An effective marketing strategy can mean the difference between business success – and failure. But what, exactly, is marketing?
In order to become fully involved and competent in your marketing efforts it is useful to understand the structure of the marketing process as it is easy to get confused about the differences between marketing, advertising and public relations (PR). All three are there to promote an organisation and its products but have distinctly different functions and purposes.
Marketing is the process of boosting public awareness of an organisation, a product, a person or a service, while advertising and PR are promotion methods that fall under the ‘marketing’ umbrella term. Marketing is responsible for planning the company’s overall promotion; from pinpointing a product’s target customer, researching the market and setting a marketing budget, through to putting on product launches and evaluating the success of the campaign
What is advertising?
Advertising is one method of persuading a target audience to buy a product or service. Advertising mediums are usually television, radio, print publications, the internet, posters or billboards. So when the marketing department decides it needs an organisation wide marketing strategy to boost its image and increase sales, it may develop and advertising campaign to support the strategy – encouraging customers to touch base with and buy from the company.
What is PR?
While advertising is geared more towards promoting sales of a particular product, PR focuses on maintaining the good reputation of the company in the media.
The goal of PR departments is to get their organisation noticed by the media in a positive way. They are generally tasked with writing press releases, contacting media professionals and informing them of their organisation’s news, speaking about their organisation at public forums, taking clippings from print publications, writing in-house magazines and newsletters and keeping records of when their organisation is mentioned in the press. PR also act as a representative in public when their organisation needs to give a statement or comment.
Then, too, to be effective, your marketing efforts and strategies must be based on;
an in depth understanding of your industry structure
the interrelationships between the various industry sectors
That being the case, we will spend some time, now, looking at these aspects before we delve into marketing activities themselves.
Industry structure and interrelationships, industry networks and information sources
The tourism industry is made up of many different sectors and in order to be able to market your products or services in the most productive way you first have to understand its structure. General knowledge of your industry is important however each individual sector will have marketing needs and issues that are unique to it and it is critical that you understand the sector that you belong to and how it might interact with others.
Tourism Industry Structure
The seven main sectors of the tourism industry are:
Attractions and Theme Parks
Tour Operators and Tour Wholesalers
Information and Coordination Services Sector
Meetings and Events
Hospitality is defined as the relationship between a host and a guest and as such implies that service of a high standard will be given. The hospitality industry is comprised of organisations that provides all or some of the following:
Accommodation services – which could include;
Multi national chains such as Hilton, Marriot or Sheraton
Bed and Breakfast accommodation in boutique hotels, homestay or country farms