Congratulations, you have landed a job! It s obvious that the news of having landed your first, second or 10th job as a freelancing photographer or videographer will get you excited and nervous at the same time. But what comes next? Here is your 5-steps guide on crucial previous research and information gathering.
The first emotional high is usually immediately followed by the arrival of first doubts, questions and fears. How do I act professionally; will I be able to deliver the work the client expected? Ask yourself why your client would have given you the job in the first place if he was not of the opinion you would be a good fit. As the client has never worked with you before, it is evident that he took a risk., which is exactly what is what is making you anxious.
The good news is that every risk in disappointing a client’s expectations automatically comes with the chance to exceed these expectations, which where previous information gathering comes in. Especially in destination marketing, knowing your customer’s expectations is key. By research I don’t mean endless data collection based on statistics, numbers and historical research. To help narrowing down this overwhelming word research, I have structured it in leading questions.
1. Who is your client and what does he stand for?
This could be a real estate company that sales high-end housing, a local NGO fighting for the protection of endangered species or an alternative Surf-and-Yoga-Camp for lonely souls and backpackers. We are focusing on destination marketing, so we are likely talking of hotels, national tourism boards or travel agencies etc.
2. Where does your client stand and where would he like to be in the future?
I’d like to emphasise the importance of this point, because understanding the difference between the pre-existing condition and the aimed for future goals means you understand what your client expects you to come up with. Basically, all he wants is a promotional product that can boost him from the position he is in now to where he would like to stand in the future. (Of course, some clients might not want to change anything and prefer to just defend or promote their current market position and reputation, but these are rather exceptions.)
3. Who is your client’s target group?
Working in destination marketing you are most likely working for a client who is equally offering some sort of product to his clients. In this sense, you as the content creator will have to think around the corner. Marketing a tourism destination means presenting a place in it’s most appealing way, to let it shine and to make tourists want to immediately book their flights to come visit. The truth is that you won’t be able to catch everyone’s attention and interest at the same time.
Instead, you should focus on the type of tourist, that would be interested in the type of destination you are promoting. Given the example of the Surf-and-Yoga Camp we visited in Morocco a few month ago, you are aiming to attract young, social and active people, who are looking for a peaceful and communicative place to practise Yoga and surf and have a good time with others.
4. What are the destination’s strength (and weaknesses)?
To be able to provide this shining promotional product that is made to convert people’s opinion and win them over as potential future customers, we need to know our assets. This might sound very capitalistic, but I like to see destination marketing rather as a visualisation of the best experience they can get by travelling to this particular place. What advantage has the destination over another, why is the customer guaranteed an exceptional experience etc.
It is important to mention that strengths or assets don’t have to be material. Especially over the past decade, tourism destinations have been changing their strategy by focusing on sustainability and quality, authentic and unique experiences, instead of offering the largest swimming pool or the biggest variety of food on the all-inclusive-buffet.
5. How do I put my knowledge into practise?
Having completed basic information gathering on the destination you are going to create content for, you are almost ready to go. The last step, and the artist in us would probably say it is the most (and only) important one, is creativity. To decide how can meet the client’s needs not only from a theoretical point of view, but impress with a concept, video or design that is different, precise and eye-catching.
I know this seams like a lot of work, but apart from the last point information gathering is actually a rather simple process that will get even easier and fast with time. The pre-work is time-intense but will give you more confidence going into the job and applying for new jobs and bigger campaigns. For a more visual approach and case studies, check out our Media Kit and Vlog.
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