Sometimes an outside view is needed

Igor Pauletič / / Marketing Automation

I spent the last weekend in Bovec with my son. We were there for his golf tournament, so naturally, we arrived a day early to play a practice round. After we played our game, we had a drink at the clubhouse, where we joined a group of locals who had a few glasses already. We started talking, and I was asked about what I do for a living (speaking of which, my children are still embarrassed in school when they have to explain what their father does. The children of cooks, doctors, mechanics are lucky in this respect).

When I said that I am developing marketing in a world where marketing no longer works, I struck a nerve in a man who owns one of the camps in Bovec. He began to explain that despite all of his marketing activities, his revenue decreased by over 30% even though his reservations were 20% better than the previous year, and 90% of overnight stays come from regular guests. “The weather forecast from Ljubljana ruined me! Even though there was no rain in the end, the forecast said there would be. While everyone in Slovenia was drowning, we had sunny days in Bovec.” I waited for a bit for him to finish his rant, and then asked him a few questions, well aware of the fact that people will do everything but face their problems…

People will do everything but face their problems. A look from the outside is sometimes required. Click To Tweet

This man has a very simple problem. He needs to persuade his existing customers or, even better, the customers that made a reservation, that mathematical weather forecast models are not always accurate and that this wonderful valley is blessed by a local microclimate. We discussed how much a guest costs him and quickly established that the costs a visitor incurs is almost zero. All of his costs are fixed campsite costs, since he needs to provide the same services to run a camp – whether its half empty or full. I wondered, how much could he make with an open camp? Is it better to have an empty camp since the weather forecast from Ljubljana says it will rain, or would you rather announce that camping will be free of charge if it rains, even though the local weather forecast says there’s a high chance of it happening?

My advice was simple: “If you are sure that the local wise men who have been living in the valley for 80 years are able to predict the weather better than the weather agencies, and you know on Thursday that the weekend won’t be a rainy one, focus all your marketing efforts into convincing your regular guests and guests with pre-season reservations, that they should trust the weather report by the locals. This should be your key message every Thursday. If you provide assurance that camping will be free or significantly reduced in cost if it rains, customers will believe your local weather forecast. And even when you’re inevitably wrong, they won’t blame you.” Lawyers don’t represent themselves and doctors go to other doctors. When we develop our own services and processes, we ask people we trust outside our company.

When we develop our own services and processes, we ask people we trust outside our company. How about you? Click To Tweet

Habits are the biggest barrier in strategic decision making – especially routines that accept that some things cannot be changed, and others cannot be influenced. Everyone who visited us for a cup of coffee got an interesting perspective on their problems and solutions. Some of them have later became our customers, and others will probably join them soon.

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PS. You are welcome to join us for a cup of coffee as well.

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