Friday, March 11, 2011
Day in and day out, people are bombarded with messages.
There is no way to evaluate and act on all these messages
so we pick and choose between them. This makes the choice
of promotional tools extremely important.
There are four main promotional tools: advertising,
personal selling, sales promotion, and publicity. The
following table gives examples of each tool along with
advantages and disadvantages of each.
Development of Promotional Strategy:
Developing an effective promotional strategy demands more
than just being aware of the tools of promotion. Promotion
is an ongoing process that requires much planning. A
strategy is simply a careful plan. The effectiveness of
your strategy depends on more than how much money you put
into it. Effectiveness results from the thoroughness of
your planning and the consistency with which you carry it
out. The following nine steps outline an easy to follow
procedure for developing an effective promotional
STEP 1-FIGURING OUT WHO YOU ARE
Establishing Your Identity
When people talk about developing a promotional image,
they often forget about first developing their identity.
Identity and image are not synonymous. Identity is what
you really are. Image is how others see you. This is an
important distinction because how you see yourself may not
be how you are seen by the public.
To manage how others see you, first clarify your identity.
You can then project it in such a strong way that identity
and image are the same. To accomplish this step, make a
list of all your characteristics including such things as
facilities, location, price, and attractions (see
Extension bulletin E-1957 to learn how to do this).
STEP 2-DECIDING ON YOUR PRODUCT
Developing a Theme
the list of characteristics that make up your identity
will be a long one. You cannot and should not promote all
of these characteristics. You need to decide on what part
of your identity you want to promote. This will be the
theme for your promotional strategy.
A theme is the one main idea, or message you want to
communicate with your promotional efforts. The theme must
be intimately tied to your identity. To determine a theme,
ask yourself the following questions. "What is there about
my facility that would be appealing to visitors?" 'What
can I tell them that would make them want to come and
visit us?" "What makes my facility unique?"
STEP 3-DECIDING WHO YOU WANT TO ATTRACT
Identifying Your Target Audience
Deciding on your identity and theme is the foundation for
your strategy. Build on this foundation by deciding on who
you want to reach. You must decide on and contact your
target audience, those people you want to reach with your
information. Do you want to attract local or non-local
visitors? Repeat or first-time visitors? Families or
singles? Young or old?
Deciding on who you want to attract is important. To reach
your target audience, you must identify their needs and
how they obtain information about recreation and tourism
opportunities. (See Extension bulletin E-1940 for more on
Different groups have different needs. Senior citizens
have different needs than do young adults. Handicappers
have different needs than do non-handicappers. When you
are developing your message you should address some of
Different groups also get information from different
sources. Some groups get information through informal
sources, such as past visitors or local people. Others go
through formal sources such as travel agencies. Some
choose personal sources, such as friends or neighbors,
while others will go through non-personal sources, such as
reading every brochure they see. Identifying these sources
of information is important so that you can find your
target audience and distribute your information directly
STEP 4-WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH WITH YOUR STRATEGY
Establishing Your Objectives
Before going any further, decide what you want to
accomplish with your promotional strategy. This means
establishing objectives that are very specific based on
what you want the outcome of your strategy to be.
Objectives should have the following characteristics:
1. They should identify who you are trying to reach.
2. They should state how much change you want to
accomplish through your promotion.
3. They should state how much time it will take to
accomplish your objectives.
4. They should state what you want people to do because of
Some examples of objectives:
* Increase visitation of tent campers by 10% over the next
* Increase Detroit residents' awareness of the
charter-boat industry by 10% this year.
* Increase total sales to out-of-state travelers by 25%
* Increase total roadside farm produce sales by 15% over
the growing season.
STEP 5-ACTUALLY GETTING YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS
Developing Your Message Content
An important part of your content is your theme. Do not
try to get across two or more ideas in the same message.
This does not work, and will hinder your message. All
information in your message must center on your theme.
Your theme has to bind your message together. Keeping the
content centered on your theme will also help limit the
amount of information you present. This will help keep
your message short and to the point.
There are two types of information that you can use:
informative and persuasive. Informative messages tell
people something without regard to their response.
Persuasive information tries to convince people to do
There are also two types of persuasive information. The
first type, rational persuasive information, uses logical
arguments based on supportive evidence. The second type,
motivational persuasive information, appeals to people's
needs and desires.
STEP 6-DECIDING HOW TO SAY IT
Developing Your Message Structure
Putting your message together is called message structure.
How it is put together depends on what type of information
you are using. For persuasive messages, it will depend on
whether you are using rational or motivational
A rational message has three parts. The first part is the
claim of the message. This is what you want people to
believe is true of you. The second part is the evidence,
or facts, that you use to support your claim. The third
part is the warrant. The warrant is a general hypothetical
statement that ties the evidence and the claim together.
It is the "glue" that holds the message together and helps
it makes sense.
With rational messages, you need to decide if you want to
use a one-sided argument or a two-sided argument. A
one-sided argument only presents the pro side of the
argument, while a two-sided argument presents both sides.
Which one you use will depend on which one meets your
needs and the type of audience. Generally, one-sided
arguments are better with audiences already favorable to
your message. Two-sided arguments are best with audiences
who are opposed to your argument, are better educated or
have already been exposed to counter arguments.
For motivational messages, there are two parts: the claim
and the appeal. Again, the claim is what you want people
to believe is true of you. The appeal is a statement aimed
at your audience's particular needs or desires to motivate
them to do what you want.
When using rational or motivational messages, make sure
the promotional tool you are using is credible with your
audience. This is especially true if you are using a
spokesperson. Your spokesperson must be competent and
trustworthy in the eyes of your audience. He/she should be
likeable and appear to fit in with your message.
Informational messages are different from persuasive
messages. For them, organization is the key. Since this is
an informative message, all your information needs to be
presented in a logical and orderly manner.
Finally, whether using informative or persuasive messages,
there is one problem that always arises where to place
your punch line, the key to your message. This will depend
on the type of audience you have. If you have a captive
audience and a lot of time, place it at the end of your
message as a climax. If your audience is non-captive,
place the punch line at the beginning of your message to
get and keep their attention.
STEP 7-DECIDING HOW TO PRESENT IT
Developing Your Message Format
Formatting your message is the next step. Format refers to
how your message will appear to people when you distribute
it. The media or the method used to convey your message
will determine your format.
The number of types and combinations of media available to
use are almost endless. You are only limited by your
imagination. Examples include television, radio,
employees, community calendars, and newspaper feature or
human interest stories. A good way to decide what you want
to use is to look at what others are already using. Take
any ideas that you like and adapt them to your format, but
do not directly copy them and make sure that you are
adapting the ideas to your needs.
Second, learn the good and bad points of various media,
including their limitations. Find out what best suits your
needs and what will allow you to meet your audience's
needs. Finally, check to see what will be most
cost-effective (see Extension bulletin E-2005).
Once you select the media you want to use, the actual
message must be put together. Pay close attention to the
nonverbal aspects of the message. Things such as graphics,
color selection, type style and size will have a big
effect on how people perceive your message. It is
important that these things relate to your theme, message,
and audience for the maximum effect.
Finally, your message must be united. Each part of your
message must relate directly to your theme.
STEP 8-TAKING YOUR MESSAGE TO YOUR AUDIENCE
Choosing Your Delivery System
Most businesspeople in the tourism industry would agree
that coming up with a good promotional message is only
half the battle. The other half is getting your message to
your target audience. Thus, the delivery system you choose
is very important.
A delivery system is how you distribute your message and
your media. There are two types of delivery systems. The
first type is the formal delivery system, one that you
plan to use or in which you have control over the content
of the message, such as television, radio, newspapers,
newsletters, and catalogs. The second type is the informal
delivery system. An informal delivery system is one that
you do not have control over, such as word-of-mouth,
friends, family members, and repeat visitors.
Whether formal or informal, each system is composed of a
message and the media that is used to present it. Many
times your choice of media goes with your delivery system
(promotional ads in newspapers, for instance). With some
forms of media, such as brochures and exhibits, this is
not always the case.
Many times people overlook how they intend to distribute
their brochure or display their exhibit. Know in advance
how you will use these items. Overlooking how you intend
to distribute any kind of media can cause it to become
Finally, different audiences obtain information from
different media. A thorough understanding of what media
your target audience uses is essential to distribute your
STEP 9-HOW IS IT GOING?
Creating and implementing a promotional strategy can drain
your resources if you do not regularly evaluate the
strategy to see how effectively it is working. This is
where your objectives come in handy. To evaluate your
strategy you need only to determine whether you have made
progress in meeting your established objectives.
Generally, it is good to wait one year after implementing
your strategy to see if it works because promotional
effects can be cumulative. Always be ready to make
first, remember that promotion is a process. The nine
steps outlined here are guides to develop an effective
promotional strategy. The process is the same whether you
are promoting a business, community, or region.
Second, remember that the only promotional strategy worth
anything is the one that is cost-effective. Know your
budget and understand the resources available so that you
do not create a "monster" that uses resources but does not
return visitor dollars.
Third, this bulletin is to give you an idea of what is
involved in developing an effective promotional strategy.
More detailed information on developing themes, traveler
information networks, tourism information systems, and on
selecting promotional media are found in other bulletins
in this series. If you are serious about developing a
promotional strategy, order or pick these up today. Good luck….