• RBI Clients posted an article
    Here are the five reasons PR should be the top priority see more

    “You build your brand through public relations. Advertising is used to maintain your ownership position.”

    These words, written by the famous branding guru, Al Ries, are more important today than ever before..

    Destination marketing organizations constantly wonder how to successfully tell the world their community exists and that they are worth a special trip. Should they use advertising or Public Relations? Or maybe a combination of both?

    We believe you should do both, but PR clearly takes priority over advertising. Here are the five reasons PR should be the top priority:

    #1 - Your brand is built through PR

    A brand is what people think of you. It is your unique selling proposition. When you tell people where you’re from, what do they say? What is their perception? Whatever their response, that is your “brand”—the perception they have of you. And that perception is formed by what other people say, what they read about your community, and what they see on social media or in the news.

    Social media is a BIG part of public relations. PR includes print (articles written about you), broadcast (what is being said on television or radio), and social media (blogs, vlogs, online reviews, photo sites, and conversations on social media sites).

    Public relations should be priority number one when it comes to promoting your unique selling proposition—what you want to be known for. 

    #2 - PR provides a BIG return on Investment

    For every dollar you spend on public relations you'll see $3 in earned media. Earned media is what it would cost if you were to purchase that space in the form of advertising.

    #3 - Articles versus ads

    Articles are read more than four times that of ads, whether in print, online, or on any other media. People will generally look at an ads for only a few seconds, but they will spend several minutes or longer reading an article about you; particularly when it’s from a third-party viewpoint providing an honest, unbiased opinion. 

    #4 - Social media speeds up the brand-building process

    When it comes to brand building, what used to take 20 years or more can now be accomplished in just three to five years. That is the power of social media in this “always on” world. We can find anybody, anywhere, instantly online, and so you have the power to create widely available content and stories that will build and promote your brand—what it is you want to be known for.

    #5 - People trust third-party recommendations

    The problem with advertising is that it's self-proclaimed. When you're marketing your destination or business, you tell people how great you are. Only 15% will believe that what you say is actually true, but when it comes from a third-party, it’s believed 85% of the time. This is why the third-party reviews posted to TripAdvisor have made it the most used travel website in the world. Travelers want to know what others think of you. That’s PR.

    The bottom line: Public Relations should be your top marketing priority whether you have a staff person dedicated to the effort or you contract it out. And remember, this is “public relations,” meaning both social media AND traditional media.

    All the best with your public relations journey!

  • An example of taking the experience from great to unforgettable see more

    When you can “evoke emotion” you’ll never be forgotten. And it increases the value of the experience. As long as it’s safe!

    Mounted to the face of a sheer cliff 3,900 feet from the valley floor (1,180 meters), and nearly 900 feet long (266 meters), is a glass walkway that has a little extra zing, making an already terrifying experience one you’ll never forget. And, in the process, it creates a social media frenzy. This one-minute video has been seen by nearly ten million viewers. Now that’s an amazing marketing program that didn’t cost a dime!


    Hang on to your chair and watch this one in full-screen mode. Then make your reservations for an experience you will NEVER forget.


  • Christina Lenkowski posted an article
    Learn 5 important steps for this new age of destination PR see more

    This is a guest blog, written by Christina Lenkowski, DDA Member and owner of Sparrow Travel Media, a public relations portal that is extraordinarily useful for organizations that can’t afford contracting or hiring an in-house PR professional. Here she offers some great advice!

    It used to be that the term “PR” could really apply to two things; public relations or press releases. In fact, just a short while ago, the two were pretty much interchangeable. But times, they are a-changing.

    Nowadays I still see many tourism organizations write up a press release for travel ideas, an event or award, and then send it out to the same old media list and expect a different reaction… what is the definition of insanity again?

    Bottom line: just sending a press release no longer works (and if you’ve been paying a company to send out a press release on your behalf… stop). It’s hard to adjust because many of us were trained in this way, but taking a different view of media relations will yield you so much more of the media attention you crave, and that your destination deserves.

    It’s time to try something different. Take a few minutes and think about what makes your destination unique; perhaps you have an annual event that isn’t your generic “harvest festival” or “4th of July parade”? Or maybe an anchor attraction that visitors just love? Perhaps a niche museum? Whatever that “thing” is, write it down and write why it’s special. Heck, you may find that your area has more than one!

    Now it’s time to do some research on the media outlets you want to tell this story (also known as a pitch) to. Remember that these publications are typically working 6-9 months in advance, so time your pitch accordingly.

    1. Make a list of 8-10 magazines that have the kind of audience you really think you could resonate with, and that you’d love to see your destination featured in in the next year.
    2. Check out their online edition (or head to the library or bookstore) to get your hands on information such as topics/features they have in each issue, as well as editor name (either travel editor or managing editor).
      • Many times, the editor contact info won’t be readily available and you’ll need to do some research. I recommend calling the publication and asking whomever answers for that specific contact’s email address. This yields quicker results than emailing a generic info@ email box.
    3. Find and download each publication’s editorial calendar/media kit (usually housed in advertising section–you may have to email them for it). In the editorial calendar you will be able to see what the magazine is focusing on every edition, and if your destination makes sense to pitch (i.e. “Surprising Winter Getaways,” “Ski Mountains Not on Your Radar,” etc.). If it does, fantastic!
    4. If you don’t feel like there is a direct correlation between your destination and an ed cal topic, you can always generally pitch too. Create a story idea that really makes sense for their readers. You are never bothering an editor if you are presenting them with a well though-out pitch at the right time of year.
    5. Email each publication’s editor with their individualized story idea, and follow up a week later.

    If you follow these steps, you will be well on your way to securing more coverage! Publicity takes time, but is well worth the payoff – I have seen destinations transformed by one or two major media pieces.

    And if you’re a member of Sparrow Travel Media, steps 2 and 3 are taken care of for you with our up-to-date media lists and editorial calendars, saving you a ton of time. We also have sample pitches to make life easier when getting started. Roger and the Destination Development team recently did a whole webinar on how Sparrow can save you so much time and money. Check it out below.

    We even offer a free live training to expand on the tips above, click here to sign up!

    Just remember that the media doesn’t want any more press releases, they want story ideas—and you have them!

    Christina Lenkowski

    Sparrow Travel Media






    Sparrow Travel Media Webinar - A great tool to up your PR game

  • See how Squamish, BC is catching the attention of investors see more

    Located midway between the City of North Vancouver and Whistler Resort in Western British Columbia is a town that, not very long ago, was as red-neck as it could be. Once a home to logging and mining companies, this town of 20,000 residents is now the youngest city in Canada and is on the cutting edge of “recreational technologies.”

    Just ten years ago, most of the waterfront was used for logging operations, but now this land is being marketed to investment firms and businesses for the creation of an incredible mixed-use village.

    To market it, the city produced this video, which is one of the best we’ve ever seen. For the first time in North American history, jobs are going where the talent is – or wants to be. Squamish is one of those places and this video shows that, making it obvious that this is a great investment opportunity.


  • Are your tourism ads good enough to close the sale? see more

    If you start your tourism ad with your logo and tag line, who you are, where you are, or what it is you are trying to promote, your tactics are dead wrong. The problem? You haven’t told us WHY we should buy from you or visit you, nor is there a call to action. No wonder 97% of tourism print advertising is ineffective!

    Below are two sample full-page tourism ads with seven numbers on them (Number three is missing on the second one) and each number is in order of importance.
































    #1. The first and most important element is one single signature illustration (or photo) that will evoke an instant emotional response: fear, awesomeness, radical, a “wow” moment, or sublime. It tells the reader “ Wow! I want to go there!” or “I want that!” or, at least, a “What?” pulling them further in.

    #2. The “header,” or primary headline, is next. Here’s how tourism print ads work: the viewer will notice the photo or primary graphic in a second, and if it catches their attention they will read the header next – usually in the following second or two. The header, like the photo, must be enough to grab their attention. You have three seconds to pull them in. Just three seconds.

    #3. Now that you’ve grabbed their attention, you move them to the “sub-head” or follow-up sentence. This is the call to action. The goal: to make the reader want to know more. At this point you’ve held their attention for a whopping four to five seconds. The graphic image, the header, and sub-head MUST be good enough to pull the reader into the body text – your main paragraph.

    #4. The body text must get to the point in the first sentence. It must tell the reader WHY they need what it is you have to offer. Don’t tell me WHO you are, WHAT you are selling, or WHERE you are. Tell me WHY and that will pull me further into the text. The goal is to get the reader to log on or call for more information.

    #5. Now that you’ve pulled them into your ad, here is where you say, “by the way, here’s who we are” – and that’s where your logo is placed.

    #6. THEN you tell them WHERE you are: your location, or how they find you: a website address or phone number or physical address.

    #7. And last on the list is your tag line – the “anchor.” The few words that cement ownership of your brand – what it is you want to be known for. For BMW it’s the “Ultimate Driving Machine.” That’s the tag line that makes up the final exclamation point.

    Are your tourism ads good enough to close the sale?



  • Five reasons why you’re wasting 97% of your advertising budget and what to do about it. see more

    Ninety-seven percent of destination marketing is ineffective, and it isn’t because of the medium you’re using! The reason isn’t because of National Geographic Traveler, Leisure +Travel, or Southern Living Magazine. It’s NOT a reflection on your digital advertising, television, radio or billboards. The reason is the content you’re giving them! 

    Here are the five reasons why you’re wasting 97% of your advertising budget and what to do about it.

    Reason #1: Trying to be all things to all people
    We're going to keep harping on this subject until you change your ways! Look at your ads. If your headline and the photography (or art) you use could fit just about anyone in your market, toss it and start over. Readers, viewers or listeners will give you four seconds to pull them in. If your message is generic, you will lose them instantly. If your ad starts with “One of the top 5 mountain biking destinations in the world,” and that quote is attributed to Biking Magazine, it may not draw us in if we're not a mountain biking enthusiast, but if we are, you just got our attention, big time. NARROW YOUR FOCUS!

    What to do: Join our association and download our “Words & Phrases to Avoid” poster and give copies to your marketing agency, graphic design agency and anyone charged with marketing your hotel, B&B, community, museum or attraction.

    If your marketing focus can fit anyone else in your market area, toss it and start over.

    Reason #2: Marketing place before experience
    We have the world at our fingertips – every community, lodging facility, and business – in a fraction of a second via the web. But we don’t search for places first, we search for experiences first and THEN the area or city. We search for “Best Italian restaurant, central Pennsylvania,” or “mountain biking trails, Southern Utah.” In your advertising and on printed materials always SELL the experience first, the location second.

    What to do: The name of your community (don’t market counties!), your hotel, your guide service – your business – should be at the BOTTOM of your ad, not at the top. Utah Tourism does a great job with its headlines promoting the Mighty Five (five national parks all located in Southern Utah) with photographic experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. Then at the bottom of the ads you’re informed of what and where the parks are.

    Reason #3: Using mundane text and photography
    There’s nothing more boring than elevator music (video or radio ads), or photos of scenic vistas without a soul in sight. To win you MUST evoke emotion. If your headline is boring or generic we won’t remember it. We are drowning in advertising overload so your ads MUST be memorable. 

    What to do: Make sure you have photos of people enjoying your activities – whether in a spa, or careening down a mountainside on a bike, or reading a book in front of a cozy fire with snow falling outside. Your art should get the reader to instantly think “I want to do that!” And make sure it fits ONLY you in your marketplace.

    Reason #4: Not telling us WHY we should visit or buy from you
    Don’t tell us what you have, where you’re located, or who you are until you’ve told us WHY we should visit you. McDonald’s famous (and effective) campaign, “You deserve a break today” wasn’t about food. It was aimed at moms – they deserve a break today, so get up and get away – to McDonald’s. The most successful tourism campaign, perhaps in North American history, is Las Vegas’ “What happens here, stays here.” It’s not about what they have (entertainment, gambling) but WHY you would go there over other places.

    What to do: This one requires digging deep. Alpena, Michigan is hitting a home run with its “Sanctuary” brand based on the National Marine Sanctuary of Thunder Bay and the 54% of Americans who are dealing with stress in their lives. A water park that asks us “How loud can you scream?” will be more successful than the water park that tells us “The largest water park in Central Ohio.”

    Reason #5: Not creating a call to action
    If McDonald’s had told us, “You deserve a break, so consider heading to McDonald’s sometime,” the ad would have fallen flat. But by telling us, “You deserve a break TODAY (right now), so GET UP AND GET AWAY” (call to action), it became one of the most successful ads in company history. Nothing is worse than “Discover My Town” as the header, then a generic photo (or collage of photos) and then just a website address or phone number. There is no call to action.

    What to do: Always finish your ad with what you want people to do: “Space is limited, so call for your reservation now,” or “Log on now for the complete schedule…” or, as I’ve done in past Weekly What To Do’s: “Download your free Words & Phrases to Avoid poster.”

    What to do: To you we may be preaching to the choir. So how do you get this message to your local businesses? To your graphic design or ad agency? To other organizations also marketing your community? Join the Destination Development Association, where you get access to countless resources, including lots of video content, that go beyond what you’ll read here. Membership starts at just $250/year. You can access our resource center anytime, anywhere, and you can share the resources at meetings as well. This is the best way to get everyone on the same page, pulling in the same direction.

  • There are essential steps in increasing tourism. We can help with all of them! see more

    There are essential steps in increasing tourism. We can help with all of them!

    Step 1. Educate your stakeholders on the importance of tourism (Learn more)

    Step 2. Conduct a destination assessment (Learn more)

    Step 3. Narrow your focus and stand out from other communities (known as your unique selling proposition)

    Step 4. Develop a tourism action plan 

    Step 5. Make it happen – tourism plan implementation

    Step 6. Tell the world! (effective destination marketing)

  • In this new digital age, here is how your marketing dollars should be spent see more

    We are going to hit you with another sad fact: 88% of destination marketing organizations spend more on printed materials than they do on the Internet. Is this you? If so, you have it backwards. In this new digital age, here is how your marketing dollars should be spent:

    45% on digital marketing:
    Your website, social media, online advertising, digital guides, apps, search engine optimization, website updates, e-newsletter, video content, pay per click advertising, etc. When you plan your personal travel what is your number one resource? We’ll bet it’s the web.

    20% on advertising
    The goal should be to drive people to your website, which must be good enough to close the sale.

    20% on public relations:
    You build your brand on PR, advertising is used to maintain your ownership position of your niche in the marketplace. What is said about you is far more important than what you say about yourself. For every dollar you spend on public relations, you’ll see a $3 return in “earned media” – what it would cost if you paid for that space. Publicity is a third-party endorsement, and that carries a lot of weight! Think about the power of good reviews on TripAdvisor.

    10% on collateral materials:
    This includes your Activities Guide, other brochures, maps and printed materials, including distribution costs.

    5% of trade shows and signage:
    This includes trade shows, fairs, billboards and reader boards and other forms of marketing.

    This is a general guideline, and your destination may require some tweaking. What worked in the 1970s doesn’t work today, so break out of that mold.


    1. Take your last year’s budget and categorize your marketing as I have shown above.

    2. Then compare it. What can you do differently?

    3. Redevelop your budget so it fits into these parameters. Of course content is what closes the sale, but this will help you put your valuable resources into the right pots. Over this weekly series I’ll help you narrow these down into specifics. But the big takeaway is to spend your most precious resources on the web, not creating print guides and brochures.

    We’d love to hear from you. How are you doing with your budgets? If you have questions, let us know!

  • Do you market your location or the experience your location offers? see more

    The Internet has changed the world. These days if we want a horseback riding experience in Northern Texas, we’ll Google “horseback rides + ‘Northern Texas,’” and within a third of a second we’ll get 74,000 responses. People now search for the experience first, and the general location second.

    If we’re visiting Vancouver, British Columbia we might search for:

    • Best restaurants, downtown Vancouver
    • Greek restaurants, North Vancouver, BC
    • Job opportunities, southern BC
    • Downhill skiing, British Columbia
    • Ferry schedule, Vancouver to Victoria BC
    • Things to do, Victoria, BC
    • Wildlife viewing, British Columbia
    • Apartment rentals, Langley, BC
    • “Best hiking trails” + “Canadian Rockies”

    To be successful, you must market the experience first, and THEN your location. But the key is to make sure the experiences you’re promoting differentiate you from everyone else in your market. Every place has “outdoor recreation” and “unique shops and restaurants.”

    Have you ever gone anywhere because it was a county? And yet, county-wide marketing usually promotes the fact that they are a county, before they ever give you a reason to want to visit.

    To win you must answer this one question: What do you have that the people you are hoping to attract can’t get or do closer to home? Whatever it is, you need to hang your hat on that. You simply can’t be “all things to all people” and win in this new age of branding.

    The surefire way to kill your marketing effectiveness is marketing your downtown, town, city, county or region - your geographic location - BEFORE experiences, the things to do that make you worth a special trip, even if it’s just a ten minute drive to your downtown from the suburbs.

    So QUIT marketing your location first.  And quit marketing your organization—it should be the very last item in any ad or website. Visitors (even local residents) don’t care about the actual organization when they are trying to find things to do, places to eat, and places to stay. Sell the experience first, and then the location.


    1. Google your community name. I’ll bet you’re right at the top of the list.

    2. Now Google your top activity. If you’re an equestrian destination search for “horseback trails” and then the general area “Western Washington.” Do you show up? If not, you have some work to do. Try another primary activity such as “Micro-brew” and “Metroplex” (the Dallas/Fort Worth area and a dozen other communities). Does your website show up on the first page of search results? Try some others as well.

    Fact: 86% of search engine users never go past the second page of search results. Do you?

    3. Look at your introductory text. Does it mention the one, two, or three best activities that really set you apart and make you worth a special trip? This is where search engines get their keywords – that opening paragraph.

    4. Rewrite your introductory text to promote the top one, two or three things that really set you apart. Then reread the previous two articles to make sure you’re complying with those rules. Then post it on your home page.

    5. Consider purchasing a “pay per click” program through Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. If you have to buy your way onto the first page, then do it until the search engines pick up those key words. No one is going to find you if they look for “horseback riding, western Washington” and you’re listed on the 64th page of search results!

  • Are you doing anything to understand and entice foreign visitors? see more

    We hear a lot these days about the world shrinking as international travel becomes easier and more common. The United States and Canada both host millions of international visitors every year. But the face of international travel is constantly shifting, and it isn’t just the concern of major gateway cities anymore.

    Until 2007, Chinese travelers were forbidden by their government to travel to the U.S. In 2007 the restriction was reversed, and now a huge number of Chinese tourists are coming to America. In 2008, nearly half a million Chinese visitors came to the U.S. In 2011 that number jumped to over 1 million. The Commerce Department projects a 259% increase in Chinese visitors by 2017. And Chinese tourists are big spenders. They typically spend $6,000 per trip, the highest average of any foreign country.

    As much as 70% of Chinese visitors travel to California, but according to Haybina Hao, director of international development for the National Tour Association, there is plenty of opportunity for other destinations, if they begin to market to Chinese visitors. According to Hao, smaller communities should partner with major cities and encourage them to add excursions to their destinations on Chinese itineraries.

    Chinese travelers, like their counterparts in the US and Canada, are increasingly turning to the Internet to make travel plans. Targeting Chinese travelers could start as simply as offering Chinese translations on your website. Focusing on your brand is important as well (and not just for targeting foreign visitors!). Chinese travelers tend to seek out things that are considered “top notch” – the biggest, or the oldest, for example. Even if your community is not a major gateway city, it could hold a lure that will draw Chinese visitors.

    Being prepared for an increase in foreign visitors is important as well. Some Chinese tour groups have encountered grumbling service when they request things that Americans are unfamiliar with; something as simple as asking for their water warm, rather than ice cold, can earn them odd looks. It’s important to remember your front line staff, all through your community, are putting a face to your destination, making an impression, whether it be good or bad. Make sure people in the community are educated in some basics of handling international visitors, so everyone will feel welcome in your community.

    Foreign tourism, from China and elsewhere, provides the opportunity of injecting cash into our communities. Are you doing anything to entice foreign visitors?

  • These days, consumers are looking for things to do, not just places to go. see more

    We’ve been saying for years, we’re in a new age of marketing. When we posted about The Dinosaur Marketing Tactics Communities Won’t Let Die, we got some questions about “Visitor’s Guides” versus “Activities Guides.” It is definitely something worth elaborating on, and a lot of communities aren’t sure where to go with this type of marketing piece. Do we still need printed guides? What’s the point in calling it an Activities Guide? Is it simply the same thing with a new name?

    These days, consumers are looking for things to do, not just places to go. They want experiences rather than landmarks. Part of the reason for changing to an “Activities Guide” is simply because people respond better to the title. It tells them the guide is focused on things to do, which is primarily what they are looking for. The name tells a potential visitor that this guide is going to answer their question, “What can I DO there?”

    Within the guide, the focus remains on the available activities. Instead of structuring the guide around locations, or listings of hotels, restaurants and amenities, the content should be focused on TYPES of activities. This groups things for people to DO (remember – they want experiences) according to potential categories of interest. Chapters or sections might include:

    – Kids and family

    – Sports

    – The great outdoors/recreation

    – Photography and wildlife

    – Culinary experiences

    – Girls weekends (shopping, dining, spas, nightlife)

    – History

    – Nightlife and entertainment

    – The arts (performing, visual, artisans in action)

    Think like a travel writer! Millions of people subscribe to travel publications because they provide specifics, while communities often market themselves by providing generic lists of “things.” People are looking for experiences – things to do – so provide sample itineraries, with specific places to shop or stop for lunch or dinner, and how much time to spend at attractions. The easier you make it in this age of convenience, the more likely you’ll be to close the sale. Itineraries are huge now – as long as they aren’t too structured and allow for flexibility.

    Do you still need to print guides? Absolutely! Just not as many as in the old days. People do get much of their information online, but still like having a printed piece. We like having that booklet or brochure in our laps while we cruise in the car and explore the area. And there’s nothing quite as fun as getting a requested guide in the mail – something we can look at over dinner, in the bathroom, at a restaurant while we’re not “plugged in.” Most people don’t consume ALL of their content via a computer screen, although it’s headed that way.

    Overall, make the focus of your marketing the experiences people can get in your community (especially those things they can’t get closer to home!) Focus on what there is to DO and you’ll be speaking the consumer’s language.

  • With so many videos uploaded every minute, how does anyone manage to stand out from the crowd? see more

    Most of us can’t imagine a world without the Internet and social networking. What would we do without YouTube?! The cultural phenomenon allows anybody, anywhere the chance to become a celebrity, and there have certainly been some unlikely hits. But with 48 hours worth of video uploaded to YouTube EVERY MINUTE, how does anyone manage to stand out from the crowd? Why do YouTube videos go viral?

    Kevin Allocca, Trends Manager at YouTube, hosted a talk on TED Talks, outlining the reasons videos go viral. He outlines three major factors that contribute to a viral video: tastemakers, communities of participation, and unexpectedness.

    Tastemakers: essentially, this means people with an audience pick up on a video and spread the word. Remember “Double Rainbow?” It was a video posted months prior to going viral, but a Tweet from Jimmy Kimmel sent it into the stratosphere (pun intended). A tastemaker is someone who commands a large following; they mention it, post about it, Tweet it or otherwise bring attention to the video, others pass it on via Facebook, blogs, and Twitter, and pretty soon everyone you know is saying, “What does it meeeeeeean?”

    Communities of participation: community participation is how we become part of the phenomenon, either by spreading it or doing something new with it. Many videos inspire a myriad of parodies, remixes and copycats. This changes it from just static entertainment, to something people can be a part of through active participation. Rebecca Black’s music video, “Friday” went viral and within the first week there were parodies for every other day of the week.

    Unexpectedness: only videos that are truly unique and unexpected will be interesting enough to go viral. The ordinary doesn’t catch on; things that are surprising and/or humorous just might.

    So how can a group, business or community leverage YouTube to best effect? Is it possible to plan a viral video?

    It is, but it does require some heavy duty planning and execution. “Post and pray” won’t cut it, so stay tuned; in our next post we’ll be talking about how to go viral on YouTube, and following the path of a planned viral video.



    Ted Talks, outlining the reasons videos go viral

    Double Rainbow:

    Rebecca Black’s music video, “Friday”:


  • How is your community marketing evolving to meet the demands of a new era? see more

    Let’s face it. Everything has changed in the world of community marketing. We have the world at our fingertips in a fraction of a second via the web, yet communities still use the same old words and phrases that could fit anyone, anywhere.

    Here are the seven extinct marketing philosophies that communities just won’t let go of, and have led to 97% of all community-based marketing and advertising being ineffective. This is NOT the fault of the medium, but of community messaging – what you’re putting out there.

    How many of these are you guilty of?

    1. The days of strategic plans are going, going, gone.This is the age of Action Plans. Strategies, goals and objectives should take no more than 10 pages of a plan. The Action Plan format is a to-do list. We have short attention spans. Cut to the chase. A fifty-page well-written Action Plan will be far easier to read and implement than a 300-page plan full of fluff and generalities.

    2. The “something for everyone” marketing approach does not work. You MUST narrow your focus so you stand out from the crowd. Check out our list of “words and phrases to avoid.

    3. The shotgun approach of “bring your business here” is dead. There are nearly 30,000 cities and towns in the U.S. and Canada. Virtually all of them want your business. So why you? What makes you so special? Find your niche and then attract businesses – or visitors – that are looking for that.

    4. “Smokestack chasing” is a dinosaur approach and no longer relevant. See number three above. The industrial revolution is over. We still have industry, and it’s starting to see a comeback, but the revolution is over. We are now in a service economy. And most larger companies are consolidating, not expanding.

    5. The days of being only a Destination Marketing Organization are over. All DMO’s must now champion the cause for product development in ADDITION to marketing. The better your product, the more it sells itself. You must get into the product development game, with both feet, if you want to become an outstanding destination.

    6. Issuing Request For Proposals is a dinosaur methodology. Every consultant you hire will probably have their own methodology. So why should you tell them how you want the project done if you’re looking for their expertise? Issue a Request for Qualifications. You can do this in a page or two. Ask them what their methodology is, a sample scope of work, and have them showcase case histories, examples of their work and references. Pick the top three, interview them and if you don’t like their methodology or price, go to the next on the list.

    7. The days of Visitors Guides are slowly dying, yet every community feels they must have one. The new model: Create an Activities Guide. Just the name change says you have lots to do and that’s the reason we want the guide. Make sure its available online for both download and viewing. QR codes can take the visitor right to the guide. NOTE: You still need printed copies! But the quantities are going, down, down, and down.

    How is your community marketing evolving to meet the demands of a new era?

  • Jordan Pogue posted an article
    Anchor tenants make you worth a special trip and an extended stay. Everyone will benefit from them. see more

    In this video blog, Roger presents the rule of anchor tenants. You must have anchor tenants in your community or downtown if you want to be a destination. They make you worth a special trip and an extended stay. Everyone will benefit from them. Think Orlando and Disney World. Enjoy and apply!


  • Jordan Pogue posted an article
    From how far can you pull people into your community? see more

    In this vlog, Roger Brooks presents the Four-Times rule. This rule will determine your town's major market area. It will also determine whether or not your town can become an overnight destination. From how far can you pull people into your community? Check this out!