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  • Article
    Here are five rules you NEED to live by in your marketing efforts. see more

    Author and marketing genius Steve Cone was at dinner and sitting next to him was the director of marketing for Harley Davidson. Steve asked him why Harley was the premium brand in the world of motorcycles, year after year.

    He responded,“We allow overweight middle-aged white guys to dress up in leather on the weekends and ride a Harley through small towns and villages scaring the hell out of the locals.”

    How’s that for a brand promise? After all, branding is the art of differentiating yourself from everyone else and Harley “owns” this brand. Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda and all the other motorcycles out there just blend together as a collection of crotch rockets. Harley, however, stands alone in the marketplace as the premium brand.

    What’s your niche?

    One of our favorite books, and marketing go-to, is Steve Cone’s “Steal These Ideas: Marketing Secrets That Will Make You A Star.”

    Here are another five 'gold-standard' marketing rules you need to live by in your marketing efforts:

    1)   The three hidden ingredients in every winning marketing campaign include:

    1. Excitement
    2. News
    3. A compelling call to action

    2)   The whole point of any promotion is to:

    1. Get noticed
    2. Solicit a response

    3)   A successful brand inspires you to:

    1. Notice it
    2. Love it
    3. Remember it forever and ever
    4. Evoke emotion: even hate or fear!

    4)   Truly great brands have four qualities in common, they are:

    1. Inspirational
    2. Indispensable
    3. Dependable
    4. Totally Unique

    5)   Differentiating your product requires:

    1. A compelling and truly unique selling proposition
    2. Strong visual brand imagery
    3. An innovative and reliable offering
    4. Memorable and integrated advertising

    Take a look at your ads, your brochures, the front page of your website and run them down this checklist. Do they fulfill the requirements listed above? If not, don’t panic, you’re not alone. That’s the real problem – most communities do what everyone else is doing. Now you know why ninety-seven percent of community marketing efforts are ineffective. Yes, 97%!

    Now, go out and get Steve Cone’s book and learn HOW to do it right. It’s only $20 (or less) and it’ll pay for itself within the few hours it takes to read.

    Now, where did I park my Harley?

  • Article
    A full ninety-seven percent of ALL destination marketing and advertising is ineffective. see more

    The oft-quoted quip goes something like this: “I know that half my advertising dollars are wasted. The problem is I don’t know which half.”

    Truth be told, when it comes to community-related marketing efforts, a full ninety-seven percent of ALL destination marketing and advertising IS ineffective. That’s right 97%. Think city, county, state, province, region, or even a country. Billions are spent every year trying to attract new residents, business investment, economic development and tourism. And billions are wasted every year because the message is mundane, overused, and just like that of everyone else.

    If you want to create destination marketing messages that stick, start by memorizing these three words: JETTISON THE GENERIC. If your message can fit anyone, toss it and start over.

    Here are 40 words and phrases you need to avoid, at all costs, in your destination marketing efforts:

    • Explore
    • Discover
    • Unique (so overused it’s come to mean “just like everyone else”)
    • Four season destination
    • Fun for the whole family
    • Naturally fun (anything with the word “natural” in it)
    • Something for everyone (have you ever gone anywhere because they had something for everyone?)
    • Outdoor recreation (name a place that doesn’t have this)
    • Unlike anywhere else
    • So much to see and do
    • Where the seasons come to life
    • Historic downtown
    • Center of it all (have you ever gone anywhere because it was the center of anything?)
    • Best kept secret
    • We have it all
    • Experience…
    • Visit (name of destination)
    • Beauty and heritage
    • Gateway (a gateway is something you pass through to go somewhere else)
    • Close to it all
    • Right around the corner
    • Your playground
    • So much history
    • So much to offer
    • The place for all ages
    • … and so much more
    • Home away from home
    • A slice of heaven
    • It’s all right here
    • Recreation unlimited
    • The perfect getaway (or place)
    • The place for families
    • Start your vacation here
    • Recreational paradise
    • Take a look!
    • A great place to live, work and play (the most overused slogan in the world)
    • Location, location, location
    • Open for business
    • Your adventure place (anything with the word adventure in it)
    • Unique shops & restaurants

    Could all of these apply to you? Could these fit virtually anyone anywhere? No wonder our messages are falling on deaf ears.

    Roger was speaking in Wisconsin at the state tourism conference and showed this list of words and phrases to about 1,100 attendees. After his opening keynote a woman came up to him, smiled, and sheepishly shared “I think we’re using all of those.”

    If you are using any of these, it’s not that you’re doing anything wrong, but you are doing what everyone else is doing. We are typically exposed to 5,000 marketing messages a day. If you want to have resonating marketing, you have to ask yourself the following questions: How do you stand out from the crowd? How do you get noticed? What differentiates you?