Content Marketing: What I Learned On My Summer Vacation
A marketer never sleeps. Nor does she ever completely go on vacation. My husband kids me that my every conversation is a marketing lesson. What I learned on my recent family trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico was no different.
As part of our trip, we participated in three adventure travel packages run by a local company, Vallarta Adventures, that enhanced our vacation and provided us with unforgettable memories. This was experiential marketing at its best.
Here are 7 actionable experiential content marketing tips based on my summer vacation. They can be applied to restaurants, hotels, activities, events and conferences. But don’t overlook the potential for using these tips in your retail establishment.
- Show customers you care. Like many tour companies, Vallarta Adventures had a point person at our hotel; he helped us map out our activities. Further, when my sister’s family missed one of the excursion boats, the tour company brought them via speedboat to meet up with us ensuring we had a family experience. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Go the extra mile to make your customers happy.
- Create talk-worthy experiences. Nothing is better content than having your customers talk about how great your product is. These three trips were the highlights, especially the ziplining. (My husband still can’t believe I did it!) Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Let your customers do the talking for you. We haven’t stopped talking about how great the adventures were and how much fun we had.
- Record the experience. Don’t leave it to chance that your customers or the public will share their images of your events where, when and how you want to represent your offering. Vallarta Adventures had a professional photographer accompany every tour. The photographer was adept at capturing action shots as well as groups and couples. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Have a professional photographer shoot breath-taking images of your events. In addition to creating great content, it helps keep the memories alive. For example, we bought a photo CD of our family’s ziplining, repelling and waterslide adventure.
- Give your best content away with your blessings. Vallarta Adventures included a beautiful set of images of native animals on the photo CD along with a license to share and reuse. The set also include a map of the activities. What did we do with this content? Showed it to our family and friends.
Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Help your raving fans remember what a great time they had with your organization while they get their family and friends to buy your product.
- Have a good time with your customers. Each tour was different and the guides made participants feel special. The guides were not only fun to be with but also, they have fun doing their job. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Be human and relate to your prospects and customers. While not every experiential product is a fun vacation, each has a way to connect with your audience and engage with them as people.
- Get permission to use customers’ images and content. Vallarta Adventures incorporated a photography release in their registration. By signing the form, attendees gave the company permission to use photographs of them in advertising. As part the Pogopolooza in Union Square in New York City this summer, Go-Go Squeez took a more general approach by posting a notice for participants. Ask your legal team for help crafting the wording. You don’t want to scare people off but you do want to retain rights to the images and content. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Just ask your customers for photos. You don’t need to be fancy. One of the local Chase Bank branches has a water bowl near their customer service desk. Above the water bowl, an employee put up “The Paw of Fame” board. Employees take photographs of customers’ dogs with their permission of course and paste them on the board! No fancy production values here. This is something any retailer can do. (Here’s how to maximize photo effectiveness.)
- Ask for recommendations. The tour company wasn’t afraid to ask for tips and recommendations. They had received high ratings on TripAdvisor and they worked to maintain them since they knew it drove business. (Here’s 7 ways to Wow Customers on Social Media.) Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Make it easy for customers to socialize your content. This was one area where Vallarta Adventures was weak. While they asked us to recommend them on social media, they didn’t provide a computer or tablet to facilitate the process. Interestingly, our hotel did. They had a kiosk at the front door where visitors could take selfies and post them to Facebook or email to friends.
Experiential offerings provide the opportunity to create amazing, engaging content marketing that gets customers talking. Make sure that you’re prepared to maximize the positive power of the experience to create genuine, talk-worthy content.
What other suggestions would you add to this list and why?
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Photo Credits: (c) 2013 Heidi Cohen – All rights reserved
Vallarta Outdoor Adventure Map © Vallarta Adventures; used with permission