Day 3/30 – Digital marketing doesn’t work (alone)

Day 3/30 – Digital marketing doesn’t work (alone)

Digital marketing works best only when you integrate it into your overall marketing efforts.

My unpopular opinion: Digital marketing is and should be a cog in the machine, no matter whether you’re an e-commerce company or a retail outlet. The same applies for every other component in your marketing arsenal – some of them might work on their own, but they all work best when integrated together

Being in an extremely competitive travel industry, price-slashing is common. But it’s also the best strategy for a company to go bust in the long term. I’ve been thinking about ways to bring in new customers without slashing prices but it seems that when 99% of the competition is doing the same thing, other efforts won’t stand out when all that hits the customer in the face is ‘I am the cheapest, pick me!’.

If you’re thinking that I should raise prices like all the business gurus out there say, you’re right, but only half right. IMHO, a company can only raise their prices once they have a relatively stable customer base and can afford to lose some of their worst customers in order to serve their best customers better

If you’re thinking that I should go the ‘Premium’ route, and wow customers with our outstanding service and travel packages, you’re right too, but not right now. IMHO, being a premium company requires effort in every single element – from a business office setting to its product to its office location to its service to its marketing materials and all the way down to the way its receptionist answers the phone. You are as premium as your customers think you are, no? Us being a relatively newcomer to the market, and having a promotional banner that’s about to drop down because it rained cats and dogs yesterday (you would’ve known this if you read my 2/30 days blog post, shame on you); I don’t think the premium route is something that we can do at this point of time

So, no raising prices, no going the premium route, then how?

Two weeks back, when I was eating my RM5 economy rice with yellow beans, kangkung, and diced chicken, it suddenly hit me – if you can’t beat the competition, join them! I decided to slash my prices, but in a smarter way. I had an idea.

What was it?

Please tune in to my next blog post to find out


The answer was a simple travel voucher integrated into my digital marketing campaign. I started offering a cash voucher for free, with limited vouchers available. The amount was not too big that it would kill us, but not so small that it was insignificant to customers. We also had terms and conditions for voucher usage that would further soften the blow.

Before I move forward, let me make it clear that I disagree with long term discounting strategies. Long term discounting comes with negative effects such as devaluing your brand and building a customer base that aren’t loyal and easily swayed by the competition. Use your discounting strategies tactically, sparingly and proceed with caution. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look back at the campaign.

As of today, the campaign ran for 15 days. 45 people who previously did not know our brand came forward to request their vouchers and we received 37 destination specific quotation requests. As of yesterday, close to 20 new customers signed up for our tour packages and we have a pending sale confirmation from 8 new customers. Not taking into account our existing customers that used the voucher

The voucher did several things for us

  • It brought in new customers and sales
  • It nudged current customers that were on the fence to cross the fence
  • It created attention for our business
  • It expanded our prospect database

Why did we get the results that we got? I think it’s down to these reasons

  1. We ran paid ads for the voucher together with our travel packages (Digital marketing, product bundling)
  2. My staffs were prepared to answer questions about the voucher and take the opportunity to close the sale (Sales staff)
  3. My staffs were briefed to blab about the voucher to any Ali, Muthu, or Ah Chong that they came in contact with (Sales staff)
  4. We sent the vouchers to our prospects list that we collected from previous marketing efforts (Remarketing, WhatsApp marketing, Email marketing)
  5. We sent the vouchers to our existing customers and allowed them to use the voucher once as a token of appreciation for their support (Telemarketing, reselling, customer relations)
  6. We also asked favours from previous satisfied customers to help us send this voucher to their friends who were planning to go on trips (Referral marketing)
  7. We made sure that our website captured customer data and included a quotation request form so it would be easier for them to contact us (Customer list building, marketing via website)

With all that we planned, was the credit due to the voucher itself? I doubt so.

We got those results because we tried to integrate all our marketing touch points to make the selling process efficient, and by making the whole customer experience as smooth as we can. After all, marketing encompasses every part of your business that comes in contact with the customer.

Had the voucher stood alone, I don’t think we would’ve gotten anywhere near the results we had. I stand my ground, digital marketing works best only when you integrate it into your overall marketing efforts

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you if you have similar stories to share

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