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Learning from Island Marketing

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I have a few days off and am in sunny Cancun until next Monday. Though Cancun may not officially be an island, there are several things that I noticed in common among every trip to an island or resort area that I have the chance to take – including this one.

It seems the rules for island marketing are unique, but common across countries and cultures. Here are just a few things I found interesting about island marketing that I will be taking home and considering as I plan new campaigns and efforts for clients:

  1. Own the category – no matter how small. On an island or in a remote place, the easiest way to stand out is to do something that no one else does. Having your own niche as the only underwater tour operator that teaches basket weaving may not be interesting for everyone, but at least you will stand out in a sea of sameness.
  2. Pay later, take it now. The guys walking along the beach selling necklaces and other trinkets have only a moment to capture your attention. Yet most beachgoers stay here at the resort for a week or more tend to stay in the same location and visit the same beach everyday. Giving them the product today and letting them pay later ensures you complete the sale and do not miss your chance.
  3. Be the first to ask and do not let go. Anyone who has visited a resort town will be familiar with the phenomenon on fhe persistent salesperson who first asks you to buy something and follows you along until they can finish the sale. It is like spam, but in real life. Yet the difference is that if you are seeking a service, or willing to buy, the first person to ask will usually close the deal. And if you aren’t, hopefully they are smart enough to get the cue and move on.
  4. Integrate with hotels and get exclusivity. In a city where most tourists are coming in on “all inclusive” packages, the hotels the the rulers of the itinerary. For most, they will book their tour packages and organize other services through the hotel. The businesses that have arrangements with the hotels are often the only ones that get called, creating a sort of monopoly that drives commerce on islands. Sound a little like Google to anyone?
  5. Offer the full package. Following from the comment about the all-inclusive packages above, most services here are offered with everything you need. If you book a snorkeling tour, you get the snorkels, equipment, lunch and transfers by bus from your hotel. Contrast that experience with that of purchasing consumer electronics or toys where accessories, batteries and required cords are often sold separately.

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