In the pursuit of driving overnight stays for your destination, meeting planners are a valuable target market for most DMOs. And successfully illustrating how your destination stands out among your competition and how it will appeal to your prospective meeting planner's potential meeting attendees increasingly requires you to plan strategically. One strategy to accomplish these goals is to break down the “who your destination will appeal to and why” using persona marketing – segmenting visitors into groups that are a good match for your destination. Stamp was recently commissioned by a DMO client to develop a meeting planner campaign. By developing personas and then leveraging them for this campaign, Stamp was able to position the destination for a variety of demographics/interests.
Combining your DMO’s belief statement with research conducted into who is visiting your destination will yield valuable insight into not only what draws visitors to your area, but what encourages extended stays and repeat visits. You can use this information to develop personas specific to your destination. The following criteria can be useful when developing and concepting the ideal personas for your destination:
- Types of visitors
- Ages of visitors
- Interests of visitors
- Income ranges of visitors
- Education level of visitors
- Marital and family status (with or without children)
Four distinct personas were developed to personify the target market segments that would be a good fit for this destination. Using conceptual (vs. realistic "on-location") photography to bring each persona to life, the images were designed to communicate what the destination has to offer.
Postcards (they stood out because nobody actually gets mail anymore!)
The visuals were leveraged with descriptive text for a direct mail postcard campaign as the first touchpoint with the meeting planner. Whatever your first point of contact is, you want to ensure that it is visually engaging and speaks to the recipient on multiple levels. In this instance, the postcards were designed to communicate to meeting planners that potential attendees would find adventure activities, arts and culture, after-hours entertainment, and a foodie scene in this destination. Once they had been hooked, the next step was to drive them to the meetings microsite we developed.
While printed mailers are certainly useful for grabbing the attention of meeting planners, engaging with them digitally is just as important since meeting planners are regularly looking online for information specific to their needs. Designing a microsite intended to speak directly to those specific needs communicates to the planner that you understand and are able to provide exactly what they’re looking for. Intended to operate as a high-level view of the destination, Stamp designed the microsite to function as a one-stop information center for meeting planners, providing just the right amount of information to compel a site visit. And looking into the backend analytics in conjunction with the postcard schedule can provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of the campaign.
Providing the meeting planner with a holistic picture of the destination was the final step in this direct mail campaign and it was accomplished by designing a poster to act as an overview of all the destination has to offer as well as how these offerings tie back/would appeal to each of the four personas that were identified and featured in the original direct mail campaign. A persona-based campaign is designed to evolve and target specific groups as you move forward with your marketing efforts. The next time you are planning to reach out to meeting planners, dig into your research and try developing and marketing specific personas to planners—the goal would be for them to get a better idea of who your destination will have particular appeal to.