It’s Good to Be a Stranger in a Strange Land

We should all play at being a tourist from time to time. But the question is, are you going to be the tourist who gets sucked into all the tourist-trap locations and activities — with cheesy souvenirs galore — or are you going to be the tourist who does some research and hunts down all the local hot spots, exploring neighborhoods and connecting with the community?

VisitAllthePlacesWe should all play at being a tourist from time to time.

But the question is, are you going to be the tourist who gets sucked into all the tourist-trap locations and activities — with cheesy souvenirs galore — or are you going to be the tourist who does some research and hunts down all the local hot spots, exploring neighborhoods and connecting with the community?

Hint: It’s a better experience usually if you go with Option No. 2. And the same rings true when you play tourist in the professional world.

Last Thursday I attended the first day of the NY Travel Fest in Brooklyn (my favorite borough), which was cool for two reasons:

  1. Travel is awesome, and getting to talk about it — and how people market traveling — is doubly awesome.
  2. It’s fascinating being a fly on the wall of a world that isn’t your own.

As we explore more of the vertical industries within the realm of marketing, me and my fellow editors are finding ways to learn more about them in any way we can. So when Roni Weiss, the founder and organizer of the NY Travel Fest invited me up, my response was an enthusiastic “yes!”

During a day packed with sessions and networking, I absorbed some interesting things that are specific to travel, as well as things that not only resonated with me — as someone who writes about marketing — but with the larger marketing population.

Here are some of my favorites:

• Travel is an “Industry of Relationships.” I had never heard that phrase before, but really, I think it extends to all marketing. Or at least the good stuff. We want to have connections with our customers, and if you think of that connection as a relationship, then perhaps you’ll take better care of it.

• Different platforms allow you to tell different stories. Panelists during the session titled “The Evolving Media Landscape: Perspectives on How to Maximize Your Media Interactions” explained that first you must consider the type of story you want to tell, and then figure out the platform that fits it best.

  • Do you have a lot of images to share? Consider Instagram for its editorial look and feel.
  • Want to bring your audience into the moment? Think about using Periscope to record live video and have someone maintain the live chat.

And these are just social platforms to consider … the possibilities are endless for storytelling, ranging from video to print content and everything in between.

• Align yourself with influencers. You’ve heard it a million times before, but here it is again. Influencers — who often identify as social media-savvy bloggers — can help you tell your story through organic content creation. Since they’re outside your organization, they can bring fresh ideas to the table and help you create an unforgettable campaign. (Don’t believe me? Check out the #WurstAdventure). However, be sure to thoroughly ask yourself why you want to work with an influencer and which influencer in particular.

• You can’t ignore negative reviews. Genna Gold of Yelp brought this up, and explained that a study showed people found no response from a business to a negative review was worse than if the business responded in a not-so-polite way (e.g., calling someone a jerk for writing a negative review). And with 92 percent of consumers reading online reviews to determine whether a business is a good business, according to Bright Local, you can’t afford to ignore the review space, no matter what your business is!

• You need strong visual anchors. Ask yourself: What’s the story … what are the visuals … what are people connecting to? Humans are a visual bunch, and we respond to visual storytelling.

30th Street StationMTA subway seatWelcome to Brooklyn
Brooklyn Bridge
Rocco's Tacos Chandelier
Negroni Pie from Butter & Scotch
See? Using my Instagram photos I’ve managed to tell a quick story about my day in Brooklyn, instead of writing about it for 200 to 400 words.

So go ahead … be a stranger in a strange land when you’re able. You never know what you’re going to learn, who you’re going to meet and what slice of pie you’re going to have.