Look at the long term
Before I dive into the topic, I must commend your paper. You have produced a very good product for a very long time. Keep it up; the country needs good newspapers.
I’ve been following the tourism and advertising of tourism in your area since two agencies were hired last year or so. I am an advertising agent with 17 years experience as an agency owner, experience in producing tourism advertising products for towns and entire countries. I also write about travel and will publish my second book about travel in 2002.
There were several red flags raised in the articles you published over the past few days that deserve in-depth scrutiny from a professional point of view. Why would I care? The answer is simple. I like Aspen and have enjoyed my time there.
Praco had a two-year plan. It was sound and the research, although boring and expensive, can set you on a positive course for decades. Changing the entire program at the halfway point will only cost you more money in the long run. Making minor adjustments along the way is normal. Dictating to an agency what will be and how it will be only stops creativity cold.
Committees must stop looking at the cost per hour, the short-term results and any attempt to bring too much inside. All this does is limit your outside eyes. Outside is where the buyers live.
What you pay is not nearly as important as what you get in return. Big results take time. The appearance of big results in a short-term is normally a false positive. Following a false positive only causes you problems later. Some places don’t recover from this kind of damage.
Finally, when anyone tells you that 975,000 hits on a dot-com are more valuable than 125,000 targeted direct mail pieces based on research, warning sirens should go off. Flag or banner ads on a dot-com are virtually worthless until the ground work has been laid.
Tourism is a finicky, tough sell. Tourism is not flowers, cars or music CD sales. It takes a lot of perception and years of producing tourism advertising to understand it. Destination images can change and wreck tourism, but a good agent with the freedom to create and the experience to know what to do with the creation will always make you better than you are now. How do you promote yourself if you don’t know yourself?
Best wishes to everyone in Aspen. It is a great place to spend some time.
David Ladewig, President
The Cambridge Agency, Inc.
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