Seriously? A connection between marketing and camping? No kidding, guys. Check it out.
I recently found myself daydreaming about the upcoming camping season, but (and rather sadly some might say) I also found an uncanny resemblance between the ways in which planning for a camping trip is similar to the strategy park owners should take with their digital marketing. So, not being one to avoid a challenge, I submit to you 5 ways digital marketing is just like planning for a camping trip.
1. Ground Preparation
Before putting up the tent or opening the slides, campers need to start with level ground. Double checking the pad and clearing the site of debris all makes for a clean slate upon which to build a home away from home.
Marketing for today’s tech-savvy customer needs to be founded on careful groundwork as well! As an owner, you need to inspect your terrain. Do you have clarity of purpose? A clear understanding of who your park is and what your unique selling propositions are? Without this basic intel, you won’t know who will benefit from your park’s experience.
Lay a solid foundation for yourself by knowing your audience. Who are they? What are their priorities and preferences? What are their challenges? How can you clear the way for them to connect easily with your park?
2. Equipment Basics
Without the proper provisions, your guests could have a less than enjoyable experience. There is a lot to be said for having enough firewood, a place to prepare a meal, and a good night’s sleep.
Equipment basics for digital marketing today include: a claimed and verified Google My Business page, a solid web presence, interesting social media content, and online reservation options. There are many more marketing tools you could add on, but just like camping it’s important to grow through your experience. Start simple and work your way up.
3. Knowledge Sharing
Be honest now, how many times have you enjoyed the high-quality entertainment that only comes when a first-time camper is pitching their tent without directions? Without experience it’s quite possible to end up with a tent that leaks or collapses during the night.
Knowledge is power, but it could also be your brand. In this era of interactive brands, be the voice of experience and source of advice for your guests. Create “How To” content and be willing to share your expertise. Consider trouble-shooting topics like “Why does my RV sink smell like sulfur?” or “Common questions about black tanks”. The more you share with your audience, the more they will trust that your park has their back for years to come.
4. Memorable and Personal
Some prefer the luxurious feel of glamping life, while others prefer cooking on a tripod over the fire. Thankfully your guests can personalize their own experience because you’ve provided the opportunity for them to do so.
The same guests also have specific preferences about how they engage with your park. Some may research first and then book a site online. Some prefer to call and lock in their favorite site. Others may solicit recommendations from friends on social media and go to your Facebook photos to see what amenities you have. Whatever their preference, make sure you offer multiple communication channels so they can connect with you easily.
5. Moments of Reflection
My favorite part of the day is right after dark when the stars are out and campers are huddled around the fire. It can truly feel like a magical time as stories are swapped and we take time to reflect on the day. My family calls them campfire moments.
Time for reflection should also be part of your marketing plan. Just like your guests, take the time to assess your marketing experiences. Are the current tools working for you? Are you getting the traction you expected? Why or why not? Making time for analysis will allow you the space for objective thoughts to better achieve the strategic goals you’ve set for your park.
The most important connections are those strategic links between your customers and your park. Whether it’s understanding your audience better, or using the right equipment to tell the right stories, make the experience personal for your guests and you’ll be sure to have plenty of good memories to reflect upon for years to come!
SVP Marketing & Communications