This week we are looking at 10 fundamental marketing principles that will provide a basis for consistent and successful marketing efforts. Marketing has as its goal the acquisition of new clients and the retention of existing clients. Our principles for today focus on those two target groups. Your existing clients form your base and provide you with a stable platform from which to operate. New clients provide the growth necessary to any business as well as replacing business that falls away over time.
Both are vitally important and strongly inter-dependent. Importantly, today’s two principles illustrate that good marketing can be cost efficient, requiring an investment of time rather than of scarce financial resources.
Tend to Your Existing Clients – Your existing clients are the foundation of your business and much easier to reach out and touch than new prospects. Your existing clients represent not only repeat business, but also an important source of referrals and testimonials to potential new business. Yet, travel agents often allocate a disproportionate amount of marketing effort to the acquisition of new clients, neglecting their existing base. Use a good CRM tool to stay in touch with your existing clients at key times – their birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Know their preferences in travel and their travel ambitions. Take ownership of your clients and treat their long range travel planning exactly as you would expect a financial consultant to plan ahead for years at a time. Ask your existing clients for referrals and testimonials and continually strive to keep them involved in your own story. Share your successes with them and ensure that they can communicate your message to others when the time is appropriate.
Marketing is more like farming than hunting. I have written a column on this before, but it bears repeating. Too often, travel agents view their marketing efforts as an attempt to capture a few good clients, to bag a few prospects for the next big trip. In reality however, good marketing strategy would dictate that the agent should focus instead on long-term tactics designed to build relationships within their communities. A good marketing calendar would have the agent speaking to groups, volunteering on civic projects, issuing press releases, writing columns locally – all designed to increase the market profile of the agent in their community over a period of time. It is within this context of community involvement that the agent can then successfully launch tactical marketing efforts with the greatest impact.