Targetting trendy pays off for Yukon

In this special report, Strategy looks at 10 examples of integrated marketing communications in the Vancouver market.The agencies involved have offered their clients a range of additional marketing services, from public relations and public affairs, to direct marketing and event promotions,...

In this special report, Strategy looks at 10 examples of integrated marketing communications in the Vancouver market.

The agencies involved have offered their clients a range of additional marketing services, from public relations and public affairs, to direct marketing and event promotions, to traditional media placement and production of advertising.

All stories are by Vancouver writer Michael Shandrick.

there are only 30,000 people in the vast Yukon territory.

This means its expanse offers much for hardy travellers; however, it severely limits the amount the territory can pay for marketing itself as a tourism destination.

McKim Baker Lovick/BBDO implemented a research-backed direct marketing campaign to target smaller segments in a more cost-efficient manner.

Despite the fact that some direct marketers said the program would not work, the results proved astonishing.

Hot destination

Today, just seven months into the campaign, the Yukon is poised to become a hot destination for thousands of trendy travelers.

In the course of its account planning process, McKim Baker Lovick/BBDO discovered a sophisticated and sizable public who were capable of boosting the Yukon’s number of visitors, particularly during the summer season.

The research revealed a growing number of affluent individuals called ‘Style-Conscious’ visitors.

These are people who were adventurous and trendy and who might have previously trekked in Nepal. They like their adventure packaged with a good night life with the smart set – and a comfortable place to sleep.

This new market represented a shift away from the Yukon’s traditional approach to marketing toward the ‘Organized Neighborhooder,’ the empty nesters who came to the Yukon in recreational vehicles to take in a little fishing and long naps in the midnight sun.

‘This shift toward more sophisticated consumers meant talking differently,’ says Kathleen Lorentsen, account director at McKim.

For starters, this meant the creative strategy would move away from print advertising in the fly fishing and hunting publications to stimulating demand through print ads and direct mail follow-up in travel and big-city leisure publications.

Created under the theme of ‘It’s on the Road Not Taken,’ with the tag line, ‘Magic & Mystery,’ the advertising positioned the Yukon as an undiscovered wilderness.

One ad, which appeared in half-page, four-color formats in mainstream trendy u.s. publications such as Outside, Backpacker, Sierra and Rolling Stone, shows thirtysomething trekkers peering over a precipice in the Yukon’s vast wilderness.

In a call to the wild, a line in the ad copy tells visitors they can ‘bask in the warmth of the locals… and experience the North through their eyes…[and] dance under the Northern Lights.’

This fulfills the target group’s need to party while adventuring.

At the same time, a media audit was conducted by the agency to contact only those publications most likely to cover adventure travel.

A press kit campaign was conducted, providing key international travel writers with the booklet and a full four-color glossy vacation guide to encourage articles and interest in the Yukon.

Key to the campaign are the brcs (business reply coupons) and the 800 number. A follow-up letter and upscale 52-page booklet were sent to respondents.

‘Everything was designed to be response-driven,’ says Jim Southcott, the agency’s vice-president/director of client services.

‘We wanted to move away from the clutter of direct mail by providing a piece that would appeal to travellers’ emotions,’ Southcott says.

Traditional direct marketers advised that the booklet would not work as an effective tool, predicting that 22,000 responses would be generated.

Requested booklet

As of mid-July, about 45,000 readers have requested the booklet as a result of the ads and articles.

McKim is planning a new version of the direct mail piece, along with follow-up research on those travellers who visited the Yukon this summer.

At the same time, a media relations plan is under way to attract top outdoor writers to travel to the Yukon to write about their experiences.

The campaign is well on its way to paying for itself. The agency is at work targetting another bunch of even more adventurous travellers who might take a look at the Yukon in winter and shoulder seasons, thereby giving Yukon Tourism another product to market.

Lorentsen is confident the agency can deliver on its promise once again and delights in proving the experts wrong.

‘We know so much about our customers that when when we execute our creative, everything else works,’ she says.