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3 Cornerstones of Visitor-Centric Marketing Strategy

Updated: November 26, 2018 | CRM | Share on LinkedIn

Right message. Right audience. Right time.

by Dave Langran, Museums Principal, Gateway Ticketing Systems, London Office

Dave Langran writes about customer-centric marketingThere is a lot of talk in the attraction industry about becoming more “customer centric” – putting the visitor at the heart of your attraction’s thinking and practice. It’s good advice and an effective approach to delivering positive guest experiences, driving loyalty and maximizing profits.

The challenge, however, is that while the concept of customer centricity is simple to state, it is much harder to put into practise. What steps can your marketing team take to ensure the best approach when communicating with visitors?

The trick is to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. By telling visitors what they want to hear, when they want to hear it, you ensure they will value your communications and respond in ways that reinforce the relationship.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Even though putting such a communication strategy into action is harder than it seems, it can be done. And the strategy is incredibly effective when executed correctly.

Let’s look at the three elements in our “right message, right audience and right time” marketing strategy.

Right message

Do you have relevant content that is valuable to your audience? Does it suit the visitor’s current situation? If they haven’t visited yet, let’s not talk yet about buying a season pass or becoming a donor/supporter.

Is the visitor a single individual? Talking about family events is of little value and may even damage your brand.

Conversely, inviting a recent visitor to purchase a season pass or telling a family about targeted activities for the kids delivers value because this message is right for their circumstances.

A clear understanding of your attraction’s mission and offerings will help you craft consistent, relatable messages.

Right audience

A “one-size fits all” approach to visitor communication is far less effective than a thoughtful, targeted approach. Invest time thinking about who your visitors are.

Are they first-time visitors, repeat visitors, members/season pass holders, individuals, families, school groups, tour groups, etc.? Develop a personalised strategy for each key visitor group.

Most attractions don’t have large marketing teams, so it is essential to keep your groupings manageable. Don’t set yourself the task of dealing with hundreds of different visitor groupings. Keep it as simple as you can – if it gets too complicated, it’s probably the wrong approach.

Right time

Deliver your message in a timely fashion, while the content is most relevant.

An engagement strategy that delivers relevant commuincations pre-visit (what to expect, where to go, what’s on, etc), post visit (thanks for coming, what do you think, etc) and then on a regular basis (for example, seasonally) can ensure that you remain engaged with your visitors on an ongoing basis.

Relevant pre-visit emails set the tone and raise the excitement level for your visitor. Asking for their thoughts after a visit is a great way of engaging with them and results in fresh, more valuable customer data and insight. Engaged visitors value timely alerts, such as special offers and events, that are relevant and easy to act upon.

In your ongoing communication strategy, less can be more. Research shows that a seasonal approach to newsletters – think spring, summer, fall, winter and even Christmas – has a bigger impact than more frequent, monthly newsletters. Investing more time in fewer publications can result in higher-quality content that is more valued by its recipients.

While this “right message, right audience, right time” strategy is straight-forward, effective execution requires a team effort, accurate data and a consistent approach.

  • Develop relevant messages, driven by a clear understanding of your visitors and your attraction – its mission and what it offers to visitors.
  • Identify your core visitor groups. Understand who your visitors are and create a personalised communication strategy for each key group.
  • Use internal knowledge and visitor data to plan optimal communication timing. Use data collected via online and on-site transactions, admission scanning, and customer surveys to guide your communication rhythm.

Empower your team by implementing or refining a customer-centric strategy – deliver great visitor experiences, maintain and grow relationship, and drive your attraction’s business goals.

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