Tourism marketing efforts have to focus on what the consumer wants. To best comply with such consumer needs, we need to work together. Two simple truths: consumer and collaboration.
When a whole day of conferencing boils down to two strong takeaways, I call it a success. When you get these important insights via social media feeds because you cannot attend the event, even more so! I was so disappointed when I couldn’t attend this year’s The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference, but perhaps following the Twitter feeds, it was easier to get to the core messages.
In my blog The Customer – your new partner in business, I have focused on the importance of the consumer in today’s business environment. This is not only because we want customers to purchase our products, but also because the online environment makes customers our ads. No longer are our brand messages coming straight from the marketing department, they come from those who use our products, even when they are not experts. Consumers use the online environment to share how they feel when interacting with your offering or product. Sometimes they know how to describe the wine or really appreciate the taste of the food, but most of all, what they share is their emotion while using the product.
Brands will always be responsible for the integrity and quality of their products, but in their communication with the consumer, the talk should not only be about the product. It should be about the emotion. To do that, brands need to understand the consumer. Who drinks my wine, when and where and why? How do I talk to customers? On what platform? What time of day? And the wonderful news is that these questions all have answers. We all know that we compromise our privacy through our online footprint, but from a brand perspective, this footprint gives exceptional resources for tracking consumer preference and behaviour.
Data from online sources is a powerful tool, especially when it combines the information from various apps and platforms. Data can help us to see where people are drinking our wine, who they are and what other interests they have. It can help us determine the language they use. Cathy Huyge from wine industry data tool, Enolytics, was quoted on Twitter for saying that we should use big data to meet consumers where they are and for focusing the message on what they want to hear. “Fish where the fish are”.
“We are drinking wine but not visiting the Winelands” said Joe Public MD Khutala Gala-Holten. Traditional wine talk and wine adverts are not speaking to Millennials, especially not those who did not grow up with wine culture. We have to be innovative in our approach. And according to Peter Greenwall: “Reframe the mundane!”
And this is exactly what Tim Harris and the Wesgro team are doing. When it hit the international press, Day Zero caused a major crisis for Cape tourism, but the recovery campaign focuses on stories and messages the audience can relate to. It shares emotion rather than logistics and facts. It also involves both industry and government. Collaboration of data resources is of the essence if we want to get the best information, but working together is also important within the industry – especially in times of crisis.
If we can keep these two truths – working together and being customer-focused – top of mind in our marketing and communication efforts, I am excited about the road ahead for tourism.