Another disadvantage of a media relations campaign is that the link between the marketing message and the purchase decision is often distant. The message relies on planting the seed that may evolve into a purchase decision rather than other methods that might rely more on direct selling. The direct selling role, however, is more for individual hotels and conference centers -- the role of the Convention and Visitor's Bureau is more loosely promotional.
Another disadvantage of a media relations program is that the CVB does not directly target the decision-makers. Part of the issue is that the decision-makers are hard to reach. Not only may they be in other countries, but there could be multiple decision-makers within any given firm. Without knowing who the decision makers are, it may be difficult to fully understand the key decision drivers. There is no good way to evaluate the success of the media relations program, because the program is so far removed from the actual purchase decision. Any marketing program, of any type, should be designed so that it can be evaluated. With a media relations program, it will be almost impossible to quantify the impact that the program has. This is complicated by the long time lag in planning such events -- some can be planned for over a year. A different method of promotion may have better feedback mechanisms.
The other options are to attend trade shows and to organize familiarization trips. Attending trade shows can be advantageous because the CVB can focus on certain industries, in this case the finance and insurance industries. These industries, however, do not have trade shows with the same frequency as manufacturing and consumer products industries do. In addition, the cost of attending these shows is high, as the CVB would need to fly members to staff these shows.
There are similar problems with familiarization trips. While these trips do allow decision-makers to see the city for itself, many such decision makers are already familiar with Zurich because of its status as one of Europe's financial capitals. In addition, there is a high cost associated with flying representatives of dozens of companies to the city and putting them up in hotels, running tours and all of the other elements of familiarization trips. The high cost and lack of necessity make this option relatively unattractive.
The Convention and Visitor's Bureau of Zurich has determined that it wants to increase the city's MICE business. Zurich is established as a financial hub but cost and occupancy issues have hindered its MICE business. The city has decided that the high costs make it a differentiated player. Its primary target market consists of financial industry firms because that is the city's main industry and because those firms can afford to host their meetings in Zurich. The marketing campaign is going to begin with a media relations campaign to boost the number of internal meetings that take place in Zurich. This capitalizes on the city's reputation and direct air links with almost every other major financial hub in the world.
A media relations campaign has the benefit of piggybacking on the favorable media coverage that already exists for Zurich. Media is needed to bring the message to the key decision makers, who are not only difficult to identify directly but are scattered all over the world. The marketing message will be to spread the idea that Zurich should be considered as a site for internal meetings. A position will be created to manage the campaign, including the provision of support for news agencies to operate in Zurich. Creating direct links with major financial media outlets will give Zurich a greater opportunity to influence the messages relating to the city and its business environment.
There are risks involved in the strategy, but overall the strategy is designed to take advantage of Zurich's strengths as a destination, including its reputation in the industry. The biggest risk is that using an intermediary to carry the message could result in the message being lost or diluted. Additionally, there are few if any direct feedback mechanisms available to measure the success of this campaign.
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