Rural Tourism Marketing Secret: Step Into the Mind Of Your Customer

by Joanne Steele on April 19, 2010

Rural tourism business marketing is not easy. Marketing, product development, customer service, and everything else are usually handled by the same one or two or three people.The Living Brain

Marketing requires a shift in thinking, because unlike everything else you do, it’s not about your business, it’s always about your customer.

Its about your customer’s needs and desires and pain and wishes and expectations. I know I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it many more times in the future, because it’s a very hard concept to absorb.


If your marketing shows your customer how you’ll help her solve her problems, or helps him fulfill his wishes, you get him or her on YOUR rafting trip rather than your competitor.

You both have wonderful creative trips with great food and lots of exciting extras. You get inside the mind of your customer and describe how these great things make his life easier and more fulfilling, and your competitor wastes copy space describing their cooked fish and grand yoga instructors, guess whose going to get the business. Right. You.

I know that this is hard. You need to create all those wonderful options to stay competitive and all you want to do is talk about them. And you can. But you need to get into the mind of your customer and talk about them from her perspective.

Historic sites and comfortable mattresses and sustainable practices are everywhere. When you market your version of these amenities from your customer’s perspective, you are making an effort to connect personally.

You’re acknowledging that your services aren’t for everyone. (They never were, but the old, “blast it everywhere and hope for the best” marketing methods gave you the illusion that they were.)

You’re speaking directly to customers who feel connected to your message and your business. This is long tail marketing at its best.

You’re not wasting time online trying to show up everywhere, just the places  you’ve learned that your customers will most likely find you when they need you.

You continue to learn about your customer by constantly interacting with her online and offline, listening for clues for better ways to connect and to serve.

This is about embracing the new networked economy.

photo by DerrickT

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