Kotler’s 4Ps of marketing are a staple of business education. We speak frequently of product, price, place and promotion strategies – especially as they relate to consumer packaged goods.
Those in the tourism know are also familiar with Morrison’s expansion into the 8P’s of services marketing (2010):
- Physical Evidence
Programming pertains to customer-oriented activities (special events, festivals, or special activities) designed to increase customer spending or length of stay, or to add to the appeal of packages.
Recently I discovered a practical example of programming from the retail sector: the MEC race series. These series of either road or trail race events are hosted by different MEC stores across Canada, tying together the retail experience with online communications and in-person brand experiences to create a sense of community while increasing sales.
As a road race participants are encouraged to purchase a bundle of roughly six races for a one-time fee of approximately $72. Prior to each race, emails are triggered reminding participants to come and pick up race packages, with a Saturday-long in-store option. For those who pick up a package (essentially a race bib and some verbal info) in-store, a 10% savings coupon is presented (valid that day only). I used mine to buy rain pants for my little cheering section.
The race gives MEC another reason to reach out to shoppers, and furthers their mission and values around inspiring and enabling everyone to lead active outdoor lifestyles.
But let’s get back to those rain pants. By incentivizing me to purchase with a same-day discount, MEC is ensuring I don’t go out and troll Craiglist for a couple of used pairs, cashing in on the convenience of having me on location. That’s over $70 in additional sales, and a much more targeted series of communications than traditional media (or even most digital and direct channels).
So far the events have been very well run. Kudos to the MEC team for standing in the freezing rain cheering us all on at Sunday’s first race. And kudos to their marketing team for ensuring that all the branding, from the kilometre markers to the race arch itself, proudly displayed the bold green MEC square.
Many tourism businesses from attractions to entire destinations are increasingly relying on programming to fill the shoulder season. Dine Out Vancouver is a popular example.
Do you have an example of programming at your business or in your destination? Share it in the comments!
Note: Despite my love for all things MEC, as with all posts on Tourism Nerd I receive absolutely zero compensation for writing about them.