Time to take stock and review your marketing plans for 2022

As we entered 2022 there was a renewed sense of optimism. The worst of covid appeared to be behind us, Omicron didn’t pose the threat which was first feared & the vaccination programme was well established. Consumers and businesses were eagerly looking ahead to making up for the time they’d lost during the pandemic, and even if they weren’t rushing out to book long haul holidays, bookings for holidays slightly closer to home were exceeding 2019 levels. Happy days.

So there is no better time to step back, take stock and review your marketing. What you used to do is probably no longer as appropriate as it was. Consumer habits have changed (who isn’t more digitally savvy?!) and plans for 2022 and beyond need to be adjusted to reflect this.

Given the changes, it’s perhaps not surprising that “we need to do more digital” is the cry from most of the clients we meet and talk to. And for the majority that isn’t the worst plan. That said, before we rush in, we would always pause and ask a few clarifying questions.

  1. Who are your core target audience?
  2. What are your objectives?
  3. What does success look like?
  4. What are you already doing?

In this blog I’ll try and explain these 4 questions and how they apply to planning effective campaigns.

  1. Audience
    Why does understanding your audience matter? Well, the key to effective media planning is the same today as it was when I started as an eager grad in the 1990s…..put the consumer first, not the medium. What media do they consume and in what mindset? If you can answer those two questions, you are on the way to developing the right plan. Whilst digital transcends the generations, we need to mindful of the different demographics of the key channels. Just looking at my immediate family you see this in utter clarity.  Whilst we all use Google, after that the differences are quite marked. My 77yr old dad isn’t on social media whilst my 78yr old mum is merrily scrolling on Facebook. My wife and I are on Facebook, but she’s yet to join Instagram. Our teenage sons have Facebook accounts (but don’t use them), but are on Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. Only one of us, my 19yr old son, is on Twitter – but that’s just to keep up with the latest gossip about Exeter Chiefs.

    The table below shows just how different each of the platforms is.

    So having a thorough understanding of the core audience enables you to identify where to invest your budgets to reach them in the right mindset and at a time when they will be most receptive to your communication.
  2. What are your objectives?
    Are you simply trying to sell more trips? If so, a strategy focussed on paid (PPC) and organic (SEO) search will more than likely work. If, however you are trying to evangelise about the joys & benefits of your holidays to the uninitiated, then there’s a need to raise awareness, and sadly search isn’t the solution to that problem. Advertising on social media platforms and deploying digital display advertising is more likely to be the solution. Both allow you to target your campaigns using a host of criteria, so that your ads are shown to relevant audiences. But don’t just think digitally – there are more options available to you. As an example Coach holidays attract an older customer. What media do they consume? Local press, national press, magazines, daytime TV, radio, etc. Some can be targeted regionally and offer cost effective opportunities to reach your audience in ways which they may feel more comfortable with.
  3. What does success look like?
    The over used adage of, “I know half my advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half” remains a sober reminder to the unwitting marketeer.If we don’t know what would count as success, how will we know if we’d want to repeat the activity?Each medium will have a different level of accountability, and it’s not always possible to track every touchpoint of a consumer sale. Don’t panic, I’m not suggesting clients develop a highly sophisticated algorithm to measure success, but without some level of accountability, the ability to keep the good, jettison the bad and optimise the moderate is removed. And if that’s the case, every campaign is not too far adrift from choosing red or black at the roulette table!
  4.  What are you already doing?
    Having placed the consumer at the heart of your planning, having pinned down what you want the budget to achieve and how you’ll know if you’ve succeeded, it’s time to look at historic activity. What can we learn? Did it work? Are we witnessing diminishing returns? Could it work better? Should you stop doing it? Often the client gets bored before activity has actually begun to tire or diminish. I’m not advocating a static approach where nothing ever changes, but if it’s working and isn’t broken – why stop it just to try something new and exciting? Instead, we encourage clients to set aside a percentage of their marketing budget for testing. This ensures that current channels are optimised to ensure they set the best benchmark against which tests are compared. Adopting this approach fosters a spirit of restless evolution, a spirit where accountability and innovation are at the heart of the planning cycle.Today’s 50 somethings are tomorrows 60 somethings……and they will bring with them a different set of media habits and behaviours. Embedding a spirit of test and evaluate at the heart of the marketing function will ensure that as behaviours evolve, your marketing isn’t left behind.

As we press on into 2022 there’s never been a better time to ensure that marketing budgets are as well invested as they can be. It’s been a torrid 2 years for the travel sector and therefore investing smartly is critical to ensure that the road out of the pandemic is as smooth as it can be.

Bluesoup is immersed in the travel sector and has specific coach holiday experience. If you’d like a free, no obligation chat about any of the above, please get in touch.

Contact Bluesoup’s Managing Director for more information and to request an audit: ben.duhig@bluesoupagency.com