Larry the Ad Man's Blog

I hope you learn from my small business marketing and advertising tips.

"Advertising is to trade what Steam is to machinery" Thomas Cook.
It was an honor to be nominated for 2011 Canadian Weblog Awards.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cruising.. a real life marketing case study!

On a recent cruise aboard the Celebrity Millenium, I witnessed a well orchestrated marketing machine from start to finish. It was fascinating. If you have never been on a cruise, understand that the advertising to get you to book a cruise is only the tip of the "Iceberg"..... OK, so that was easy, but three nights in a row I heard Celine Dion's Titanic "My heart will go on" as we left port so they deserved that... Once on board its a fascinating mix of bending over backwards to serve you, so that you come back and pulling out all the stops to up sell you on everything from Fountain Pop to Faberge eggs. Yes they did have one on board. They have 4 channels on the television that are infomercials for your next cruise, the next ports "preferred" jewelry stops that offer the Celebrity "guarantee" and the Excursions, or tours they sell on board. Each day they deliver an itinerary of events on board complete with a 4 page map that tells you where the preferred retailers are. And one day, my wife, and every lady on board was delivered a personalized invitation to a special discount jewelry event. All the marketing "tricks" are pulled out from direct mail, community newsletter, television and sampling. They have a captive market and they know it. But they do want you back, so the food and service is always number one.
It is a delicate dance of service for money and outright carnival huckster that leaves most passengers in a frenzy of excitement from start to finish. One of the busiest places on the ship was the jewelry and souvenir shop area. Again, it was fascinating. One of the area's of service that disappointed my was the WiFi service on board. They charged 65 cents US per minute to access the Internet on board and only in certain Hot Spots on the ship, not in room. As I am sure all who read this will know, the Internet is a place to offer free services and information, like this Blog, in hopes to market your product or service to the world. I think Celebrity, and perhaps other cruise lines are a missing a FABULOUS opportunity to market themselves online by offering FREE WiFi in which you have to view a small 30 second or 1 minute commercial, and use their portal to upload personal photo's that a border is added advertising the ship, the line and a link to the website or facebook page. In fact, they could even drive people to upload pictures to a special facebook page for their cruise. Who wouldn't want to see a happy family on a cruise to market their ship? or several happy customers?
The opportunity and ideas are endless for an innovative cruise marketing team. I am certain that there will be many changes in cruising in the next 5 years as they try and market to a younger audience. BUT don't get caught on assuming the seniors market is non Internet savvy. MANY of the folks I encountered on this ship had MUCH more impressive technology than I had. Nice camera's, shooting hundreds of photo's a day and downloading them on their laptops. It is growing. The line that offers the best service there will not only capture good feelings amongst passengers, it will dominate the Internet. Remember more than half of all searches are done on facebook. I hope you can find a nugget of info here that can help you with the delicate balance of up selling and over serving. The cruise industry has been perfecting it for years. Until next time I am Larry "The Ad Man" Next stop, Sunday and The Calgary Minor Soccer Administrators Symposium where I talk to clubs about Marketing and Advertising.

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