I spent the past week on a Caribbean cruise. Whenever I’m around a lot of people, there are many opportunities to find ways to tie people watching into marketing dos and don’ts. Here is my list from the past week.
If you’ve never been to the Caribbean, it’s pretty warm, with a warm southerly breeze. The skies are usually clear, and the sun shines brightly. That’s what leads me to my first marketing list—the Dos.
- The right tools for the job. After about two days on the ship, you begin to see the lobster people around dinnertime. These are the folks who are not using sunscreen; are using the wrong level of sunscreen; or have no idea they would burn in the Caribbean sun. In marketing, you want to use the right tool for the job so you don’t end up getting burned and being the lobster at the dinner table.
- Weigh your options. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know that people tend to overeat. When creating your marketing plan, keep in mind it may be a marathon and not a sprint. Avoid overloading your plate, or it could cause the plan to stall and be ineffective. Plan the campaign with a strategic eye for the distance, rather than front-loading it.
- Practice makes perfect. On each cruise, there are a couple formal nights. Everyone gets dressed up and looks great. However, there are those young ladies trying to wear really high heels and it’s apparent they had never worn them before. Take a tip here for your marketing plan. Practice before implementing so you don’t stumble through the process.
- The belly flop. One of my favorite events to watch is the “Men’s International Belly Flop” contest. It’s full of surprises. Just when you think you’ve identified the winner, some little guy comes in and takes the prize. What does this have to do with marketing? Just because you may not work for a large company, that doesn’t mean you should avoid applying for marketing awards. Go for it and do your best. You never know, you could take the prize.
When people go on vacation, it’s a time to unwind and relax. However, in this day and age, everything one does could end up on the Internet. With this in mind, I’m providing my marketing “don’t” list.
- Join the Quest. There is a game show called the Quest, which is hosted on many cruise itineraries. It’s an adults-only game, where many crazy things take place. In the end, men end up dressing like women. Needless to say, as much as you want to join in the fun, remember, whatever happens on the ship stays on YouTube. Take that tip for your marketing plan. There are many “best of” and “worst of” lists for today’s marketers to leverage. Be sure your campaign stays far away from the “worst of” list.
- Show too much. Many people who take Caribbean cruises are there for the sun and a tan. That’s great. I’m all for it; however, that doesn’t mean I need to see so much of you in the process. This leads me to another marketing “don’t.” Quantity does not equal quality. When it comes to marketing campaigns, the “spray-and-pray” technique is never a good one. Plan accordingly and cover all your bases without giving away too much at one time. There is subtly in the art of a good campaign.
- Be pushy. There were over 6,000 passengers on the ship I took. When it came time to disembark at the ports, people got very pushy. It’s almost like they are in a hurry to go nowhere. In marketing, being pushy often turns clients off as well. It could take week, months, or even a year to turn a lead into a sale. Take your time. Plan your approach. Be polite and smile. In the end, everyone gets what he/she is looking for.
- Non-exclusive exclusives. Here’s an example. I was invited to an “exclusive” event; however, I noticed the same event envelope on nearly all the stateroom doors on my floor. So, how exclusive was this event? When you create an exclusive opportunity for your VIPs, make sure it feels that way to them. Marketing efforts that are meant to give an air of exclusivity, but feel the opposite, may leave a bad taste in your clients’ mouth. Keep exclusive campaigns very limited to a select group of people.
In short, take the time to plan your marketing campaign. Consider the tips I’ve shared here and add your own spice to the mix.
What are your favorite marketing dos and don’ts? And how do you avoid the pitfalls?