Doesn’t it seem like travel marketing and mobile ought to be a perfect fit?
Last week, I met with one of the leading travel conference organizers looking to firm up their speaking roster for this year’s event. We talked for a few moments about what’s most on the minds of the travel marketers he serves, and it’s clear: everyone wants mobile this year.
Hearing this fills me with both excitement and trepidation.
It’s thrilling to know that this may be the year that travel marketers join ranks of many other marketers and fully embrace the mobile space – something we’ve been talking about for some time.
The trepidation comes from the fact that there are lots of bright shiny lights in the mobile space. Navigating among them is not easy, and if marketers choose the wrong partner, I fear they’ll be more likely these days to ditch their early efforts in favor of past ones that have worked.
For the moment, marketers are hungry, and willing to invest. That means these are heady days for mobile marketing shops. It’s a little like San Francisco in the late ‘90s, when everyone was either working for a start-up or investing in one. The rising rush to mobile isn’t that different, and history provides a valuable lesson: most ventures that fell victim to the dot com bust failed because of two key factors: accountability and results.
Here’s an example that fuels this concern. One travel services provider I recently spoke with ventured out into the mobile space last summer. Targeting vacation travelers, they invested in mobile display advertising and it didn’t work. They felt it was an utter failure and blamed the networks they chose to execute with. I suspect they focused too much on the medium and too little on the message.
On the other hand, one client of ours spent nine months doing deep testing, with a keen focus on creative platforms and offers, combined with accurate measurement. They worked their way to a 95% reduction in cost-per-call, and mobile became one of their most cost-effective marketing channels. It was an evolution, and their success was due to their dedication to testing and working with a partner all about accountability and results.
New devices come out every day, heightening both consumer and marketer awareness of the rich opportunity that awaits. Even more than the dot com rise, there’s a lot on the line for marketers and their agencies. They have a lower risk tolerance, and they need results.
My advice to travel marketers as they more fully embrace the mobile space: The mobile landscape is complex. Consumers are utilizing devices in a myriad of ways. Work with a partner that understands this and can deliver tangible results that matter. And if it doesn’t work right away, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Keep testing – deeply – to find the path to success.
There's something evolving. Whatever may come, the world keeps revolving.