Nothing Beats Chateau Chocolate Cake
By William May
Published: 10/01/10 Topics: Comments:
Years ago when I operated an advertising agency we sure thought we worked long and hard. Not to reveal my age, but I remember when we had to "spec" type, courier the details to a type setter and then wait days while it was set and returned to us. We then had to paste the galleys onto art board along with photos or other art to arrange the desired final ad.
All about Chateau Chocolate Cake
Marketing campaigns took months to prepare. To convince a client to accept a print advertisements required us to draw the ad roughly replicating what it might look like. Once approved we then had to produce it, or record the radio commercials or shoot the television spots and in film no less.
Media plans, the choosing and budget of conventional media, also took lots of time. Decision making was actually fairly smooth but just typing orders, processing payables and comparing results was a paper and pencil exercise.
So I have been one to whole heartedly embrace the personal computer and how it has made marketing, advertising and selling smoother and more controlled. We can produce a lot more with better product and hopefully better outcome.
Unfortunately, the digital age has also made it marketing incredibly complex as we go through a constant dance of Internet and conventional advertising in hopes of maximizing revenue. It is easy to get lost pursuing the latest, greatest marketing scheme.
For lodging we invest in directory ads, video spots and certain pay-per-click. Just like in older media, we try to get in front of the consumers eyes and promote a message that might, just might, get a slight bit of attention.
So it was last summer that I had the great fun of remembering that marketing is, if nothing else, based on common sense.
Packwood, White Pass Washington
Our firm took over a previously shuttered resort located in the shadow of Mount Rainier National Park in an exquisitely beautiful and pristine place. Situated on a minor East West highway over the Cascade Mountains, Chateau Timberline was a well maintained hotel property with half-timber construction and immense visual appeal.
Unfortunately, there was no build up of time to pre-plan and organize media. Our company Sunspot Resorts has created a highly unique software and management system that allows us to deploy full automated websites including photography, online booking system and universal content including local activities, merchants and restaurants. Guests can search by map, available dates and more than enough information to pick the appropriate lodging.
But even with automated deployment and heavy advertising, websites take time to mature. Search Engine's don't index the site immediately. If you want to use the Global Distribution System (GDS) that can take months. Consumers will eventually find a good property and will begin to migrate to it when it offers a better experience than competitors.
But we had none of the time we needed. So we relied on the good old proven methods of marketing. We went local.
We opened within 3 days, and then spent another 3 days visiting all merchants and even the competitors in Packwood, Washington to introduce ourselves and to ask their help. But we didn't just come cap in hand. We came with flyers and cupcakes.
The results were stunning. It would be wrong to presume that none of the people in town had ever had a cupcake. They smiled, they ate and they remembered us as the new guys with good manners (Or at least I hope.)
Mount Rainier is a popular area. Within hours, guests were being referred to the Chateau. Within 10 days we were sold out. Although we basked in quick success we had many people to thank. So early one morning I visited the biggest competitor in town who had referred many overflow guests to us and, at the last minute, I decided to take a fresh Chocolate Cake.
I figured they couldn't or wouldn't take a referral fee. But they were more than happy to eat cake.
And now we have become friends. We refer to them as well. We know the people behind the businesses and they know us, although we'll have to keep contributing to local groups to earn our keep.
Fancy complicated marketing makes it possible for small companies to compete. It allows for advertisers to pick and choose with care and to make the most of their budget. But let's not forget. No matter how great it is, nothing really beats a great chocolate cake.
Author: William May, MayPartners Advertising
Blog #: 0161 – 10/01/10