Paid Media: The Choice of Last Resort

In the old days, paid media – broadcast television, radio and print – was the way to get your strategic message out to a large audience. Most of your spend went to these mass media, and even though only a small percentage of the large consumer base responded, it was enough to fill your hotel or create long lines at the gates. The idea of investing in owned media was an afterthought, typically funded with the spare change left from the mass media buy. This model simply isn’t working anymore.

To move your marketing communications from this exposure and efficiencies model to one of engagement and effectiveness, you need to invert your plan, and move to one built around ‘owned’ media first, ‘earned’ media second and ‘paid’ media last. The more valuable  communications – ones that are both relevant and desirable to your audience – reach your target audiences when they’re actively seeking information and ready to engage. And when you invest in paid media, you don’t have to assume that traditional mass media is the only choice: be creative to get the most for your money. We’ve employed many non-traditional paid tactics to great success, such as:

  • Advertising on social networks
  • Paid search
  • Rich media banner advertising
  • Behavioral retargeting
  • Cinema advertising in feeder markets
  • Long form video on demand delivered through cable networks
  • Guerilla strategies at concerts and other large venues
  • Contextual advertising
  • Digital billboard advertising
  • Product placement

Engage audiences with more thoughtful media choices

Times have changed, and so must our travel and tourism marketing strategies. We can’t expect mass media alone to reach the very targeted audiences and niche markets required to fill beds and sell tickets. We must leverage owned and earned media for more effective communications and a higher return on our investment. Already these strategies are resulting in greater consumer engagement: reaching audiences that are more receptive, responsive and willing to help spread the word about a brand or destination – often with greater influence than paid media ever could. Imagine how they can perform if they are part of an integrated travel marketing communications plan.

Cutting to the chase

If your destination measures media exposure and efficiency rather than effectiveness, maybe it’s time to engage a more profitable audience. Embracing the new rules of engagement with customers can seem insurmountable, but by rethinking your media plan to make the most of your own channels, you can take advantage of low-cost, high-return opportunities to connect with your best customers and prospects.

If you need assistance to examine your communications and media strategies, contact Wanderlust today at 1-888-754-3210.