The Rarified Results of Moving from an Organization to a Destination.
A few years before my agency started marketing Miami, Time Magazine featured the city under the headline “Paradise Lost.” In September 2017 Miami International Airport reported record monthly arrivals of almost 2,000,000 passengers. Miami is now one of the most successful tourist destinations in the world.
In September 1972, Florida International University opened its doors with 5,667 students. Today the school enjoys an enrollment of 45,813 students, making it the 4th-largest university in the United States.
These are the types of successes stories that any business would be proud to report. Of course, they both have some things in common. Yes they’re both Miami-related, but both brands are also both destinations.
Destinations have unique marketing challenges. You can consume media (movies, music, magazines, etc.) from the comfort of your own living room. You can use products and services from your home, office or wherever you are.
But to consume what destinations offer, their customers have to actually go somewhere. Whether you’re promoting a restaurant, a hotel, a sports complex, a city, state or country, a hospital or a university, your customers have to actually get off their duffs and visit.
Besides presenting unique challenges, forcing customers to visit a destination also offers some unique advantages. For example, when our clients visit Puerto Rico, New Smyrna Beach, or Miami Jewish Health Systems (a few of our destination clients), they are surrounded by our environments. We orchestrate the consumer experience and we manage our customers’ expectations because they are in our milieus.
Similarly, when our customers visit our online destinations, we also manage their consumer journey and show them the best possible experience. That’s because even though they are visiting a digital realm, they are still within our borders and are exposed to environments we prepare just as carefully as a director and set designer create theatre.
But what if you don’t market a destination? What if you don’t control the environments within which your consumers enjoy your products? How can you storyboard an experience that will both satisfy and delight your users and keep them coming back for more?
It’s easy. Simply turn your organization into a destination. Stop thinking about your product as a thing. Stop thinking about your service as a period of time or a delivered solution. Try positioning what you sell as an experience your audience will consume.
It’s not enough for them to open a bag or box and pull out your product. Instead storyboard the entire user arc – from purchase to delivery to usage. And if you’re thorough enough, you might even want to consider what your customer does with your product when they’re finished with it. By doing this you can change the way they see what you sell. So while your competition might simply be selling a tool or a solution, you are moving away from function and content and taking your customer on a trip through context.
By doing this you can increase both your product’s value AND its perceived value to your customers. And you can change your purchasers from simple buyers into delighted participants and evangelists.
If you’d like to know more about how to do this, drop me a note or comment on this blog. I’d be delighted to show you proven tips, tactics, and techniques that can raise what you sell above the mundane and ordinary to an exalted position that will build desire, increase purchases, and expand your profits.
But it all starts with a reframing of what you create when you shift from an organization to a destination.