Every travel agency seeks visibility in its marketplace. Through advertising, niche marketing, and solid networking, agency owners work to raise the profile of their travel practice above the crowd, so the public immediately associates the agency’s brand with the word “travel”. Creating an association strong enough to be top of mind anytime someone thinks of “travel” is no small feat but, especially on a community level, it is achievable. No doubt in your own community, there is at least one travel agency with more than its proportionate percentage of “mindshare” – people immediately think of that agency when they think of their next cruise or vacation. Read the rest of this entry »
This week we have been looking at the concept of a visual system for your travel practice – the graphical elements that represent your brand. Now, let’s zero in on the creation of an advertisement as a concrete example. Creating great visual advertising is both an art and a skill. The graphic design of a print or banner ad has to be clean and uncluttered, yet interesting enough to grab the viewer and pull them in. Good graphic artists know this and use a mix of graphic elements, text, color and white space in exactly the right proportions to create an attractive and professional advertisement.
The travel professional hoping to also become a great advertiser has to become a student of advertising. Look at the advertising on websites, in magazines and in your local newspaper. Study how the larger tour companies advertise in print and online. Note the font sizes for headlines versus body text and determine how placement and areas of white space are used. Read the rest of this entry »
A question from a travel professional last week on advertising with a limited budget prompted additional considerations. Indeed, advertising sometimes seems like a shot in the dark. Probably no aspect of any marketing plan draws both the scrutiny and the concern as does advertising. At times it seems highly effective, and the lucky business person can directly attribute sales to a particular effort while on other occasions, advertising can seem completely without any power to turn revenue. Read the rest of this entry »
There is probably no aspect of the entire spectrum of marketing that is as problematic as advertising. Done properly, travel agency advertising will influence a target audience. Done poorly, it will, well, make you poor. It’s no wonder that so many travel agencies advertise so minimally, and thereby lose out on a significant opportunity to make people aware of their services.
The secret to an advertising campaign that works is to have the proper expectations going into the campaign. Understand what advertising can, and cannot, do for your travel agency. Read the rest of this entry »
The difference between ho-hum advertising and a visual ad that really grabs the reader is the designer’s ability to see into the mind of the ideal demographic the ad is trying to reach. An intuitive sense of where the “hot buttons” are for the reader is a necessary part of good creative. Think for a moment about all of the advertising where the age of the models has shifted to individuals with slightly graying hair. What’s going on there? I sometimes think those ads overplay their attempt to reach out to the “boomers”, but the lesson is just as obvious – your creative needs to establish a relationship with the demographic you seek. Read the rest of this entry »
What makes some advertising successful and other ads not so? All other things being equal, it is often what is generally referred to as “the creative” – the layout, the design and the ad copy all of which ideally work together to convey the important message the ad so wants to communicate. The creative is the visual (in print, web and television) and the auditory (in radio and television, sometimes web) expression of the brand idea or the call to action that is the heart of the advertising message. Because advertising is not only communication but persuasion, the message carried by the creative must work well – and not only well, but quickly. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday, we described how the graphical design and layout of a visual advertisement should grab the busy viewer’s attention. The chore of attracting attention also falls to the most prominent line of the ad’s copy: the headline. Begin your ad development by writing down several possible headlines. The headline sets the theme and the tone for your ad and works with the graphical elements to bring the viewer’s attention to bear on the ad for a few seconds. The headline should be positioned to boldly state the ad’s proposition – typically this is at the top of the ad but a good designer may position it at either the middle or the bottom effectively. Read the rest of this entry »
Competing for the attention of a busy reader is no small feat. The layout of your advertisement, the graphics, font and whitespace are central to the effort. The graphic design of your advertising is all about pulling the viewer in and keeping them there long enough to recognize a benefit to remembering your brand. This week we will spend some time considering graphic design as it relates to your own advertising efforts for your travel practice.
Most of us know a graphically pleasing ad when we see it, but we seldom analyze how the graphic artist achieved the result. This is an area where, if available to you, professional assistance is invaluable. Often, the media from which you are purchasing your ad space can be a prime resource. Read the rest of this entry »
Are you aware despite countless Federal Trade Commission regulations, the worst product of any category in the world is perfectly within its legal rights to call itself “The World’s Best” and to extol its virtues? This type of advertising is known as “puffery” – putting your best foot forward and using terms that most people understand to be more or less “bragging” rights. Is it any wonder people mistrust advertising?
Most travel advertising is “first person”. Inherently, first-person advertising is less credible than a third party endorsement. Think about it for a moment. Which do you trust more? A commercial on television or the recommendation of a good friend? Testimonials are the basis of much of modern social media marketing. Read the rest of this entry »
Consumer advocates often lodge the complaint that advertising is coercive and monopolistic, dictating public perceptions and buying habits. According to this theory, the public buys what they are told to buy, the product most advertised, rather than the product that is the best for their needs. Certainly companies with the resources to put into advertising have a distinct advantage. Regardless of the actual merits of the argument, the perception it creates makes it more difficult to form a relationship with clients based on trust. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the chief complaints consumers have about advertising is it is often inappropriate – either wrongly targeted or misdirected. Often, travel agents will blanket their client lists with advertising that betrays a lack of concern for the needs or concerns of the individual client. For example, not everyone is a fan of cruising. Repeated advertisements for a cruise vacation directed at the wrong client will cause the client to doubt the sincerity of the travel agent. If the travel counselor is truly about the service and not the product, if a travel planner’s practice is really client centric, then the needs and preferences of the client come first and a stream of wrongly directed advertisments will callous the relationship. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday we discussed how many consumers perceive advertising as manipulative and less than authentic. Another common complaint is that advertising imposes itself on the individual in an unwanted manner – it interrupts the flow of information or entertainment to gain mindshare. Thus, a commercial appears at the climax of the television show, or the banner ad covers up what you are trying to read. Indeed, much of the advertising to which we are exposed each day is unsolicited and unwanted. Read the rest of this entry »
Consumers have a love/hate relationship with advertising. Some advertising is highly regarded, memorized and repeated, passed along virally. Other ads are the subject of scorn and vilification usually reserved for weapons of mass destruction. It is a worthwhile exercise to examine consumer attitudes toward advertising and to discover exactly what about it people find objectionable. Buried there is a lesson we can take back to our own marketing campaigns to ensure that it will be heard and trusted rather than frowned upon. Read the rest of this entry »
All this week, The 365 Guide has been examining some of the issues involved in advertising your agency’s services through various media. We want to bring together a few final considerations and tips that will place your advertising program on solid footing.
Advertising is only one tactic in a well-rounded marketing strategy. Public relations, word of mouth marketing, your blog and website, newsletters and all of the other topics we discuss here daily work in tandem with your advertising to condition the market to be receptive to your efforts. Seek to coordinate all of your marketing tactics to work in unison.
Advertising is highly visible when it works well – so make sure it represents your travel agency in total alignment with your company’s brand message. Your ads carry your company’s mission into the living rooms of people who may not know you in any other way Read the rest of this entry »
An advertising maxim says what cannot be measured cannot be managed. Indeed, without some controls and testing, it can be very difficult to gauge the effect a given advertisement has had on sales. Strategic based “image advertising” is especially difficult to measure and even measuring the impact of more tactically oriented “sales” ads can be a challenge. It is important, however, to attempt to gauge the success of a given ad so that over the course of the campaign you can make adjustments that will improve the success of the series of ad efforts even when a single ad is not as effective as hoped. Read the rest of this entry »
Advertising is a high-stakes business. As we indicated yesterday, it is often the most visible part of a travel agency’s marketing plan and takes up a large percentage of the marketing budget. Choosing the appropriate media to present your advertising is therefore a very important decision. Here are a few basic concepts that will assist you in selecting the media you should use. We will discuss print advertising primarily, but the lessons apply to all media.
In selecting your media for an advertisement, there are three important factors: Read the rest of this entry »
Advertising can be a scary proposition for a travel consultant. In a service industry like ours, advertising can represent as much as 80% or more of an entire marketing budget. Purchasing the right media can be a daunting gamble and generating appropriate creative is as much art as science. Results can be difficult to measure – it can sometimes be tough to determine whether an advertisement created any results at all. Yet, advertising is often the most visible marketing done by an agency. Getting it right is important. Thus, the next few articles will deal with advertising: what it is, how to plan, execute and measure. Hopefully, at the end of our series, advertising will not seem quite as dark an art as it may right now.
A good working definition is that advertising is paid, non-personal communication through media about a company meant to persuade a target audience to act in a desired manner. Read the rest of this entry »
Advertising is one of the most vexing tactics for a travel agent to properly implement into a marketing plan. The capital expenditure for advertising is one of the most risky since client response, or lack thereof, occurs outside of the view of the travel agent. It is often difficult to measure results and to ensure the target audience is indeed even seeing the advertising. Done correctly, however, advertising can be very effective and can raise the public profile of the travel agent and help drive sales. The secret is to properly develop the advertising, to choose the right media and to follow up appropriately. Read the rest of this entry »