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Marketing is a long-term relationship

May 03, 2016

Our client Discover Los Angeles recently launched a marketing campaign across TV, video, multiple digital tactics, and OOH.  As I don’t work directly with them, I got to experience it completely as a potential visitor – and it resonated with me so much that I booked a trip to the City of Angels and started a long-term relationship with the brand.

Of course, most Chicagoans at the start of spring - like myself - are searching for a quick getaway to somewhere sunny in order to avoid utter insanity come the inevitable late April snow storm. So, I was definitely in the market for a trip when Discover Los Angeles convinced me that L.A. was the somewhere sunny place for me.  

The first inspiration point was a commercial blaring from the living room while I made breakfast in the kitchen and waited for the local weatherman to tell me just how bitter the wind chill would be that day. It was the music that caused me to pause and look up. I had never heard the song before, but I liked it.

Even better were the visuals of a young couple laughing their way through an action-packed day of surfing, beach-side biking, shopping, eating, museum visiting, rooftop cocktail sipping and more. I knew that the couple was exploring Los Angeles, but not because they showed me the iconic Hollywood sign. Rather because a small note in the corner of the screen read “Shazam to win a trip to LA”.

Woman sitting on the beach

I wasn’t fast enough to “Shazam” the song, partly due to the fact that at 35 years old, I’m just outside of the upper-millennial audience of 25-34 year olds that Discover Los Angeles was targeting. This means my phone wasn’t in my hand (how Gen X of me!), and it means that I had to download Shazam, an app that will identify songs playing on nearly any device.

Being born in 1980 means living on the cusp of millennialism and Gen X’ism and relating – in some ways – to both generations. So, it was no surprise to me to that a commercial’s song and visuals attracted me, even though I was not immediately equipped to interact with the ad. The key here is that I wanted to learn more and took the initiative to do so.

I downloaded Shazam and searched for the Discover Los Angeles ad on YouTube, where I found the commercial and pressed the button. I entered to win the trip to L.A., thereby giving precious information to the data crunchers here at MBuy about who I am and when I watched the ad. And Voilà! Electric Love by BØRNS is now part of my Spotify playlists.

If I were a true millennial, I likely would have recognized the influential Instagrammers featured in the commercial and moved from Shazam to Instagram on my phone. Instead, I put my Gen X hat on and went to on my laptop. Here, as I explored neighborhoods like Culver City with its lineup of fantastic restaurants and Santa Monica with its lit-up pier, I officially moved from the dreaming stage to the planning stage.

But I hadn’t booked yet. And here’s where Discover Los Angeles got really smart.

Since I visited their website, I was retargeted with “Get Lost in Los Angeles” banner ads any time I perused travel-related content on my computer. Since I entered to win the trip on my phone, the same thing happened on my mobile device. When I popped into Whole Foods to pick up dinner on another chilly Chicago evening, I saw a bus shelter beckoning me to visit Hollywood, which made me think warm thoughts as I hustled home in my down jacket.

L.A. promotional sign

I booked my flight.

When I arrived in my somewhere sunny spring destination, I visited a lot of the places that the Discover Los Angeles website suggested. From a BBQ lunch in walkable Culver City, to a freemindfulnessawareness session at the Hammer Museum to dinner and trivia night at the Mud Hen Tavern in West Hollywood. I saw a sunset in Venice Beach (just like in the commercial!) and sipped cocktails at the Misfit in Santa Monica. I even posted my #LASTORY to Instagram and Twitter.

Woman looking at the Hollywood sign at sunset

It was a Discover Los Angeles commercial that first inspired me to visit L.A., but there were other, subtle touchpoints that encouraged me to actually book the trip. Perhaps most importantly, Discover Los Angeles earned my trust with a resourceful website that sent me to places worth tweeting about. And since they had earned my trust, I shared my trip and my user generated content with Discover Los Angeles – and they interacted with me right back.

Marketing done right establishes a long-term relationship that starts with inspiration and continues throughout planning, booking, and – perhaps most importantly for brands – the actual traveling and beyond.