Differentiate or Die

Bob Marx, PACVB

Those two immortal words comprise the title of one of the best-written marketing books of our time. In this testament to the importance of a unique and distinctive marketing campaign to compete in today’s hyper-competitive economy, author Jack Trout makes it abundantly clear that if your business does not stand out amongst all of the marketing “noise,” your likelihood of success is diminished dramatically.

As the recognized destination marketing organization for the Greater Peoria Area operating with a limited marketing budget, it is imperative that the marketing effort put forth by the Peoria Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is distinct in the minds of meeting planners and travelers. And here is why…

There are four megatrends that are actively reshaping the tourism/hospitality industry: technology, high consumer expectations, shifting social values and changing demographics. And the PACVB is actively embracing all of these trends in our 2012 marketing efforts.

For example, 63 percent of all travelers now rely on destination websites for planning their trips, while two thirds of all business travelers consult the Internet to plan their business trips. More than half of all travelers utilize social media, including 68 percent of Generation Y and 41 percent of the Boomer population. You can expect to see our very active website (peoria.org), receiving some 18,000+ visitors a month, to become even more one-to-one, user-friendly, interactive and relevant. In addition, we interact daily with thousands of our Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

In this age of new consumerism, the PACVB recognizes the trend for a quid pro quo in the minds of our visitors. We recognize that we must provide them with compelling reasons to visit and a unique, entertaining and productive experience when they are here—or they will go elsewhere. On any given day, we compete with at least five to seven destinations for a client’s meeting business, and if they don’t like us, they will not buy us. So differentiate we must.

The demographics around us are also in constant change. Those who come here are more affluent and expect more than ever before. Look to see the PACVB implement a new ad campaign this year that will not resemble the typical destination marketing effort. We must stand out from the crowds. We must tell our story more effectively and differentiate our area in the minds of clients and prospects. And true to the definition of marketing, we must meet the needs and wants of our customers—or suffer the consequences… iBi

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