we call Footprints™. This allows us to track our paid digital campaigns, delivering insights and optimisations at each step of the customer journey, while also delivering more meaningful, strategically timed connections with previously engaged users on-location.

Programmatic marketing is also is an area of media that offers immense opportunity to advertisers, but has been hampered with challenges and issues relating to quality, transparency and fraud.  To deal with these delays, we developed our own programmatic offering, Prodius™, to tackle these very real challenges head-on and give clients a solution that combined the best and most innovative platforms and technology with transparency tools, automation efficiency, tracking and optimisation tools.

Perhaps the biggest challenge, particularly in the digital world, is that attention to advertising is on a continuous downward trajectory and year-in-year-out we have to work harder to stand out. We’re constantly experimenting with new advertising formats, targeting techniques and creative thinking to get the best from what is already out there. We also put a lot of energy into creating bespoke reporting, evaluation and optimisation tools for clients that aggregate, analyse and present data in a way that helps inform strategic thinking and advertising spend to ultimately enhance ROI.

Related reading

The Place2Place Podcast: Copenhagen & Chile - Integrating nation brand values and investment attraction

REPORT: Collaboration is king - identifying new opportunities for collaboration in place branding

The story behind Cardiff's bid for equality

Next is now: re-branding Pittsburgh in a pandemic

The placemaker's confidence game

Missed the event in person? Don't worry...

The Place Brand Portfolio is City Nation Place's searchable portfolio of Awards case studies from the past five years.