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Talking to my ideal Guests

My guests are all welcome. But my holiday home is not perfect for everyone – nowhere is. So I am defining my ideal guests, those who will love it most. This is the group(s) of guests who will value what we have to offer more than anyone else. For those that love it most will value it most, will tell others to come here, will pay a premium and will return too.

Of course my guests are not all the same, but they can be grouped by types (families, couples, 3 generations, golf buddies, etc…). I expect its a rare property that only attracts one guest type all year ’round. So I will work through a number of guest types and hone in on a few. And yet I suspect that these are still candidates, I’ll need to run the pricing exercise with all these candidate groups in mind before I can really narrow down to my ideal Guests.

Now some readers may ask why? Why am I bothering. Surely all guests are great guests? Yes they are, but that’s not the point.

The point is that we have a short summer season, and I know that I will need to achieve maximum occupancy and maximum rental rates in this period (and lots of other weeks too) if I am to stand any chance of doubling my rental income. So I need to ensure that I reach my ideal guests, those will will pay a premium because they ‘love’ what we offer. And, here’s a reality, how I describe, picture and promote my properties will vary depending upon exactly who I am targeting.

So first of all I am beginning a process of Research into my past customers, and then, using the knowledge I have gained create a Persona for them. What’s a Persona and why and I doing this?

These are great questions. As a Marketeer for my entire career creating Personas is one of the most important processes, and its also the one that’s most over looked. Businesses big and small have failed to develop and use their Customer Personas, and subsequently they waste a large proportion of their efforts and their advertising investment. In the Youtube video I describe how advertising in the 1980’s was crudely targeted using the ABC six scale grade; this tried to describe all customers in the UK. It was a blunt instrument then, its totally outdated now. Advertising in the 1980’s was a hopeful broadcast, blasting a message far and wide hoping to hit an audience. The costs of this advertising were linked to the size of the broadcast and not the results generated. It was so expensive, and would reach such a broad audience, that adverts were written to engage everyone.

For example. One TV advert that I worked on was for a toy, and educational toy. We needed kids to know it was hi-tech fun, and parents to know it was affordable and educational. And grandparents (who buy lots of toys) to know it was state of the art, but accessible and better than traditional educational tools. We needed kids of AB parents to see it as the ‘must have’ in the playground, and convince C1C2 parents that it was an aid to their aspirations for their kids.  We needed to convey all of this in 30 seconds. I’ll let you decide how well we did for here it is.  It was, in truth, an expensive shot in the dark – but the only shot available.

The whole world of Marketing has changed fundamentally. Advertising, which is one part of the science of Marketing,  has moved on too. Using today’s methods I can still broadcast if I wish, or pick and choose individuals and small groups (my real target customers) and influence them only. Creating artwork, text and Advert campaigns is easy, and often free. And I can pay for adverts only if my customers respond.  It’s time to rework how to take my message to my customers.

Some people, and I hesitate to call them marketeers, have seen the new technology and said “Great. No more large costs to send out our message. Using the internet (in all its forms) we can now create and spread our message far and wide for free”.  We have a word for what these people produce, its called SPAM. Yes its virtually free to send out millions of unwanted emails, and yes it sometimes works: Amazingly there are a tiny minority of people to buy, but the vast majority abhor SPAM and rightly so.  There are laws in Europe and elsewhere to try and restrict SPAM, but it should be common sense that no-one should associate their business with spamming.

In a forgotten blog post, about 10 years ago, I described the changing forms of adverting as “stopping shouting out loud about your product and instead whispering into the ear of your customer”. It was true then. The idea of whispering lead me to a new type of thinking. For if you are whispering something into someones ear it needs to be a personal message for them – a general message won’t work. As any good salesperson knows, you need to tailor the message to the customer, work out what you can do for them.

In the last 10 years we have moved on again. We now have interaction and engagement. I believe advertising has always been a one way communication, trying to get a response which is then usually passed to sales. Today, all kinds of businesses are trying to engage customers and prospects in a two-way ongoing dialogue using social media, email and other tools. This has moved beyond just advertising, we’re trying to personalise communication, and keep it going, and built a business of ongoing repeat customers, who voluntarily engage their friends and  colleagues to become customers too.  And this is exactly what I want for my rental properties at 3 and 4 Clifton!

That was a long introduction to saying that I need to get personal with my presentation of 3 and 4 Clifton. I need to build a form of words and images that seed the right ideas and evokes the right response from my target audience(s). That audience is made up of individuals,  but there are discernible types, we call these Personas, and the closer I can describe these Personas the better. For only then will I be able to work out what to whisper in their ear, what images to evoke, what objections to overcome and how I can  develop an ongoing dialogue and repeat business.



Video Transcript for those with text readers.

Welcome to my challenge; to Double the Rental Income from my holiday homes  Hello again. Welcome to this edition we’re going to talk about marketing. I’ll begin  to develop some of the marketing concepts and I want to use from now on.  One of those key ones is ‘Personas’. Now you may have gathered by looking at all the  details and data on my customers I’ve started to develop a picture of what  they look like. This is what I call the Persona. But even if I didn’t have that data,  (and you may not) you should still be developing a Persona for your customers too.  I want to show what I mean and why it becomes important. I am going to start  by taking the trip back in my career back to the very [beginning] to 1980. Way back  then we had a very simple model of marketing model of all of the different  socioeconomic groups in the UK …and you see there are six of them. It really is a  pretty simplistic model but hey this is the one that everybody used I just hope  that nobody uses anymore. Even then I was looking at it unsure sure what group I  fitted into, or my friends or people who I knew. I know that in marketing now we use a  much more elegant model which is has 56 different layers … I’m not going to go into that.  I just want to get over the idea that back in the day there were  only six layers and it was a pretty simplistic model; but it actually matched  up to what you could do with these. Because you would use this scale to decide  how to advertise to them. And the advertising options back in the eighties  Weren’t that great either. The biggest advertising media was newspapers delivered by  newspaper boys (like me) and there’s a shop that I worked from number years .  Of course there was TV; but back in the day there were only three channels and all of them were ‘off’ for  most of the time and only one of them carried any advertising. There was  independent radio, it had been around since the early seventies, but by and  large people didn’t listen to it; they listen to the BBC channels which had no  advertising in all. So by far the biggest (advertising) medium was  newspapers and the occasional magazine. And the most expensive of these was the  Sunday Times color supplement. This was the high-water mark costing 25,000 pounds  for a 1 page ad, I recall. Of course there was mail order but mail order was  tremendously expensive. Very few companies had a database because it  relied on huge computer and those people that (could afford it where) the catalog companies  a couple shon here who were my clients later on in the eighties. There was very  little of the direct mail for the very same reason, only big companies could do it     Networking, exhibitions, word of mouth;  they all existed as well but I large that was it.  If you were a media planner in the  nineteen eighties you are really talking  about press and TV a little bit of radio.  Things have changed now there’s a great video gonna give a link to it which  shows the advertising money is actually gone up since that time but (advertising) has changed  fundamentally. The biggest single change is the diversity of other advertising  media if I explode this picture you’ll see what I mean …  … it shows you traditional and now digital media. By digital media we’re  talking about the internet but the internet and all of its forms including  email and social media and direct advertising on the Internet too. You’ll see that this  gives are very complex view of the medium’s with which we communicate now  to advertise. But I prefer a different view, and this one is somebody  else’s piece of work, and its great but if I focus in it shows to me where  everybody’s is really working now in marketing. They’re talking about individual  customers. Recognizing that customers interact with all kinds of social media and  watch different TV channels. Today its all about looking  at individual customers  narrowing in right on those customers. That’s what we need to do, I need to do.  In fact this is common. It doesn’t matter  what the product is… it’s the very same  message we need to narrow in on our customers.  And this has a direct impact to on how we talk to those customers too.  Let me show you what I mean. Here’s an advert for Butlins holiday camp. I think  it’s from the early fifties. What it shows is a happy family and you’ll  see mum and dad,  and the kiddies and a group of  teenagers, or are they in their twenties, I’m not sure. Then I see grandad in there.  Its clear this is for everybody. Everybody is going to love Butlins because everybody loves  the same thing!? Maybe they did in the fifties that’s not our experience now.  Maybe they did in that time because he’s another advert for a holiday camping in Ireland.  In fact is one where one of my uncles used to work. And here on their advert  they don’t even bother to say who it’s for because again it’s for everybody.  They even say “no need to worry about your travel details we’ll arrange it all”  without knowing anything about you. You are going to love it.  That’s just not how  we speak to customers now. Because we readily accept but what people want is  different depending on who they are  Here’s a Butlin’s advert from recent times. Mums go free and we can immediately see who  thats targeting. Mums with small children and we can understand  that where that’s going to appear is somewhere where mums with small  children go to look. It’s not going to appear where moms with small children  aren’t looking. So its not only that the range of avertising media has exploded …  But how we communicate on those media has changed. We wouldn’t use a generalist advert,  we don’t talk to customers in that way anymore. We target messages based  upon who they are and ‘exactly’ what they want. And then use the medium that’s best to  deliver those messages. I’ll give you another example two hotel adverts; one  from 1980. I don’t know that hotel on the left although its  very interesting to see that it doesn’t mention anything at all about the hotel other  than there’s a “sing-along with Ben” on Sunday night and presumably everybody  from four years old to 84 years old  loves to sing along with Ben. That is the presumption of that Advert. On the right hand  side we have a modern advert. Very clearly visually and in the words what’s it  telling you?  Well its  addressing couples and they selling a luxury break to romantic couples  The flower tells you that, the pictures tell you that, the words tell you all of  that. But in fact its a Radisson Blu Hotel. Anybody that knows the Radisson Blu will know  that that’s a hotel, that’s often airports, that appeal to everybody. But in  this marketing they are targeting couples couples with an offer and  presumably this is going to appear where couples are going to read it.  and so that gives you a clue of the kind of thing I’m talking about how we need to  change our message in 2016. 1980’s adverts have a broad audience (and so)  they’re expensive and they’re written to try and attract everybody. In  the 21st century adverts can be precisely targeted … and they’re cheap and  they’re written for individuals  Indeed if they’re not written for individuals they just don’t work.  One size fits no-one. This is a really strong message and what it means is  when you’re describing your property when I’m just gonna be my property I  need to have in mind (a specific Persona)  Not everybody. And not say its for everybody because its isn’t!  We have two four-story buildings which aren’t great, sadly, for people with disabilities  We’re on the south coast of Ireland so we’re not great for somebody looking for  a really active city break or skiing. We don’t appeal to everybody we  need to appeal to definitive groups and  that is what I mean by Personas  What I am going to develop these personas.  There could be more than 1     For a persona I want to narrow it  down to the individual that makes the decision. The person that’s going to  book. What do they like? What gives them the confidence to book?  How can I address them in  words and images such that they know this is the right place to stay?  Developing these Personas is absolutely key to my success. Thank you  I hope you enjoyed that episode of double my rental income and I really hope  you’ll join me again don’t forget you can find out much more about my  challenge and how it’s progressing by visiting the website www double my  rental income dot com and you can sign up on the website to to get the very  latest news and some extra special content which I can’t make available  elsewhere so please join me again and remember it is has been valuable to you  I’m giving it to you for free but I do make a request  share it with others let them know too I want as many people as possible to start  using some of the things that I have spent so long creating  Thank you


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