Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Managing Your Message

(1:04) Last week I wrote about the importance of managing boater expectations for your marina. A critical component is the message you provide about your facility. Offering an unrealistic view might bring a boater in but is not going to give you a repeat customer and will likely lead to a negative review.

(0:56) As a marketing professional, I cringe when I hear people describe an unrealistic message as "just marketing." I try to correct them that it is actually "bad marketing." Unfortunately, these overhyped and false messages have occurred far too often in the past. It is precisely why consumers have turned away from traditional advertising sources to Trip Advisor and Amazon and ActiveCaptain. They are desperate for the truth.

(0:44) Good marketing strives to present a true view of what is being offered and use that message to attract and retain the right customer for that offering. And the good news is that there are customers for just about any marina from inexpensive, barebones facilities to high end, resort-like marinas. The key is not mixing the two up in the boater's mind.

(0:35) One of the best ways to determine if you are being successful and to know how and where to improve is to study boater reviews. They will let you know if there was a difference between what you said was being offered, how that message was interpreted, and what the boater experienced. Understanding this powerful feedback is the best way to challenge your assumptions and spot your weaknesses. When doing this, look for patterns and don't over-focus on just one review.

(0:22) What can you do to minimize the chance of miscommunication and manage the expectations of boaters? Keep your descriptions straightforward and clear. Start with facts and avoid hype and over-promising. It is better to state that your restrooms are cleaned daily then to brag that you have the cleanest restrooms on the waterway.

(0:13) I recall a boater review several years ago that took off a star because he was disappointed in the restrooms. This didn't happen because the restrooms where dirty; it happened because the marina had bragged about how great their restrooms where and he felt he'd seen better.

(0:06) Ensure the marketing messages you are presenting to boaters matches their experience and you will have more happy customers. That will lead to more positive reviews.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.