PART 1 of 2- Protecting Your Media Dollars:

Making the Shift

What a busy month! Memorial Day has come and gone and the 2013 Simpleview Summit is a wrap. And as with every summit it was nice to see some old friends and learn some new things along the way (yes, even the employees learn at Summit!). Since I had a free moment to finally catch my breath, I thought I would share a bit of what was discussed during the leadership track presentation on Tuesday.

As this fiscal year is coming to a close (for most of you) and you start to fine-tune your marketing budgets and media plans, it should be no secret that the vast majority of online travelers are still using the internet to research and plan their travel - in comes the DMO. According to a 2012 Google study* 83% of leisure travelers and 76% of business travelers plan their trips online. Interestingly, the study also shows leisure travelers prefer using search engines to any other medium. And although the overwhelming majority of travelers use search engines to plan and book their trips, there is still a huge disparity related to DMOs' online media spend versus traditional advertising. Even with the stats I just mentioned it seems that many DMOs still over-allocate media dollars to conventional channels such as TV and print. Don't get me wrong, in no way am I saying that traditional advertising is dead, but it should be used instead to compliment your digital strategy and not be your ONLY strategy.

We're in a new era of advertising, and have been for a while. It's where the DMO needs to start shifting more of their budgets away from traditional advertising and begin putting a bigger chunk into digital. Hopefully, you've already seen this coming and have planned accordingly. I'll be the first to tell you that seeing your ad in a magazine or on a commercial is really cool, but as you know, cool doesn't always drive results. You can do the same and even more with digital (and it's pretty cool as well).

So, what does this mean for you?

Well, a lot actually. Each year you start out with your pile of marketing money and goals and you have to decide how you're going to market with it. How much goes here and how much goes there. As you start to do that, this time around I want you to be aware of five reasons why you need to make the shift now (if you haven't already):

First - Speed:
One of the main reasons for shifting is the reach and speed of digital. You're able to target very specific large audiences in a very short time span.
Newspapers, magazines and even visitor guides have limited shelf lives. Web is available 24/7 to millions of people and more importantly the people your message needs to be in front of.

Next - Flexibility:
Digital provides great flexibility. Once the magazine is printed you're stuck with the layout, placement and creative messaging. You cannot easily adjust to data or make the quick moves you can with digital. Digital provides instant feedback that you can act on. You can tweak messaging, placements and creative all on the fly at a much lower cost.

Who Doesn't Love Lower Costs?
Many online channels are based on CPC, or cost per click, and CPM, or cost per impression, models. Some offer both. This means you only pay when someone clicks the ad or visits a site with your ad showing on it. These savings allows you to diversify. The ultimate goal of advertising is to generate revenue quickly so every dollar you save can be channeled into getting your message out to more people faster, and even better, to get them to convert.

Finally - There's More Reach and Relevance:
Print in most cases has limited reach. For example, a magazine only reaches those who have purchased it and many times those people may or may not be interested in what you have to offer. Since your ads should be placed only on relevant sites, or for PPC during relevant searches, your ads will most likely show to people who in some way are interested in your offering.

So, what percentage of your marketing budgets are going to online advertising? Is it 20%, 30% 40% or more? I'd love to know so please share your comments below.

In PART 2 we'll discuss how you can protect your media dollars when making that bigger shift into digital.