Being truly impressed by a new experience is a rare and wonderful thing. But, on our summer holiday to Lanzarote it happened to me.
We Evan-Cooks are not the most adventurous of travellers. This has not always been the case; before we had kids my husband and I took a year-long, round-the-world trip where we enjoyed kayaking, sand surfing, diving with wild dolphins, scuba diving, catamaran sailing, etc, etc.
Since we became parents – not so much. It could be because I’m permanently terrified of the boys getting injured, or, because as parents of young boys, when we go on holiday, we just need to CHILL OUT.
This year something odd occurred. On day four of our trip, while reclining on sun loungers, watching the boys swim and reading our books we realised we were a little bit BORED. (First time this has ever happened.)
For years we have been desperate for our kids to learn to swim so that they could pop in and out of the water independently, but now that it has finally happened, we felt the need of something to do (yes, we are contrary people). So, up jumped my husband, and in a short meeting with the hotel concierge, he booked us in for an ‘adventure.’
And, so it was, that, with images of ‘K-19, The Widowmaker’ spiralling across my mind (ever the neurotic parent), we ended up travelling 30 metres below the sea in a submarine. Not a pretend, faked-up submarine like the one at (spoiler alert) Legoland. An actual, soup to nuts, real, YELLOW submarine.
And, it was super-fun.
I’m not going to give you all the details about the super-fun here, because this (I have to keep reminding myself) is a marketing blog. It WAS amazing, but, so was the marketing and that’s what you are here to read about. The skill with which they delivered the experience was SO good, that I realised while I was bobbing about down there, I simply had to tell you folks about it.
(If you want to know more about the actual submarine ride, catch me in the pub sometime.)
So, what did they do that impressed me so much? Three excellent marketing strategies:
- They applied a dot-to-dot approach to marketing as outlined in this post.
When we arrived in the airport we noticed an advert for Lanzarote Submarine Safaris. When we searched online, we found an article from the Daily Telegraph about ‘things to do in Lanzarote’, it was listed there too. When we visited the hotel concierge they had leaflets about the submarine and the guest services personnel were totally clued up about what was involved. Any one of these things on its own would not have been enough to make us book the trip. All of them combined: dot-to-dot marketing – Bob’s your uncle, having never wanted to go in a submarine before, we were suddenly desperate to get under the sea.
- They managed to make it feel like an exclusive experience, while still demonstrating that lots of people had done it before, thus making us feel ‘safe’.
This company had a really clear set of brand values, and they very clearly communicated them to us. They wanted the trip to feel exclusive, but they also wanted us to feel safe. (Very important when mothers are as neurotic as me.) In order to prove it was safe they had to show that they’d taken hundreds of trips, ALL successful, and yet still make me feel like I was part of a ‘special’ group of people who’d been lucky enough to have the chance to do it. They did this by clearly outlining their approach to safety in all their marketing, and adding nice little touches – a fancy coach to pick us up, a beautifully printed certificate to show we’d done the trip.
- They made it super easy for us to spend more money than we planned.
It wasn’t a cheap trip, but even so we happily spent more money when we got there! We might be daft fools, but they had allowed enough time for us to hang about in their pleasantly fitted out (and air-conditioned) shop and café beforehand, so we bought ourselves a drink, and afterwards, so we purchased the well-taken photograph of our family on board the sub, and some postcards. True, we are suckers for a good postcard, but they followed two golden marketing rules here: instead of trying to find new customers, sell more stuff to the customers you already have, and, make the buying experience a really pleasant one.
As well as ALL of this, we also learned a LOT about fish, and we didn’t perish in a shipping disaster – a truly great day out.
Read more: if you enjoyed reading this Marvellous Marketing Spotter’s Guide post you might enjoy this one too.