Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
19 January 2015
Destination marketing: Good isn’t enough
In that post, I mentioned that the destination and tourism category is overfilled with similar messaging, meaning there are few real destinations in the world that actually own something.
Some asked me for an example of a destination struggling with coming up with that differentiation. So I bring you, Jackson Hole.
You can see what the marketers of Jackson Hole are trying to do here. They are trying to own “big” in nature terms. That humans are in awe of the vastness surrounding Jackson Hole.
The problem is that the real takeaway (remember, viewers see ads in a snapshot, not as a deep examination) is that Jackson Hole is just like Vail, Aspen or any other ski resort. There is an attempt at an emotional cue, and it’s better than most, but I don’t think that’s what prospective visitors are going to take away from it.
Its theme of “There’s More to Winter” isn’t bad, but Jackson Hole has not linked it to the idea of vastness. It’s still about all the things you can do in winter. It’s still about product benefits, in the terms of the destination and tourism industry.
I point out Jackson Hole not to pick on it. I point it out because it’s systematic of the lack of courage from destination marketers. They don’t go far enough, dipping a toe into the lake of emotion without going all the way.
I’m not suggesting Jackson Hole (and others) go weepy. What I am saying is that the theme should match up with the message. I supposed you could make an intellectual argument that the vastness of Jackson Hole gives you something more to look forward to in winter, but instinctively, it’s still about skiing and other winter sports. That there’s more to do in Jackson Hole in the winter than anywhere else.
Nice try, Jackson Hole. But, like your competitors, you can do better. Because the problem with destination marketing isn’t bad marketing. It’s the only good.
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