Gathan D. Borden

Marketing guy working in the tourism industry, disguised under the title of "Director, Brand Marketing & Advertising" - I share my thoughts on a myriad of topics.

6 Ways To Become a Better Tourism Marketer

Having been a tourism marketer for 6 years, I’ve learned quite a bit of knowledge that I’d like to share with you on becoming a better marketer. Often times, we seek books or conferences to help us become better, when in actuality we can learn from people right under our noses. I felt the need to share my thoughts with you, as I have been asked recently how I do what I do - well here’s your answer, at least most of it: 
Understand the sales process. In order to market anything, you need to understand the sales process and what sales people actually do. One of the most valuable things I learned was from previous sales environments, and that is ‘sales people always need something’…like yesterday. Understanding the sales process for your organization, helps you better plan a strategy around your organizational goals and objectives. Sales efforts are tactical, whereas marketing should be more strategic. In tourism, you need to know what your convention and group tour sales people are doing and saying on the trade show floor and during client appointments, so that you can enhance their sales efforts. You need to know how long their sales process is from prospecting to booking, so that together you can set forth a winning strategy. You don’t need to be a sales person to understand how it works, all you need is an open brain and an open door.
Know your consumer experience. For any marketer, you need to know how a consumer will experience your product. From planning to purchase, you should know what the consumer is encountering on their journey to your product. In tourism, we know potential travelers visit 20+ sites before they make a decision to visit. We also know that they have numerous choices for where to book that trip. But it’s the in-destination experience that tourism marketers need to know backwards and forwards. That type of knowledge is vital so that you know where and when you want to send travelers when they are in your destination. Face it, every destination has a story that needs to told, and every destination has a story that needs to remain on the shelf. As a marketer, your job is simply to tell the best story - point, blank, period.
Invest in time management tools. Most savvy marketers have their hands in several aspects of the organization, such as analytics, creative design, project management, public relations and social media. In order for you to be an effective marketer, you need to be able to dabble in all of these areas and more, while still getting things done. Time management tools like Things or Evernote, are a great way to prioritize your tasks, write down ideas, save articles and store contacts. In tourism, we are all faced with increasing workloads and decreasing resources, so you should always look for ways to Invest in something that helps you do your job more efficiently.
Set aside time to daydream. Marketers are somewhat of an odd breed, because they don’t think like normal people. They should be able to see a product for what it is, and also for what it can be. It is essential that you set aside time to daydream about the ‘what if’. Schedule time for you to think about where you want your product to go, and how you’re going to get it there. (HINT: you can’t do that with people constantly in your ear or in your office). Block out time on your calendar once a month to just write down as many ideas as you can, or take a group of co-workers to lunch to brainstorm for 2 hours. I can tell you from experience, that good ideas are hard to come by, but if you produce enough good ideas you’ll make it look easy - and that can only be done if you set aside time.
Become a community resource. Marketing solves problems, period. Marketers should be a resource for whatever industry you are involved in. Offering up advice, provides trust and goodwill, and we know that no one purchases anything from people they do not trust. My friends always ask me for advice on where to eat and go in the city, and I love that. This type of resourcefulness is huge, because it puts a face to the city that they might not otherwise recognize. It also builds up community awareness to help make the destination marketing organization more relevant in the local community.
Allow industry colleagues to be your sounding board. I know this is sometimes hard to do in some industries because of competition, but this is one of the best tools for any marketer. Being able to have an open and honest dialogue with peers who are dealing with the same issues as you, and being able to discuss how to solve them is critical. While there is competition in tourism, through my experience, I feel that we all are working together for the betterment of the industry as a whole and not just for our destinations. Our open conversations lead to future successes for us, our organization and the travel industry.
Hopefully, these tips will help you become a better marketer, and if there is anything you’d like to add, I’m all ears.

#TransformationTuesday: Get Yo Mind Right!

Over the past several weeks, we have all bared witness to the challenge videos that have gone viral. It started with the Cold Water Challenge, and now has morphed into more serious and potentially deadly challenges like the Fire Challenge and Sleep Challenge. As I see these videos being shared across the internet, I always wonder why people continue to put themselves in harm’s way over a challenge that was NEVER REALLY issued to them. When I think of a challenge, I always think back to that episode on “The Cosby Show” where Cliff is in Rudy’s tap dance class and the instructor, Mr. Sandman, challenges Cliff to a competition. The instructor performs a tap dance move, and then challenges Cliff to do better - it is a classic episode that you can view here. But when you look at that challenge, it was all innocent and all in fun. It was a challenge that was simple - try and do better than me. Now if Cliff was the right person, it was a challenge that would make him better at his craft of tap dancing. Growing up, we always issued challenges on who could make the most free throws, throw the ball the farthest or who could run the fastest. Whatever happened to those types of challenges?

With these Fire Challenge and Sleep Challenge videos, I wonder why and how we came to be a copy cat society. And the fact that we are copy cats to ignorant acts baffles me! The people in these videos need to be transformed in the mind, and there is a remedy for that - it’s called The Bible. The verse that comes to mind for me is Romans 12:2, and the King James Version reads as this:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Now, I am one who has always had issues understanding the King James Version on some verses, so let me share with you the simplicity of the New Living Translation for this verse. It reads as this:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

I could end this post right after that verse, as it is self-explanatory. But for anyone reading this who is contemplating doing one of these challenge videos or has children who may be influenced to do so, share this verse with them. Quit trying to be someone else, but instead, be who God created you to be so that you can live life according to His will and receive your blessings in abundance.

If you agree with what I’ve said, all I ask is that your share with a friend or two and let’s see if we can help change the mindset of our society together - be blessed.

The 3 Z’s of Success: One trait that all successful people have in common is that they know how to focus on the end goal. They love what they do and their energy is contagious to those who surround them, and as a result they help others become successful too.

The 3 Z’s of Success: One trait that all successful people have in common is that they know how to focus on the end goal. They love what they do and their energy is contagious to those who surround them, and as a result they help others become successful too.

The 3 Y’s of Success: Success is all about you. It depends on what YOU do for yourself and what YOU can do for others. If it’s done right, someone will do something for YOU.

The 3 Y’s of Success: Success is all about you. It depends on what YOU do for yourself and what YOU can do for others. If it’s done right, someone will do something for YOU.

The 3 X’s of Success: Take a long look in the mirror, and don’t be afraid to examine yourself - down to the core. Once you TRULY know yourself, you won’t be a copy of someone else or allow your surroundings to influence who you become. P. S. Go look up xenomorphic and let it marinate, I promise it will bless you!

The 3 X’s of Success: Take a long look in the mirror, and don’t be afraid to examine yourself - down to the core. Once you TRULY know yourself, you won’t be a copy of someone else or allow your surroundings to influence who you become. P. S. Go look up xenomorphic and let it marinate, I promise it will bless you!

The 3 W’s of Success: The pathway to success is a war, so pray for wisdom to make better decisions. That same wisdom will provide you with the willpower to fight off the enemy.

The 3 W’s of Success: The pathway to success is a war, so pray for wisdom to make better decisions. That same wisdom will provide you with the willpower to fight off the enemy.

The 3 V’s of Success: There is a value associated with everything, so how much is the pursuit of success worth to you? How much do you value yourself and your relationships? Stop playing the victim, and blaming others for your failures, but instead write your vision and chase after it.

The 3 V’s of Success: There is a value associated with everything, so how much is the pursuit of success worth to you? How much do you value yourself and your relationships? Stop playing the victim, and blaming others for your failures, but instead write your vision and chase after it.

The 3 U’s of Success: Always find a way to be useful to people. Understand their needs and bring something to the table that makes you unique.

The 3 U’s of Success: Always find a way to be useful to people. Understand their needs and bring something to the table that makes you unique.

The 3 T’s of Success: Technology is the needle in the fabric of business. Learn to love it, but reach back to teach others. Being tenacious is a building block for success.

The 3 T’s of Success: Technology is the needle in the fabric of business. Learn to love it, but reach back to teach others. Being tenacious is a building block for success.

The 3 S’s of Success: Everything in business is a sell, from ideas and products, to finance and operations, you’ve got to make someone believe in it. But in making the “sell”, be as simple as possible - sacrifice is just part of the game we call success.

The 3 S’s of Success: Everything in business is a sell, from ideas and products, to finance and operations, you’ve got to make someone believe in it. But in making the “sell”, be as simple as possible - sacrifice is just part of the game we call success.