Rural Business Marketing – Using the New 5 P’s to Make Money

by Joanne Steele on November 23, 2010


Yesterday I started a 3 part series on The New 5 P’s of Marketing for Rural. Here is Part 2.

No Stopping, End signTom Patty’s New 5 P’s of Marketing is more than a catchy update of the 5 guiding principles of marketing. They are a way for you to reorient your thinking, and build an active marketing strategy plan to make more money.

As I said yesterday, the biggest mistake rural business owners make is confusing advertising and marketing. If you’re still confused, go back and read yesterday’s introduction to this series.

Today, let’s examine two of Tom Patty’s “P’s”


Paradox:  A statement or proposition which, on the face of it, seems self-contradictory, absurd, or at variance with common sense. Though, upon investigation or when explained, it may prove to be well founded or essentially true.
– Oxford English Dictionary

Paradox – It is the best of times it is the worst of times.

Understanding how Paradox  is at work in rural tourism can save you buckets of money. It is the basis of the new interest in rural tourism destinations.

People are craving authentic experience.  They want you but they don’t want to have to give up anything to have you.

They love the idea of shopping local, but still rely on box stores for low prices.

They hate being sold something, especially through advertising, but they will follow the advice of their 700 close personal “friends” on Facebook or Foursquare, or act on the word of perfect strangers on Trip Advisor.

Here is the biggest Paradox of them all:  Small towns and are dying at the same time rural tourism and small town authentic experience is becoming one of the biggest attractors to travelers.

The opportunity within the paradox:

People from urban areas want the experience of rural life and locally owned rural business, what we offer, but they want familiar amenities like espresso.  They want to have an adventure and a pillow top mattress. They love historic settings but want access to their G-3 or G-4 network on their I-Phone or Android.

Look at how you can update your small town and rural business to address the rural tourism Paradox. Instead of a million dollar resort, help your local motels update their guestrooms.

Make sure that familiar amenities like good coffee are available  – expresso machines are way cheaper than whole town makeovers. In Tulelake, California, you can get a latte in the local farm supply, while you shop for the same things the locals are shopping for – a Paradox.

Put your energy into updating your broadband access. It is good for your citizens and great for your rural tourism industry. Quaint and historic are in. Being cut off from the digital world is NOT – another Paradox.

People pay attention to Facebook friends in the same way they respond in face to face relationships. This is a huge opportunity for rural business that has little advertising money to compete for the eyes, ears and hearts of prospective visitors. We can establish relationships and trust online by providing information and assistance through Facebook, blogs, forums and review sites. Relationships turn into customers.

It’s easier to wrap your mind around these huge online relationship building factories like Facebook and Twitter if you think of those affinity groups and business pages as little villages of likeminded people. Your advice and information presented in these online villages are the same as loaning a tool to a neighbor or taking a meal to a sick friend.


Perspective:  The relation or proportion in which the parts of a subject are viewed by the mind. – Oxford English Dictionary

We tend to look at what we are trying to sell from our own perspective. We talk endlessly about what people can DO when they come to our rural tourism town, how historic we are, how exciting, thrilling, and a dozen other adjectives we are – all from our perspective.

Now, it’s more important than ever that everything is looked at from the customer’s perspective. From their perspective everything we have to offer is only important if it serves their needs.

Nobody NEEDS “historic” but they may need a memory of years gone by. They don’t NEED a guided hike, but they may need and desire an opportunity to challenge themselves in a new way.

Shifting your perspective to your customer is essential in an age when customers are using words expressing those needs to search online for ways to meet those needs – those ever important search or keywords in the Google search box.

Tom Patty says we need to constantly be asking ourselves what business we’re in. If we say we’re in the fishing guide or motel or restaurant business, we’re missing the point about perspective. Fishing guides, from the perspective of their customers are in the personal challenge business. Locally owned restaurants can be in anything from the comfort food from bygone days business to the taste of local delights business. Each is about serving and solving the needs and problems of their customers. Again, what are the needs that are driving our customers’ search for us.

Tom Patty suggests that we ask ourselves, ‘“What fundamental consumer need does my product or service satisfy?” And then ask ourselves, “How does my product satisfy these needs differently and better than my competitors?” In today’s environment, in order to be a victor instead of a victim, everyone must spend a lot of time and energy answering these questions — not once a year, when we do a marketing strategy plan, but everyday. This is the only way we can maintain a proper perspective.’

More about Paradox and Perspective in action:

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

THE BIG SECRET to Successfully Marketing your Small Tourism Business

Rural Tourism Marketing Tip: Know What Women Want


photo from Flickr by Anders Sandburg

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