September 6, 2013

Cross Promotional Marketing – The Psychological Leap of Faith

Do you see the benefits in promoting what you may presently regard as your competition?

If you are a Visitor Attraction, do you see other Visitor Attractions as competitors?

The same question applies if you are part of a Destination Management Organisation – do you see other Destinations as competitors?

If so, you are caught in the ‘Captive Audience Trap’

From my own experience in the vast majority of cases I have come across in our beautiful country, there seems to be a natural fear of Cross Promotional Marketing.

However by analysing their key objectives, most Marketers will see that there may be a more reassuring way to look at things as I will try to explain here.

Standard Strategic Marketing Objectives:

  1. Increase Revenues
  2. Increase Brand Awareness and Brand Value
  3. Improve Customer Satisfaction

We all know that success relies on a compelling reason for the Customer to decide to buy a product or service.

I like to look upon this as a sequence of dominoes:-

  1. Make sure your product and/or service is good quality
  2. Develop good marketing materials
  3. Decide upon the best means of reaching your target customer
  4. Ensure you have a compelling reason for the customer to buy


Basic human principals drive people to make purchasing decisions, so let’s take a few examples:-


  1. I have finally arrived ‘on holiday’, I have money in my pocket and I want to have fun.

What is there to do?

2. I am hungry and I’d like to grab a snack/go for a meal/enjoy a drink with some friends.

Where is the nearest Carry Out/Restaurant/Pub?

3. I want to go to Scotland for my holidays – I am a backpacker.

What is there to see and do and how can I get accommodation?

4. I am at a Visitor Attraction which I enjoyed very much and I have another 3 free days here.

Is there another Museum/Art Gallery/Fun Experience I can enjoy?

5. I am in Fort William, heading to Glasgow and am travelling via Tyndrum.

What’s going on in Loch Lomond area and can I get a room for the night?

One in every 4 people plan both their travel and things to do in great detail, whilst the majority –  75% of us book nothing at all, accommodation alone or activities alone. Part of the fun of travelling is to leave something to the last minute to enjoy – whether that’s accommodation (backpackers), a meal (most of us) or activities (weather and time dependent).

Bearing in mind that the aim of this article is to consider the Cross-Promotional opportunities for Marketing we should remind ourselves that the customer will choose according to their own personal plans, their budget, their likes/dislikes and then make an assessment of the quality of the offerings available.

So I would ask you to consider the possibility of the following scenario if it were available to all visitors across Scotland.

A tourists’ main aim in coming to our beautiful country is to sample our culture, enjoy our scenery and history and experience all that is on offer along the way. We therefore have a large population of people moving around the country at any one time (granted some are on bus tours which are following rigid schedules, however the majority are mobile).

From a customer’s perspective, it makes 100% sense for us to inform them what’s on offer both in our Destination and elsewhere.

So if we can view the country like the wheel of a bike, with hubs and spokes; the hub being their current destination or business and the spokes being the routes to other destinations or businesses in their area, then with a positive effort from each to promote the other then the overall traffic will increase. It’s a bit like stimulating the economy – the government will encourage people to keep spending.

For example, if someone visits Stirling Castle – believe it or not, the most frequently asked question is ‘What else is there to see in Stirling?’. Well the most common answer is of course ‘The Wallace Monument’. That works well…locally, within attractions which have a commercial incentive to cross-promote. Not surprisingly, it also works well for visitor attractions all across the country…because people travel.

Finally and most surprisingly, the same rule applies for recommendations of accommodation, eating out and entertainment. Different people have different tastes and everyone has a social network. So just like chain mail, recommendations travel. If someone eats at your restaurant tonight and then eats at your main competitors tomorrow night and both experiences result in a couple getting married then very soon a family will be spending a lot of summers in your town.

It’s simply a Collective Psychological Leap of Faith.

ADS are currently rolling out a network of interactive touchscreens across Scotland and the UK with the above philosophy in mind. Thankfully there are now several Destinations who are embracing the synergies and increased revenues which local and national Cross Promotional Marketing can deliver.


By Campbell Cromar



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