Place marketing strategy

Poke Marketing’s team have worked in place marketing for a number of years now and have developed innovative and game changing strategies for a range of organisations within tourism, destinations and hospitality. 

When it comes to marketing a location, a city, a restaurant, a hotel, a bar or a tourist attraction there is one thing to bear in mind. Your audience.

Creating a brand and narrative that empathises with what they want should always usurp internal aspirations. And, of course, there is no such thing as one audience type. 

One of our clients had a database of over 120,000 people from around the world. Yet they were sending one email blast a month to them all. They couldn’t understand why their engagement was so low. But when we analysed what they were doing it became obvious. “ …Experience traditional British food right on the seafront… “ was a campaign they sent to their entire database. Now that may resonate with the Scandinavian market but imagine sending that to a person living in Paris? No wonder their engagement with the French market was low. We helped them segment their audience types, understanding the right messaging, and pushed out contextual marketing that would resonate and activate their targets. 

It’s poor marketing planning to just blast out one message and pray to god it works for everyone.

Closer to home we see marketing messages around “… Liverpool is the greatest place to come to… “ or “ …Liverpool the best city in the world… “. Whilst Liverpool is an incredible place to live, visit and work there’s no validation that it’s the ‘best’ or the ‘greatest’ anything in the world. What it does have are incredible assets that can be used to authentically market this region. And that’s a keyword – authenticity. Consumers want realism, they base their decision-making on it. Hyperbole and opinion-based rhetoric is ineffective and devalues the actual real strong features a location like Liverpool has. 

Look at how Kent markets itself – it identified its nicheness and created a brand around it – “Kent the Garden of England “. It then identified its authentic, genuine offerings to its diverse targets – incredible restaurants for the foodie segments, close location to London for global tourists looking beyond the capital, history for those fascinated by this country’s evolution over the centuries, golf for those looking to be challenged on some of the worlds best golf courses and Bluewater and Canterbury for the shopaholics. 

Focused. Real. Deliverable. Proven.

Short-termism is another problem we see, especially in the hospitality sector. Using only a PR specialist to bring in their celebrity contacts to boost a venue’s profile across social media may be good for egos and social media views. But it doesn’t create long-term brand loyalty and it certainly doesn’t create bookings. Look at the amazing way Luban markets itself – the experience, the theatre, the talent, living the “Luban = creativity and innovation“ brand. They all show the benefits to the visitor. Sure Celebs may eat there but that’s not the cornerstone of its marketing. It’s a by-product of it. 

If a venue’s success is dependent on someone’s little black book there’s a problem.

As the world opens up again, people are far more sophisticated in their decision-making. And if you don’t know how to engage with them then your message isn’t going to land. Empathise with their needs and aspirations and you’ll bring them in. Segmentation is key here and Poke’s behaviour-led framework ensures clients get to understand their various segments, identify and overcome any barriers and contextualise the marketing messages to them. 

Look at how Dash on Liverpool’s Victoria Street is developing its messaging. Always aligned to their ethos around living your best life they have made their marketing relevant to each of their key segments – the quality of food and environment for the ABC1 demographic, amazing drinks and location for the Instagram brigade, and a fantastic location and Liverpool experience for the tourist market. Different messaging that motivates and activates the different target audiences.

Get under the skin of who you’re trying to attract, then serve them content in a format and in a tone that empathises with them. It’s the best way to communicate. And it’s what the best venues and attractions do.