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1 3 key top marketing strategies for the leisure industry 1 1

2 3 key top marketing strategies for the leisure industry Welcome to our latest guide, this one focuses on marketing strategies and advice for marketers in the leisure industry. In this guide Michael Bairstow will guide you through 3 key marketing strategies you can implement to improve your leisure campaigns. Introduction The leisure industry varies extremely widely for business to business, and also has great overall importance to our economy. At the same time however it is often subject to the whims and fluctuations of that economy and political and social considerations. For example, the Digital Games industry is said to be worth one billion a year whilst the hospitality industry, tourism, hotels, etc, according to recent figures is said to be worth a staggering 114 billion. The problem is that unlike other spending by your average consumer, on basic necessities, spending in the leisure industry very much depends on disposable income, and the general availability of such income depends on the state of the economy. Consumer buying activity can therefore be inconsistent and is never guaranteed. With this in mind, in this guide I have outlined some of the strategies you should look at to gain the advantage in harvesting that disposable income. is still far and above the best medium for achieving high ROI, in general, across all sectors, achieving 50 plus return for each spent. Contrast this with this example, the award winning TV ad for Warburton Bakery which was said this year to have achieved a return of 5 for every 1 spent, another no brainer don t you think? 18 2

3 Using s to create brand identity and brand loyalty It doesn t need me to emphasise how important brand identity is to any company, inside or outside the leisure industry. What I want to do is explain how best to reinforce this identity using without it merely being an endless repetition of the company name and logo. The supermarkets Why discuss them, surely they cannot be considered a part of the leisure industry? Well yes and no. Sainsbury s has become one of the biggest sellers of books in the UK. Reading matter is hardly an essential of life, it is pretty much a leisure activity I would say. So how can we learn from the supermarkets? Creating both a brand identifty and a brand loyalty is how. And that is the first strategy we should consider, using s to assist this process. Basic structure From addresses must properly reflect the brand Examine some of the structure of an ; your branding should be clearly visible there. If it is then normally you shouldn t need to repeat it in the subject line. Use pre-headers - sending to B2C data lists will almost certainly mean a large number of s will be being accessed by a mobile, probably a smartphone. In this context pre-header text is almost mandatory and to cater for this instance it may well be useful to include company names. A pre-header which allows your readers to view a web version is great, but be more inventive, I would suggest also you avoid the phrase click here. This is simply because everyone else does it and by doing it you don t display imagination. So use your imagination and try something new instead. Banner headers, company logos of course and links to websites should all feature in your s but don t go overboard, don t emphasise the corporate to the detriment of the personal. 3

4 Using s to create brand identity and brand loyalty Consistency Make a point of ensuring that every sent to a subscriber has the logos, colour and information appropriate to the brand, whether it is a bulk broadcast or a single apology response. Welcome s These are very important in both maintaining brand identity and keeping your potential clients engaged from the moment they sign up to receive your newsletters. A recent survey published on the web set out to establish the performance level of such s, below are some of the findings: Revenue per welcome is 8 times higher than from standard bulk s. Welcome s generate 4 times the open rates than standard bulk mailings and 5 times the click through rate. Sent as a direct response to a sign up they generate far higher opens, click throughs and transaction rates than other re-occurring s. Welcome messages with free offer incentives again generate double the response than those without. And finally those welcome messages with social media links also attract much higher open rates. In addition to your brand re-enforcement in every other message sent out, make sure you use welcome s. It s a no brainer? 4

5 Using s to create brand identity and brand loyalty Transactional s These are mostly associated with acknowledgment of an order, shipping details and other such structural conversations. The term conversations hits the spot, the customer has created a personal dialogue with you and you should therefore take the opportunity to use it to your advantage. It doesn t have to be in response to an order, it could in response to an information request, ordering a travel brochure, any area that entails a one to one response from you. Brand re-enforcement, cross or up selling, are all legitimate and valuable, but keep it subtle, too much hard sell will alienate and potentially damage the brand, and when it is in response to an order, ensure that all relevant information concerning the order is clearly available. Customer preference forms and other feedback Though this is in the brand loyalty section it can also be considered as part of the next section Techniques for better targeting. What is a preference centre and how can it help? A preference centre is a mechanism where you can conduct a dialogue with your subscribers, ensuring that you have all of their correct details. A preference centre also ensures that you provide recipients with the opportunity to indicate to you what kind of they wish to receive and what type of content. Periodic surveys It s great thank you.. Hello how s your day going? Periodic surveys are a great way for your subscribers to provide information. Perhaps, as an example, you could invite those who attend a paint balling session to complete a short questionnaire asking about their experience. It gives the recipient a sense of engagement and, coupled with incentives to return it, creates a good caring brand image. 5

6 Using s to create brand identity and brand loyalty All of the above techniques are great ways to promote brand re-enforcement and loyalty. Consider this quote from J P declerk, a noted commentator on all things for marketing: A brand is however also a matter of emotion, connection and perception. Is there a difference between emotion, brand perception and customer experience? Is there much difference between the decision to click or download and the decision to follow or like a brand? Isn t it all about emotions? And isn t buying a very emotional process as well (even if we like to explain why we buy something)? Finally, is there much difference between B2B and B2C in a connected world where it s really all about people-centricity, experience, customer satisfaction and stories? B2B B2C B2? Start thinking of B2P In the leisure business more than any other you need to engage with your potential buyers, forget then concepts of B2C or B2B mailings, start thinking of B2P; Business to Personal. 6

7 Techniques for better targeting Database maintenance As an important part of keeping up interest in your brand it can pay big dividends if you segment your broadcast lists. These lists are your bread and butter, and in the leisure industry, are vital for repeat purchases. maintenance is your bread and butter Here are some points to consider: Don t overuse recipients, establish a timetable of broadcasts within a campaign and stick to it. If you over you risk upsetting some recipients, and it doesn t have to be many who will complain on the internet or, even worse, report you for spamming. Even if you have fully opted in lists an adverse comment to Spam Cop or Spamhaus can create temporary blocks which inconvenience you and your service provider. Feedback from your customers and potential customers is important, set up automated mechanisms to channel this information back to your lists. If recipients do unsubscribe, allow them to do it with some grace on your part, on the unsubscribe landing page which should be properly branded. Offer them an option, perhaps to accept a set number of additional s. Take the opportunity to send them a personalised message thanking them and introducing some other offer or enticing aspects of your products/services. Treating your contacts with respect can only enhance your brand and lead to repeat orders. 7

8 Techniques for better targeting Be aware of your audience Below are some common examples of where being aware of your audience can go wrong, when your database is either not updated, or, is lacking full information about your audience. A travel site sent me an for travel discounts to the Carib bean, don t they know how old I am? I d see a beach full of young ladies in bikinis and keel-over (with a smile on my face). OR I subscribed to a national chain restaurant newsletter and then they sent me an asking if I really wanted to subscribe and to confirm. Asking once wasn t enough? Address the s that your recipients really want, use the techniques outlined above, such as surveys and preference centres to gather additional data. Use database segmentation to good effect to ensure your audience is getting the content required by each sector. In the leisure industry it is vital to keep each contact interested in between purchases which will often be months or even years. Keeping your databases actively updated will increase their usefulness and longevity. 8

9 Customer retention and re-engagement It could be argued that customer retention is a more crucial issue for the leisure industry than practically any other sector. Purchases in the leisure industry are often not that costly and will be repeated, but not necessarily quickly and not always with you. Ideally you want the customer who used your services to travel to China one year to come back to you to go to Cuba the next. You have to use your broadcasts subtly and at the same time keep them interested in what you have to offer. Personality One way that social media is influencing marketing is by drawing attention to the fact that too often s have become too corporate and this has taken personality away from the messages. Social media is inherently personal and there is no reason why your s should not concentrate on the company personality rather than its corporate identity. I know the distinction is subtle but it is there nevertheless. For example Ben and Jerry s perhaps, or, within the UK, innocent drinks and Virgin, think of the plucky underdog fighting against the corporate might of British Airways. There are also many others whose corporate image precludes a personality. The point here is that in the leisure industry customers are more likely to re-engage with an organisation that avoids the deadening effect of corporate image in favour of personality. Leisure is fun, or at least should be, and your s should reflect this. Take note of the comment in the branding section, think of all your databases as being B2P, everything is personal these days. There has to be a relationship between customer and potential customers, a conversation and a dialogue where possible. Conducting this dialogue, which has to be of continual interest, gives you with much more chance of retaining the loyalty of previous buyers. 9

10 Customer retention and re-engagement Maintaining the efficiency of your broadcasts In an increasingly digital society we love our gadgets, phones, ipods, cameras and we expect them to work, in the main we don t really care how and why they work and when they don t we get annoyed. Think about how frustrating it is when your nearest ATM is out of order it may be just a short walk to the next one but somehow that doesn t always lessen the annoyance. Likewise with , if a link is broken, a word is spelt incorrectly or an image is slightly blurred you risk losing a subscriber and potential client. Testing is the key; never ever send out a bulk without subjecting it to a full testing process. Your subscribers expect the , with whatever links, landing pages, embedded video etc to work each and every time and provide them with content they want, you simply cannot afford to let them down. In the leisure industry an error or even a simple typo can drive a prospective customer to another company. In conclusion Your subscribers inboxes are precious to them; many rely on to keep them updated. marketers providing relevant useful information will be well received; those that don t will be ignored. Waste their time and that could be the end of the order stream. Put yourself in their shoes, you don t have to love them but be sure they think you do and the way to do that is send preference centre s, send surveys, perhaps even obtain their birthdays and send them a birthday greeting. If they feel you are overpowering them with TLC give them an opportunity to tell you so. Disappoint your customers with your s and you put your brand loyalty in jeopardy. Very few sectors in the leisure industry have the field to themselves, as you are all very well aware there s loads of competition out there. 10

11 In conclusion Think of your s as an ongoing dialogue with your subscribers, make your messages: Compelling Content rich Informative Give them the opportunity for them to engage with you Here is a short digest of one marketing commentator s view of what is going to be important in 2011, courtesy of Chad White of Smith Harmon. These three points are particularly relevant to the leisure industry, because their s lists are predominantly consumers rather than companies. 1 design will start to be more heavily influenced by iphones, Android-powered smart-phones and ipads. The distinction between s and mobile s is disappearing. That will have several effects on design: a widths need to narrow. We recommend a width of around 600 pixels. b Font sizes need to increase so they re more legible on small screens. c The space between links and the size of buttons need to increase to allow fat fingers to hit links accurately. That will also mean navigation bars with fewer links in them. SUBSCRIBE 2 Reactivation campaigns will become more important, thanks to ISPs giving weight to engagement metrics when determining whether to deliver to the inbox or junk folder or to block . 11

12 In conclusion Most marketers still have no plan whatsoever in place to address inactives - the subscribers on their list who haven t opened or clicked on in a long time. In some cases, inactives make up 50% or more of a marketer s list, representing a significant threat to deliverability and a big distraction from focusing on active subscribers. Marketers must start by defining what inactive is for them, then progress to segmentation tactics to message inactives differently, and culminate with reactivation campaigns that give subscribers a chance to reaffirm their interest or be dropped from the list. 3 The marketing industry will continue to be divided on permission. The tension between the old school opt-out marketing industry aligned with direct mail and the new-school permission marketing industry aligned with mobile and social will continue to grow. But from my perspective, all signs point to the new school winning out. From Gmail s Priority Inbox and Facebook messages to ISPs ongoing battle against unwanted , it s becoming increasingly critical to be anticipated and wanted in consumers inboxes-particularly if you want to be in the part of the inbox that consumers have designated for important, must-read s. Staying out of the junk folder is yesterday s battle. 12

13 Want to know more? Author of this guide, Michael Bairstow is one of the many talented and experienced people who make up the team at Pure360. Founded in 2001, Pure360 is one of Europe s top marketing companies. Recently listed as the fastest growing service provider in Europe by GP Bullhound, the multilingual platform PureResponse is used by 2000 marketers in over 50 countries. Pure360 provides brands and agencies, regardless of size, the technology, know-how and support to run effective marketing campaigns that have a measurable and positive impact on their business. With a simple online interface and in-depth reporting tools, the PureResponse platform was created by marketers for marketers to make marketing easy and enjoyable. Brighton-based Pure360 has a portfolio of customers that includes Innocent Drinks, LA Fitness, Rightmove, Seatwave and media giant The FT Group. The platform can also be available as a whitelabel service for agencies. If you d like to talk to one of us then call or us at We re also on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter online 13

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