Who really loves NYC? Sit in Time Square for any period of time and you are for sure to spot a tourist or two. Shooting fish in a barrel really, but what I noticed was that the international tourist population shifted. I understood why Europe was flooding our stores in 2008, cause when 5th Ave is costing you the same as what a trip to Tijuana would, why wouldn’t you take advantage? But when the euro dropped and everyone was supposedly broke I still noticed larger amounts of foreign tourists and just as many shopping bags. This time they weren’t European, but that didn’t mean they were any less likely to drop some serious cash on NYC.
This switch and constant movement had me puzzled but I figure it goes with the territory of tourism. Until I read an article recently about how NYC & Company, a Bloomberg affiliate, had generated a tourism marketing campaign. It didn’t target domestic tourists, but marketed to whichever country is on the come up financially. This explained clearly why there was a change each season in which international visitors were in town. It wasn’t the natural selection of tourism, it was marketing at it’s finest.
With a goal to reach 50 million tourists annually, Bloomberg and NYC & Company started a marketing campaign to entice the world to want NYC. Strategically targeting countries where the middle class was making more and willing to travel further. Starting in 2010 they kicked off their ad campaigns in Brazil and Australia, but did so through strategic partnerships with corporations with a vested interest (American Airlines, American Express, At&T, Travelocity, Nickelodeon). It was successful; cause what campaign wouldn’t succeed with Dora the Explorer and half price airfare in their corner.
No matter the corporate connections, and access, this was a smart campaign. It went into emerging markets that didn’t have a history of traveling to the northeast of America, and ushered in a new era of travel. Success was achieved not because of the money that could be spent, but by the co-branding connections and the avenue’s in which it was marketed. Leveraging the vested interests of other companies has led to the success of the campaign is probably driving tourist numbers closer to 50 million than some ad in a magazine or newspaper.
The reason I point out this campaign is because it capitalizes on some of the marketing strategies I hold dear to my own heart. Keep your eye on the future, always look for what is next and not what was. Be informed about your product or client and search for others that carry the same value or hold the same goals(making money is not always the best thing to have in common). Co-branding is a strong platform to get your message to those whom it is meant for, so be prepared to work around the goal to reach the target.