The marketing landscape is rapidly changing, and the Tri-County Lodging Association and Convention and Visitors Bureau hope to be on the forefront of spreading the word about the Lake of the Ozarks.
“Marketing strategies that used to be golden may not be providing the same results as they used to,” Jerry Henry of H2R Research told the TCLA Board of Directors Thursday morning during its regular monthly meeting. “You guys are doing a very good job (marketing), better than most, but things are shifting and they are shifting fast.”
Henry was asked to present his company’s latest take on adapting to the changing market place.
The focus of Henry’s information was to suggest the TCLA move from a conversion study system to determine potential visitors to a market effectiveness study.
“The marketing world is in chaos,” he said. “The media landscape is changing rapidly. The travel marketing paradigm is not working as well as it once did.”
Henry said the TCLA “may have to apply new methodology” in order to obtain the same, or better, results in marketing the lake.
“Demographics are no longer enough to make good decisions. You’ve got to get into the customer’s mindset,” he explained. “You need to focus on consumers’ needs and wants.”
The marketplace is moving away from the print industry and toward an Internet-based industry where consumers are getting their travel information immediately. Counting heads and measuring conversion data does not work any more.”
Most travelers don’t request vacation guides today, but are instead flooding the web.
“People are going online and leaving without giving contact information,” he explained.
Visitor guides still have an impact, but have to be repurposed, Henry said. They are more important than ever because they target a smaller yet more affluent market.
“They are your biggest brand evangelist,” Henry said. “But they’re not adequate to use as a measuring tool anymore.”
He has serious concerns that the type of marketing study used by the TCLA and CVB is misleading, and that marketing decisions are being made on erroneous information.
“Marketing didn’t get worse, it’s gotten smarter. But you can’t use the old system to adequately measure results any more,” Henry said.