The marketing landscape has evolved tremendously in the last ten or so years. There are new distribution channels and many new media by which companies can communicate with their various market segments. It is no longer the traditional broadcast television, print media, public relations, sales, and outdoor marketing that get the job done. Nevertheless, despite all this complexity and the constantly evolving channels that hospitality marketers face, there are still some fundamentals to the process of marketing that we should keep in mind. If you constantly tack back to some of these marketing fundamental questions it will help to simplify a lot of the choices going forward in terms of target market selection, brand building, and ultimately, media selection.
- Who are your customers?
- What are their needs and wants?
- How can you satisfy those needs and wants more effectively and efficiently than the competition?
And that’s it. The process of marketing is really just answering those three questions. Seemingly simple, but inherently complex in the execution. Seemingly simple, but inherently complex in the execution, especially when you consider that a major challenge that hospitality marketers face is that very first question. The consumer base interested in the hospitality product is a very, very diverse set of consumers and it is our job as marketers to determine those market segments.
We pursue those market segments with the classic four Ps of marketing. That’s product, price, place, and promotion. It’s what’s the product we’re going to deliver, how are we going to price it, how are we going to promote it, and then how are we going to distribute or place the marketing product, specifically, how we’re going to differentiate our marketing offer from the competition.
These are, again, the fundamentals of the marketing process. But as we’ll see, the complexity of handling marketing has changed enormously, especially due to new channels. Just look at the communications function or the promotions aspect of the four P’s. Traditionally, the marketing communications mix involved broadcast television, print media, public relations, sales, outdoor.
And within the last ten to fifteen years that has completely exploded due to new media channels. So that we now have dozens upon dozens of new ways in which we can communicate with our customers. This complexity, though, should not negate the fact that there are still those three marketing fundamental questions that we want to use when making those new media decisions.
While the marketing fundamentals and questions may seem familiar, the answers while keeping new media marketing opportunities in mind may surprise you. Successful brand strategies are built on solid market research, but they have to evolve in response to shifting conditions in the marketplace, like economic changes and new competitive threats. You’ll use social media to gather rich information about your target customers’ purchase behaviors and drivers. Developing a full, nuanced portrait of your target market will help you determine how your brand promise needs to evolve.
By Robert Kwortnik