Layering the Marketing Message
Thursday, February 15, 2018, 8am by Karen DeSollar
In the last few weeks, we have been sharing with you what our research tells us about visitors to Raleigh, N.C. (Visitor Math: Jan. 14) and some of the rationale for why we promote the Raleigh area in the way we do. (See the Jan. 21 blog about why we use the term and styling, Raleigh, N.C.—there are compelling reasons…).
As we said in previous blog posts, the GRCVB’s marketing efforts are not based on arbitrary decision-making but on research, industry rationales, best practices and more.
The challenge is to incorporate that kind of conceptual thinking into our everyday workflow without it bogging us down. So we do our best to “layer” our marketing objectives, using brand strategy, pillars, research and principles.
The destination brand
In 2014-2015, we conducted a comprehensive destination brand study through Development Counsellors International (DCI), which helped us better define countywide destination positioning, value proposition and brand promise. (If you need a refresher, you will find the Raleigh, N.C., Destination Brand results here). From that study came the tourism/destination positioning statement, which is:
Raleigh is a thriving Southern capital city shaped by the passionate minds of its residents.
It’s all about the people, the passionate minds. And you will see them in the Official Visitors Guide, on visitRaleigh.com, in our social media messaging, in meetings and conventions promotions and more. We make every effort to start telling the story of Raleigh/Wake County by talking about its passionate minds.
Add in the pillars
The second building block is what we call the “pillars.” Each year, our editorial calendar is crafted around these pillars—the key assets and reasons why people may choose to visit Raleigh, N.C. The pillars include arts, culinary, live music, local shopping, museums and history, scenic and nature and sports and recreation. Much of our editorial content shared on social media, for example, centers around the pillar that is being featured for a particular month.
Consult the research
We have copious visitor profile and behavioral data from several sources that help us know what the makeup, lifestyles and thought processes of Raleigh area visitors are like. For example, did you know there are typically as many Baby Boomers in market as there are Millennials? That on average, 45 percent of visitors are day-trippers or approximately eight percent are couples with young children? That 39 percent of overnighters are from North Carolina? That kind of information helps us shape the content we deliver.
Factor in these guiding principles...
- Diversity of voices—We all know that Wake County is richly diverse in many ways, and we want to effectively communicate that. Of course, ethnic diversity is part of it, but diversity extends to age, gender/sexual orientation, household income/size, home or bike vs. car ownership—the list goes on and on. We’re talking a lot these days about how to introduce other voices into our marketing conversations geared to visitors who would have close affinities with some of our passionate-minded residents.
- Synthesis—Raleigh, N.C., is not unique as a destination, in terms of having a central city core, surrounded by suburban communities or neighboring municipalities. That creates a dynamic where we are responsible to promote the whole of the county (= Raleigh, N.C.) as well as encourage visitors' circulation through its individual parts (the 11 municipalities plus the City of Raleigh proper). We want to do justice to both and have for the life of the Bureau. But we’ll be focusing on that objective with even more intentionality in the months ahead, through such projects as the 10-year Destination Strategic Plan's initial executions.
That’s quite a messaging soup to try to keep fresh! Let us know if you have any questions or input for us.
Author: Karen DeSollar
Karen DeSollar is creative director at the Greater Raleigh CVB and has worked for over 15 years in the tourism sector. She started her career as an editor and earned a bachelor's degree in speech communications and English and a master's in journalism. She added graphic design to her bag of tricks when she spent 13 years as director of communications at a university in San Diego.