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Ctrl Alt Delete – time to hit the reset button on dysfunctional media audits

Posted By John Dunne, Wednesday 16 October 2019
Updated: Tuesday 15 October 2019

media audit

Today’s media audits rarely deliver; they don’t tell advertisers what they really need to know. There are many reasons for this; one is that brands and even procurement people have bought into the myth that media discounts are what matter most. Cost-only media auditing is too narrow and doesn't translate well into digital. The advertising media market is getting very complex. 

When the media auditing business was first created, it embraced the simple concept that if you got together a pool of advertisers, added together their total spend in any one medium in a given period and divided this by the sum of the audience delivered, you would get an average value. This would provide a measure for comparing individual advertiser value. But seismic changes in the way media is now traded means this traditional process is flawed, produces misleading results, and is almost entirely broken. 

The genesis of media auditing was a lack of pricing transparency. By measuring media costs against a pool, brands were taking out an insurance policy against over-paying. But now, for many brands, an increasing proportion of media spend is performance based, with most media buys biddable or traded on outcomes. In the world of performance, a higher unit price may achieve a better outcome, so the old principles of lowest rate buying are misleading. 

The big challenges that have confronted advertising over the past few years aren’t going anywhere fast or getting solved quickly. Marketers continue to grapple with the challenges of unpredictable competition, diminished trust, social media chatter and rapid technological change. They’re still looking for solutions to viewability, brand safety, transparency, ad verification, and marketing effectiveness. If there’s a trend that has marked the industry in the last two years, it’s confusion that comes from not knowing what the right metrics are, or what to do with them. 

There’s a lot of talk in the industry about ‘accountability’ and ‘effectiveness’, but some clients and agencies behave in ways that make accountability difficult and effectiveness harder. In the Big Data era, it is tempting to believe that the impact of data-driven decisions will only increase. But as the availability of data grows, so does the level of noise. We need to get better at distinguishing the signals, or else the value of all this data will prove disappointing. There are signs this is happening already: recent WFA research indicates that 73% of clients agree that ‘the industry needs to move away from outmoded media price judgments to focus on value-based assessments’. Nearly all clients (96%) agree that ‘digital media requires a different assessment methodology to offline media’.

Should you audit your digital activities? 

Despite the confusion I’ve described, should you audit your digital activities? The answer is still yes – although many brand owners in Ireland would be forgiven for answering no to this question. The current audit practices for digital, as offered by long established players, fail marketeers miserably. There’s a clear lack of rigour when it comes to evaluation; the audit reviews are too superficial and the analysis too short-term. The audits rarely cover search, social, programmatic, partnerships and campaign operational set-ups. The more sophisticated advertisers recognise that applying the old way of auditing media to digital media activities isn’t appropriate and are asking for alternatives. Naturally, advertisers demand proof that their investment in media has been used effectively and in line with their media investment contracts. An initiative by Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (Jicwebs), an industry body representing all sides of the digital advertising industry in the UK, offers a good insight into how technology could help boost the efficiency and transparency of digital ad buys by providing end-to-end supply chain transparency and clarity around advertising spend.

While media auditing isn’t going away, the core focus of an audit is swinging away from retrospective cost and quality comparisons. A more nuanced approach is needed. 

Considerations for independent media audits

More recently, agencies and media suppliers have become increasingly concerned about specific auditing and media benchmarking practices and dynamics. 

1. Conflicts of interest

There is growing concern, and rightly so, about the potential conflicts of interest with the long established media auditing companies at a global level. Up to now, a lack of competition in this area offered clients little or no choice. In Ireland, a monopoly of sorts around media auditing can’t be good for anyone, can it? A recent article in Digiday summed up the problem of companies acting as both an auditor and a media agency of sorts. 

2. Data requests not aligned with the contract

Today’s digital-centric media marketplace has inevitably led to greater caution as media agencies now provide auditors with significant volumes of highly sensitive and confidential data. Agencies have voiced reservations that auditors sometimes ask them to provide data beyond the details stipulated in the agency/client contract. 

3. Media audit companies in the pitch process

Pitching is a highly sensitive process during which agencies reveal a great deal of confidential information, creative ideas and strategic advice. Advertisers often hire pitch consultants who advise them throughout the process. I believe it is crucial that pitch consultants are able to operate completely impartially. In Ireland, the reality is that some media auditors do both. 

It’s common practice that a media agency could be audited one week for client X and the next week are pitching for client Y – with a long established media auditor being the common denominator in both instances. Put yourself in the agency’s shoes: would you challenge the outputs from the auditor and risk a poor outcome from a pitch that the same company is managing a week later? Is it any wonder some media audit review meetings can feel like a pointless exercise? 

How do you achieve more transparent, honest dialogue and strengthened co-operation between all parties?

Modern media audits – the way forward

Modern auditing is about demonstrating a clear understanding of the relationship between effectiveness and economic value. The unpleasant truth is that long-established media auditors are auditors of price. Many individuals involved in media auditing aren’t from a planning background. Many would struggle to ask the key questions to unearth any undue influence by agency deals on a clients’ media supply chain and desired business outcomes.  They’re not fulfilling the purpose they were intended for; to answer simple client questions like: ‘are we winning’, ‘what does good look like’ or ‘are we getting value’?

A traditional audit doesn’t allow any of this, which is why a new approach to the conventional audit model is required. A value-based media audit makes for more meaningful reviews based on identification and measurement of strategic goals for media activity that isn’t solely focused on short-term outcomes, identifies more opportunities for extracting value, and improves performance with a customised assessment of media buying strategy and execution. In this new auditing world, measurement of client specific KPI’s and analytics replaces price pooling as the central capability; transparency replaces opacity; fast replaces slow; and self-empowerment replaces over-reliance on your media agency.

Fit for purpose - next generation media audit reviews 

Now more than ever, brands need truly independent help to navigate the world of unlimited choice and seismic changes in media consumption. A good media audit delivers findings that matter to your bottom line and lead to action. Report outputs should be quantifiable, constructive and irrefutable. Avoid using pointless metrics that have no real consequence for the client’s business, or inconsequential media buying cost reviews that are limited to traditional media channels. It’s imperative the scope of your media audit takes a holistic view of your media investments that cover all paid media channels.

When so much spending is moving to digital, you need to get a meaningful assessment of the value added from your digital media spend. It’s time to identify your strategic KPIs and get a complete picture that allows you to make more informed decisions about future media choices to deliver against your business objectives. 


Panel 1

Missing you already: media audit’s digital blind spot  

The adage ‘money follows eyeballs’ has a huge influence on where advertisers invest their advertising budgets, and all eyes are focused on digital. Online channels will account for 50 per cent of every euro spent on advertising in the Republic of Ireland this year. In 2018, 78% of digital advertising budgets went into search and social channels. 

Yet, long established media audit companies persist in spending a disproportionate amount of their client’s time reporting back on traditional media channels that are declining year on year (Out of Home excepted). These myopic reviews offer little in the way of actionable insights that clients and agencies can use to change how they manage their media investments 

Panel 2

What’s a media audit pool?

Media auditors collect the data of a particular client [or clients] from media agencies. That data is put into an anonymous pool, with other similar client data. Each client gets compared against that data pool, and people look for like-for-like comparisons to give an idea of how a client is performing compared to the rest of the market. 

Doubts are growing about the validity of price pools within today’s media ecosystem. In my experience, traditional pool-based auditing methodologies lack transparency and limit advertisers’ opportunity to extract incremental value. At an international level, client frustration is clearly apparent. In a WFA survey, one client described pooling as “worse than useless…actively harmful as an agency buys to pool rather than buys what we need”. Perhaps the greatest danger signal is inertia: the palpable sense that brands are being held back by legacy auditing methodologies and generic benchmarks which are stifling innovation. A recent article by BJ&A succinctly highlighted the issue – “pretending that ‘good buying’ equals ‘good media’, by spending hours on something that isn’t the wrong thing, but is by no means the whole thing, demeans and under-values planning”.

Pooling rates in the world of offline media are now problematic too. It is standard practice for agencies pitching for business to offer brands additional “value”. Brands can choose to take that value in different ways – as cheaper rates, free space, higher rebates, reduced fees and so on. So, when an auditor looks across their media price pool, they are no longer able to make a fair comparison. 

The astute media owner, always anxious to please even the most demanding media agency and advertiser, now ensures there is only a narrow pricing band across the range of media negotiations so as to keep everyone satisfied. Only subsequently do the separate volume and over rider discounts kick in at media holding company level and hence fall outside the standard trading disciplines. Once again, the audit isn’t auditing the true prices. Many advertisers feel they’ve ended up on a merry-go-round in which everyone is playing the system rather than focusing on customer and advertiser value. 

The speed of the auditing process – or more exactly, the lack of it – is another point of contention. Amongst effective marketers it’s becoming apparent that waiting over a year for benchmarks to be compiled is fast becoming obsolete. A typical client scenario would be that an annual cost review wouldn’t be concluded until the second quarter of the following year. By that time, the results are long past their sell-by date because media agency groups will have already concluded most of their trading agreements with media owners within the last quarter of the previous year.


About the author

John DunneJohn Dunne is Founder of Ignite Digital, a company that offers unbiased advice to effective marketers in Ireland. John has more than 20 years’ experience in the media business and a strong pedigree in digital advertising, he has an intimate understanding of the media supply chain and how it supports broader marketing objectives in the context of driving business growth.

John is accredited by IAPI and the AAI as an independent media consultant.

ignite digital


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Marketing Matters... with Laughlin Rigby, Marketing Director at Glenveagh Properties

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 16 October 2019
Updated: Tuesday 15 October 2019

Laughlin Rigby

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role.
I set the foundations for my marketing career working on FMCG marketing as a brand manager with Unilever Ireland, which is like attending marketing university, where you really appreciate the strategy behind branding and customer research. 
I’m passionate about Irish brands and promoting Ireland and I’ve been lucky enough to work on some of Ireland’s biggest brands over the years including Tourism Ireland, The Irish Times and The Gathering. 
I’m now developing the brand strategy for Ireland’s biggest homebuilder “Glenveagh” at a time when Ireland needs smart housing solutions more than ever.  Glenveagh is only celebrating its second anniversary since our IPO, however, the scale of expansion to date is incredible, thanks to the great efforts of all the talented team here.


Why did you choose a career in marketing?
During my B.Comm in UCD, I developed a real grá for marketing and I was lucky enough to study under the great Prof. Anthony Cunningham in Smurfit Business School for my masters, which only reinforced that love. 
For me, marketing offers the perfect blend between business strategy, behavioural science and creativity which appealed to many of my interests.  It’s also a discipline that many Irish people excel at due to their creative flair and their common sense and diplomacy.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge marketers are facing today? How would you tackle it?
I believe that the biggest challenge marketers face today is maintaining the balance between delivering excellent creativity and design on one hand and data analytics and digital understanding on the other. This challenge applies to the marketers, their teams and their agencies. 
To address this issue for the individual, it is important to ensure that they continuously develop and challenge both sides of their brain when possible, or if you can’t, then hire great people to complement your abilities and fill the gaps in your team.  A marketing team is not going to be at its optimum if it’s just stuffed with data analysts, or conversely, with creatives.

What advice would you give to someone starting a career in marketing?
Don’t dismiss the basics for the shiny social skills.  It’s great been good at Instagram stories or social advertising but also understand the fundamentals for building a great brand, running a market research project and analysing data.

What makes a great marketer?
Belief in their brand, first and foremost.  Authenticity and passion always shines through.  Also, diversity.  Marketing is a profession that has transferable skills across industries and some of the best marketers I’ve met are the ones that have not let themselves be pigeonholed into one industry.

What is your favourite marketing campaign of all time? Why?
That’s a hard call but one of my favourite marketing campaigns is Nike’s “Just Do it” campaign.  This campaign is now over 30 years old, yet is as fresh and as relevant as when it was first launched.  Its genius is in its positioning, perfectly encapsulated in the line “Just Do it”, which connects with everyone, describing how you feel before you start a workout but also cleverly and subtly extending to your attitude in life.  Its value is proven by its longevity and how it has spurned so many great individual advertising campaigns over the years.

Where do you look for professional inspiration?
For secondary inspiration, I use a variety of sources such as social (LinkedIn and twitter), conferences, marketing publications and books, newspapers and awards and case studies.
However, first-hand inspiration is equally valuable, so it’s great to surround yourself with inspiring people when possible, by meeting other marketing practitioners through networking and at events or in the office learning from your peers, your team and your boss.

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6 Business Competencies Marketers Should Develop (Part 3)

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 9 October 2019
Updated: Tuesday 1 October 2019

business competencies for marketers

As marketing professionals, it is critical that we understand our organisation - internally, its purpose, priorities and strategic direction, externally, the commercial context and trends that influence the internal factors.

Practical business knowledge, planning, project management, change management and customer focus are some of the competencies addressed in this section. These business competencies will serve you throughout your career, regardless of role or level. 

This week, we're looking at six more business competencies that marketers should develop to grow in their career.

Read part 1 here.

Read part 2 here.

These are based on the Marketer Pathways framework, which was developed by the Marketing Institute following consultation with over 50 senior marketing practitioners from across a range of sectors.


11. Planning and Priority Setting 

An ability to plan successfully and to set clear priorities for the organisation. Promotes the benefit of effective planning in order to ensure that the organisation makes the most effective use of its resources, to achieve sustainable business success. Ensures
that the organisation maintains appropriate focus on key priorities. Has the ability to plan, change direction and adjust business priorities, to respond to significant changes in business and market conditions.

Assess your level


12. Project Management

The ability to successfully manage and deliver sizeable projects within own area of responsibility through taking a structured and planned approach. Seeks to identify key milestones and resource requirements to deliver on time and within budget. The capacity to harness the efforts of others, across the business, to ensure key deadlines are achieved and that project objectives as delivered on time and within budget. Over time develops the capacity to effectively manage a range of diverse and complex projects, across the organisation.

Assess your level


13. Results and Achievement Focus

Focuses on the achievement of results, using a cycle of planning, action, measurement and review; to ensure that business goals are achieved. Shows drive, resilience and flexibility in seeking to achieve stretch goals. Is accountable for their own personal performance and effectively performance manages others within the team. Will focus not only the result being achieved, but also the “means” by which the goal was delivered. Will expect the team and themselves to operate ethically and with integrity in delivering business success. 

Assess your level


14. Risk Management

Has the capacity to effectively assess and manage risk within the organisation. Takes account of the risk environment and regulatory environment within which the business operates. Puts in place clear plans and business processes in order to accurately access risk and ensures clear actions are taken to mitigate such risk. Ensures that effective risk assessment becomes an integral part of planning and decision making across the organisation. Considers the financial, regulatory and reputational impact of the failure to effectively manage risk.

Assess your level


15. Strategic Perspective and Thinking

Has a clear understanding of the organisation’s vision, strategy and the key strategic drivers of growth. Can use these insights to realise organisation objectives and to achieve business results. Takes a broad view of the organisation and its business and has a deep understanding of its internal and external operating environments. Brings clear strategic thinking to such issues as; industry trends, the competitive environment, market and customer opportunities, emerging technology and effective stakeholder management. Can link the organisation strategy to day to day outputs and key operational deliverables.

Assess your level


16. Integrated Thinking

A capacity to draw together information from both qualitative sources, such as behavioural, attitudinal, psychological, values, culture and the arts; and to merge with quantitative sources, such as big data, analytics and other numerical information. Uses this integrated approach to: enable Marketing and the Organisation to better diagnose the root cause of business challenges; to identify opportunities and to inform thought
leadership, breakthrough thinking and to consider future disruption within the sector; Ensure the best use of all available information sources, as a means of driving the development of more robust customer insights; as a basis to guide a highly effective strategy setting process.

Assess your level


Learn more about the Marketer Pathways framework.

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Marketing Matters... with Mark Byrne, Culture & Strategy Director at MCCP

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 9 October 2019
Updated: Monday 7 October 2019

Mark Byrne MCCP

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role.

A graduate of COMAD in 1995, I am the Culture & Strategy Director at MCCP. We are an independent strategy agency providing a range of proprietary strategy services including: brand and communications strategy, primary research and analysis, trend watching, innovation programme development (front-end & idea generation) and purpose driven culture transformation.

In my role as Culture Director, we partner organisations who want to create a unified purpose and aligned mission for everyone, which enables sustainable growth. Over the past decade organisations have placed a big emphasis on driving operational effectiveness. People and culture are central to this process. 

Culture goes much deeper than performance however, it is the oil in the strategy engine. Culture or ‘the way we do things around here’ can help to either deliver or inhibit strategy.

Today, culture has become a modern-day business imperative that leads to a 20-30% differential in performance, according to the HBR. Based on world class research from Harvard and IESE school of business, and with international partners, we have a powerful set of tools and culture change methodologies called Management by Missions, with shared mission at the centre.

In my civilian life, I am married to Nuala, with three wonderful children who teach me something new every day.


Why did you choose a career in marketing?

Like most students doing the Leaving Cert, I’m not sure I had a clear picture of what a career in marketing could look like. But I did have an interest in communications and a curiosity about how people made decisions. Marketing also offered me a wide diversity of roles. Looking back, I have spent almost all of my career on the agency side which has meant a huge variety of projects, clients, challenges and successes, and I’m grateful for all of this.


In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge marketers are facing today? How would you tackle it?

Almost all organisations and businesses have a service component to their offer. While the brand and marketing communications set expectations, there is often a ‘say-do’ gap at the point of service delivery. Frontline staff are either unaware of or unengaged with the brand promise being made. Brand owners spend time and care crafting the right message, without acculturating the brand into front line staff behaviours. We have found that from the shop floor up, staff needed to “buy into” the brand purpose to align their day-to-day actions with what is being promised to customers.

Make no mistake, embedding the brand into the culture of your organisation is not a simple, easy fix. It requires time and commitment from everyone in the organisation, from the CEO down. From working with a wide range of clients, some key points we have learned include 

  • Build the brand from the inside out. From proposition development to communications launch and roll out, staff who will deliver the brand experience should have a role in co-creating the brand. If staff cannot support the promise being made in communications, the brand is destined to failure
  • In addition to a sense of brand ownership, staff need to be able to link on-brand attitudes with rewards and recognition, it’s not just “what you do”, but “how you do it” that counts
  • Staff need clear, consistent and regular communication about what is expected of them and their role in delivering a branded experience for customers
  • Leadership in the organisation need to “walk the talk” and role model actions and behaviours. If leadership can’t do this, why should we expect modestly paid front-line staff to follow?


What advice would you give to someone starting a career in marketing?

Get experience in a variety of fields; sales, communications, PR, digital, research, strategy and so on. Learn the fundamental and practical principles of each, they will stand to you later.

Find a mentor outside your employer who will help develop your thinking and read widely. Find a sponsor inside your employer, it isn’t always your line manager, and heed their advice and guidance.


What makes a great marketer?

The focus to cut through the noise of data and identify the insight that is actionable. The intelligence to make the business case internally and get the whole organisation on side. The self-awareness to understand that you need a great team of colleagues and support agencies around you and finally the courage to act on that initial, focused insight.


What is your favourite marketing campaign of all time? Why?

Not very original, I know, but Guinness Swimmer from the early 2000’s has always stuck with me.


It would have been a hard act to follow the perennial best ad of all time, ‘Surfer’, however this build on the core idea of ‘Good Things Come to Those Who Wait’, has a wry, human, sense of humour and personality.


Where do you look for professional inspiration?

I read as widely as time will allow; fiction, biography, politics and business all have something we can learn from, even if it is how not to do things! 
My colleagues all come to MCCP with different skills, standpoints and mindsets. We work in a very collaborative manner and I am always pleasantly surprised by what diversity of perspective, carefully curated and rigorously interrogated, can produce.


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How to Convert that Sale using Customer Personas

Posted By Gemma Costello, Wednesday 2 October 2019
Updated: Tuesday 1 October 2019

convert sales with personas

How do you define a good marketing strategy? And what makes a marketing strategy the kind that delivers results? The starting point for any marketing strategy is knowing your customer. According to Philip Kotler, the man commonly known as ‘the Father of Modern Marketing,’  

"The aim of selling is to satisfy a customer need;
the aim of marketing is to figure out this need."

Understanding the needs and wants of your customers is a crucial part of marketing. Developing customer personas that illustrate the traits, characteristics and common buying behaviour of your typical customers is equally crucial. Only then will you be able to tailor your marketing strategy so that you will be able to fulfil those needs and wants with your brand promise. 


Develop your Customer Persona

Take the hotel industry, for example, a hotel which operates as a wedding venue could draw up a customer persona of a bride to be as follows:

Name: Sorcha Walsh

Age: 30

Profession: Physiotherapist 

Income: €45K per annum

Lives: Stillorgan, Co. Dublin

Likes: partying with her friends, outdoor BBQ’s, getting her hair and make up done, having massages, spending quality time with her Mother and two sisters at the Spa, relaxing with her fiancée over dinner and a glass of wine in the evenings, going for walks in the countryside, getting away from the city for weekends, playing Ladies GAA, going to concerts.

Dislikes: being stuck in traffic, queuing for groceries, noisy neighbours, hospital canteen food, dislikes slow download speeds on mobile websites.

Online behaviour: owns an iPhone, iPad and Windows laptop. Uses her iPhone to book tickets on the Ticketmaster app. Heavy Facebook/Instagram user.

Ideal wedding: Civil Ceremony and reception held in a castle, 170 guests, Wedding venue must have a spa for pre and post wedding pampering and relaxation treatments and extensive outdoor gardens for the guests to enjoy. A BBQ will be held at the same venue on the second day of the wedding for the guests. The wedding venue should be a self-contained destination of at least 4-star rating.


Steps to Conversion

Based on the above Customer Persona, how would you tailor your marketing strategy to convince Sorcha Walsh to book her wedding with you? According to the typical Irish couple spend almost €13K on their wedding venue, and Sorcha seems like the kind of bride to be to spend upwards of that figure on her own special day - so how would you reel her in?

Daniel Knowlton writing in states that the first step in the customer journey is ‘awareness’, followed by ‘consideration’ and then if the offer is compelling enough, this step is followed by ‘purchase.’


Targeted Facebook Advertising?

So, to begin with, let’s home in on the fact that Sorcha is a ‘heavy Facebook/Instagram user,’ this is where she is most likely to be found online. She is also keen on spending time with her Mother and two sisters at the Spa. Why not target her demographic with Facebook advertising suggesting your venue as a wedding venue with a video advert that showcases all of the features that you offer such as a spa, extensive grounds, 4 star venue and catering in a compelling, cinematic video that tells the story of the perfect wedding experience?


Facebook Video Advert Case Study - Wedding Park

Or why not take inspiration from Japanese website Wedding Park which promotes a database of wedding venues in Japan. Their Creative Agency designed video ads for Facebook in vertical formats designed to fill the aspect ratios of mobile screens. They did this because they knew that most of their target audience would be viewing their Facebook feeds on mobile. How did they target their prospective customers? They cleverly ‘told the story’ of a bride to be in their video ad ‘demonstrating the joys of wedding planning placing special emphasis on the venue decorations and other aspects of the event setup.’ 


Results of the Campaign – increase in click throughs and conversion

Based on the click throughs from the first advert, they created a custom audience and ran a retargeting campaign to target these ‘warm leads,’ with a second video ad designed for conversion. According to Facebook, ‘The 2-phase campaign achieved higher click-through rate and conversion rate than would have been possible with a standalone conversion campaign,’ for Wedding Park.


What story will you tell?

Storytelling appears to be the hook that led to the high conversion rate for Wedding Park’s Facebook video advert, so why not make it personal and tell the story of  ‘the proposal’, the wedding planning, the choice of venue (yours) culminating in the excitement of the perfect wedding at your venue in your own video advert? The key to a successful Facebook video advertising campaign is to tell the story of the perfect wedding in your video advert. Not only that but you should also continue that message on your website and social media channels so that your brand messaging is perfectly aligned across all online channels. Equally as with any social media campaign, your customer service staff should be fully briefed on the campaign so that they can handle any enquiries in such a way that reflects the authenticity of the perfect wedding venue story you are trying to tell.


How to influence the bride to be’s final decision

Sorcha may see the advert and put your venue on her shortlist to research further.  She may visit your venue for a meeting with your Wedding Co-ordinator with her Fiancée to discuss their requirements for their wedding. During the meeting, your Wedding Co-ordinator might ask her if she’d like to sign up to receive special offers from your hotel on your website via email. While she is making up her mind about her final choice for her wedding, she may see an email from your hotel with a special offer for your Spa and decide to visit your Spa with her Mother and two sisters to get a feel for your venue before she makes her final decision. This Spa visit is a crucial opportunity for your venue to impress her with your service, quality of your treatments and overall ambience of your venue. Every touchpoint with your staff is - to coin Jan Carlzon’s phrase (former CEO of Scandavian Airlines)  ‘a moment of truth.’ 


Why a CRM is so important

So how do your staff recognise that Sorcha is a Bride to be who could potentially bring wedding business to your venue when she arrives at your Spa with her Mother and two sisters? This is where your CRM or Customer Relationship Management System kicks into touch. One of the problems many businesses face who do not currently own a CRM, is that they don’t have a single view of their customer capturing all of the touchpoints your staff has with that customer online and offline. So many businesses today suffer from the problem of having data on the same customer exist in multiple silos across the organisation. The right hand literally doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. 

If your venue, however, operates a CRM to manage your relationships with your customers, your Wedding Co-ordinator will have updated Sorcha Walsh’s account on the CRM after her meeting with her and recorded her as a warm Sales Lead. Then when Sorcha’s booking comes through to the Spa Manager, the Spa Manager will see that Sorcha is considering booking the venue for her wedding and that pre and post wedding treatments at the Spa are intended to be part of the package.


Delivering a Superior Spa Experience – to close the deal

The Spa Manager can then ensure that her best therapists are available for Sorcha’s and her Mother and sisters’ treatments when they arrive and perhaps offer them a complimentary glass of Prosecco to make them feel especially welcome. Equally offering a tasteful bowl of chocolate dipped strawberries to Sorcha and her Mother and sisters would go a long way towards making them feel extra special - and crucially make Sorcha more inclined to consider your venue as the ultimate venue for her wedding.

Sorcha Walsh may exist in your imagination as a Marketer in the form of a customer persona, but if you develop her persona accurately enough she may well represent thousands of potential brides to be across the country who could be interested in booking your venue for their special day. Understanding what is important to these brides to be and their future husbands when it comes to planning their big day is the secret to effective targeting – when you know what their needs and wants are and their typical traits and behaviour, you will know how and where to target them. That’s when you’ll close the deal.


Gemma Costello

About the author

Gemma Costello is a marketing specialist currently working in the tourism industry and has published widely, including internationally, on the subjects of sales and marketing, business development and digital marketing/social media.

Twitter: @GemmaCostello4


Tags:  personas 

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