When you hear a car alarm, do you rush to dial 911? Do you look up with anticipation when a cell phone rings nearby? Do you make note of the song titles playing overhead at the grocery store? Do you pause to carefully read billboards, bus-stop ads or promos in your credit card bill?
For most of us, it has all become audio and visual background noise. Most of it we simply ignore. Ask a city dweller how they react to sirens. They are loud and usually come with flashing lights but, other than moving out of the way, we take little notice.
There’s another kind of noise that is increasing in volume within the travel industry: mass-blast marketing. The assumption is that sending everyone every promotion will eventually produce a sale or two. It makes mathematical sense, but neglects to consider the noise factor.
One of the most fundamental elements of successful marketing is targeting. It sounds so technical but, what it really means is sending your promotion to someone who might actually care!
Every time you send everything to everyone you become more and like a car alarm: an annoying noise that will eventually be ignored. Targeting can turn down the noise and turn up the results.
Demographic targeting (age, gender, marital status, etc.) is hugely unreliable. I am almost fifty-three but I’m not even slightly interested in any of the “seniors like you” junk that fills my inbox.
Psychographic targeting (interests, hobbies, lifestyles, desires) is the key! It’s where the noise becomes a symphony and flashing flights turn into twinkling stars. The problem is, this sort of information is rarely uncovered through surveys, profile forms, or questionnaires. It comes from good old-fashioned human-to-human conversation. Oh, and paying attention and recording it.
Databases and CRM systems, when used properly, can do wonderful things. Sadly, most have become mass-blast factories of annoyance. With all the background noise that surrounds us every day, doesn’t it make sense to turn down the volume, and crank up the magic?
Nolan Burris is an author, former travel agent, failed musician and self-professed techno-geek. He’s also a popular international speaker both inside and outside of the travel industry. He is the founder and chief Visioneer of Future Proof Travel Solutions (futureprooftravel.com) based in Vancouver, Canada. Nolan’s believes that if can change the way business works, you’ll change the world. His goal is to spread the message of integrity and ethics in a techno-driven world.