Written by: Isha Sesay
Tourism is an ever-changing industry, with new ways to attract customers continually emerging. Competition is high in this sector, with each business striving to keep ahead with the latest marketing trends.
Although there are many innovative new tools and ideas being introduced, it is useful to look at what actually works, and to consider implementing if you have not done so previously. Brand awareness, client engagement, increased bookings and repeat sales; isn’t this what every business wants? We will take you through some of the key marketing trends which will make you stand out amongst your peers and achieve a successful 2019.
Whether you’re educating consumers about a destination, promoting a hotel, or targeting the millennial traveller, it can be a challenge to communicate with consumers in both a timely and personalised manner.
Marketing automation is a process that helps prioritise your marketing tasks more efficiently and with greater relevancy, tracking and nurturing leads through a buyer’s journey. By identifying behaviours and segmenting users into relevant pathways, automation can replace many separate processes with a single, unified solution. Currently, around 51% of companies in the United States are using marketing automation, with 91% of active users agreeing that marketing automation is very important to the overall success of their marketing strategy. (EmailMonday, 2018).
The word automation can often leave people uneasy, as it is believed to be a complex, mechanical process that requires specific, technical skills. However, many new intuitive technologies have emerged on the market, which when implemented successfully can present increased opportunities for profitability. In fact, marketing automation can drive a 14.5% increase in sales productivity, with a 12.2% reduction in marketing overheads (CMO by Adobe, 2018).
Whether automating repetitive tasks such as scheduling a social media post or delivering a personalised email campaign based on the individual activity of a consumer, marketing automation can help to achieve long-term results with continuous benefits.
When you automate marketing tasks, such as social media or blog posts, you can manage and monitor all of your activity from one central platform, in a more organised way. Not only can automation help to communicate your purpose and redefine your marketing strategy, but it can also save time and valuable resources.
For example, with automation, you can optimise posts to gain high levels of engagement, action reporting to gain information about how well your posts have performed, as well as create custom responses to common customer queries. Although automation can be used as a means of efficiency, enhancing experiences, it is vital to take time creating interesting content and to have meaningful conversations with your community.
Traditionally, companies supplied the same content to consumers, regardless of their behaviour, preferences, demographics or geographic location. Although this served a purpose, increasing brand awareness, non-targeted marketing can hinder rather than boost your business. It is counterproductive to flood consumers’ mailboxes with information that is not relevant to them. In fact, studies show that 71% of customers prefer ads tailored to their shopping and spending habits (SkyTideDigital, 2018). With the implementation of automation, a deeper relationship with a wider audience can now be made, optimising communication efforts to focus on and retain your most valuable consumers.
Through creating different detailed descriptions of your target customer, or buyer personas, and implementing workflows, automation makes it possible to trigger the automatic delivery of punctual, immediate, and personalised emails. The Digital Marketing Institute confirm this, stating that a buyer persona is one of the most essential parts for a digital marketing success.
Essentially, a workflow is a sequence of processes that control the execution of an automatic campaign, where a triggered message is created and set up only once, and then sent to database of contacts whenever certain conditions are met. This allows companies to plan the delivery of relevant content to predefined targets.
With automation, you will include the right recipient at the right time, offering relevant and customised content. In a study by the Aberdeen group, companies that have implemented automation saw a higher average website conversion rates (6.7% increase) and a greater number of marketing-generated leads accepted by sales (53% increase).
How is Automation achieved? Through tracking the digital footprint of consumers on your website with artificial intelligence (AI). According to GB Advisors, the term Intelligence “refers to the ability of machines to learn, understand, analyse and dialogue” in the same way that a human being can. This is a powerful analytic which makes it possible for companies to track the clicks and views of their visitors through their consumer’s browsing history. The more interaction made by visitors on a website or marketing campaign, the more their interests can be identified.
Why is AI useful?
It is important that you segment your visitors based on their actions, with the data collected added to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is widely used across the tourism sector, with its popularity increasing due to its ability to manage relationships with customers and prospects. In a study by Gartner Inc, at the beginning of 2018, worldwide CRM software revenue overtook that of database management systems (DBMSs), making CRM the leading product in the software market.
Previously, CRMs only had the capability to collect and store contact information, implementing a few automated processes such as alerting the sales team of when to communicate with a consumer. However, CRMs have evolved tremendously, now giving true value to the data that is collected using built-in automation. By integrating information from consumers’ digital footprint in one database, an integrated CRM can segment profiles through predefined workflows, which are activated depending on a users’ behaviour.
Benefits of an integrated CRM:
Traditionally, sales and marketing teams have always been separated, running on different playbooks. However, the tourism industry is now demanding a single buyer experience, where sales and leads are generated through consumers’ behaviour and activity. Sales and marketing teams now work hand in hand to maximise and drive revenue, and it is now no longer acceptable for each team to work completely independent of one another.
Smarketing is the alignment between the sales and marketing team, and which has proved effective in achieving increased growth and profitability of businesses. Not only has its implementation facilitated a more cohesive experience for customers, but acquiring and converting leads is now a much smoother process.
Let’s support this theory with some figures:
To reap the many rewards of Smarketing, the relationship and communication between the sales and marketing teams must be strengthened. To find out how to successfully implement Smarketing into your business, this article discusses the concept further.