Money, Marketing, Politics, and Oil | Bruce Turkel

I just read an article that outlined Florida congressman Meek’s plan to raise marketing dollars to promote tourism to Florida in the wake of the tragic BP oil spill:
“U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, a candidate in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, said $25 million set aside for advertising to lure tourists to Florida in the wake of the recent disastrous oil spill is not enough.”

“Meek told reporters Thursday that he sent a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward, asking for $75 million more to address efforts to encourage tourism.”

Like politics, money is the lifeblood of marketing. Without the budget to get your message out to as many people as possible, even a cogent, compelling marketing strategy can fall flat. And so I applaud Representative Meek for raising as much money for our state’s tourism industry as possible.

But once we have the money, it’s important to remember that we still need to have something to say. Simply telling consumers that Florida’s beaches are oil free won’t work. First of all, thanks to the economy and the competition, consumers had to be convinced to visit BEFORE the oil spill. Second, few consumers are going to believe anything the government or Visitor Industry tells them about the condition of our waters. And third, thanks to an appalling lack of knowledge of geography, once it’s announced that oil has made landfall anywhere in Florida (most likely in the Panhandle) many consumers will assume our entire almost 1,200 miles of coastline is fouled.

Let’s hope that as much time, effort and passion is put into building a cohesive marketing and creative strategy as is invested in raising money. After all, as Sun-Tzu wrote in the time of Confucius: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

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