Whether you’re new around here or have been reading our blog since we started it a few years ago, you know (or will soon enough) that we are committed to Marketing Action Planning. A MAP is a proven, step-by-step process document to help guide your short- and long-term plans of work to achieve the defined mission of your destination.
We regularly work hand-in-hand with clients to develop this resource to help focus, strategize, plan, and confidently shape and evaluate the work we do for our clients and, even more importantly, the work clients do for themselves. But, we also have several resources on our website that can help you develop a MAP for your destination on your own. And we have just started offering free, one-hour MAP development sessions for destinations interested in getting a head start on this process. We will be offering 3 free sessions per month, so be sure to email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if there is a slot open soon for your destination.
When you take a step back to really work out your MAP, you will start to see progress towards a more cohesive marketing effort. MAPs also provide a way to share with your stakeholders and board what your DMO will be doing in the near future to help drive occupancy. MAPs often help more clearly define the mission and the tasks of each team member—we’ve even had clients begin to use some of the (desired) beliefs defined in the MAP in staffing decisions and performance evaluations. (i.e. Are the efforts of this team member going toward achieving the goals agreed to in your MAP?).
When setting out to develop your Marketing Action Plan, first define what success means for your organization. Most often, we start with the DMO’s mission statement. Your Marketing Action Plan should be a road map for efforts to fulfill that mission.
Step 1: List Who
List who the target groups are that will influence your destination’s success. Example TARGET GROUPS to consider for your MAP might be: Leisure Travelers, Meeting Planners, Meeting Attendees, Business Travelers, Lodging Providers, Venues, Attractions, Restaurants, Locals, even your DMO Board of Directors.
Note: The prioritized order of these target groups can vary dramatically by your market size and the mission & structure of your organization.
Step 2: Define What
Define what roles each target group must fulfill that will lead to success for your destination (see the success statement referenced above).
Example ROLES to consider including on your MAP under the TARGET GROUP: Generate room nights; dine out; visit attractions; enjoy nightlife; shop; attend events; share positive experiences on social media; recommend to friends;
Step 3: Determine Why
Determine the beliefs that each TARGET GROUP must possess in order for them to accomplish the ROLES that will result in your success. BELIEFS become much more specific to the attributes and advantages of your individual destination. So think about what makes you stand out. Why would they pick you over the next city?
Step 4: Identify How
Identify the processes that will help effectively communicate the BELIEFS that each TARGET GROUP must possess in order for them to accomplish the ROLES that will result in your success. PROCESSES make up the foundation of your MAP.
Things to Remember:
- There are no wrong answers in Marketing Action Planning. However, each Target, Role, Belief and Process should be listed in priority order and some will just not be important enough to be included on the final plan.
- When the Role and Belief of two or more Target Groups are the same, they can often be combined into the same Target Group.
- Marketing Action Plans should be realistic AND aspirational. That is, they should include your DMO’s current position and efforts but, even more importantly, your DMO’s desired potential/future position. But these attributes and the defined efforts (the plan of work) should be within the realm of achievability. Remember: Roles, Beliefs and/or Processes should be tempered by the realities of your destination and the budget of your organization.
- It is best to review and update your Marketing Action Plan on an annual basis.
You can make a MAP for your organization on your own. But it’s also one of the ways we actively help tourism entities make their mark and reach their goals. If you’re ready to kick off making a plan that will help your organization achieve your future goals, we’d love to help.
This month we are offering 3 DMOs the opportunity to jump on a FREE one-hour call. We can do an introduction to the process, you can ask for help if you’re stuck, we can review the MAP you have created for yourself to give you feedback, etc. To get one of these 3 one-hour openings, contact Susan Bryan.