Most can remember the old Fram Oil Filter ads that said, “You can pay me now or pay me later.” The gist of the ad was that, in terms of a motor vehicle’s efficient operation, one could pay for an oil filter now and eliminate the problems a dirty filter would cause later or not purchase the oil filter now and pay later for the problems caused by a dirty oil filter.
Marketing works for destination and individual businesses basically the same way. Just like the oil filter it costs money that can either be spent now to generate business or can be ignored to be paid for later by the business that is lost because of the lack of effective marketing.
An an Ole Seagull’s opinion the destination marketing of Branson is where it all begins. It is what creates the “Tourist Pie” of tourists coming to experience Branson. It is the size of that pie that directly affects the chances for the economic success of each tourist business in Branson, the bigger the pie the better the chances for success.
If an Ole Seagull were to guess he’d say that the majority of destination marketing is done using taxpayer funds, controlled either by the city of Branson or the Branson Lakes Area Tourism Community Enhancement District, via a contract with the Branson Lakes/Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. He would further hazard a guess that the majority of the rest of the funds spent on destination marketing come from the time share industry and various other businesses that sell tickets, lodging etc.
The vast majority of businesses, shows, attractions etc., do not spend their individual marketing dollars on the destination marketing of Branson. They spend it in the hope of getting people already sold on the destination of Branson to do business with them. At the end of the day, to a particular business, it makes no difference if 10 million people come to Branson if it doesn’t get enough of those 10 million people to spend enough money in that business to provide for its financial success.
It is commonly called “intercept marketing” and is a concept that has been used in Branson for decades. The means of intercept marketing are virtually endless including but not limited to discount coupons, bill boards, ads in free tourist publications, TV, and radio, and giving different organizations a commission for marketing, selling and servicing your tourist related product. The purpose of most intercept marketing is to intercept the Branson visitor before they spend their time and money with someone else.
The bad news is that your business is competing with every other tourist business for each tourist’s money and time. Perhaps more important is the answer to the question, “Are the standard methods that have been used for intercept marketing in the past the best methods for the present?” An Ole Seagull would suggest, except for the better known shows and attractions, that if the method depends on the visitor being in Branson before being intercepted the answer, increasingly, just might be “No.”