Building a Strong CVB Marketing Plan

The elements of any marketing plan are largely similar. Those overall categories you want to define and fill out are the same, time and time again. But there are a few differences between, say, a social media plan and a CVB marketing plan. The biggest differences are that a marketing plan for a specific element will follow from the main plans, and be more specific around exact tactics. A strong CVB marketing plan is more broad, providing a full scope of the year and everything to be accomplished.

Building a Strong CVB Marketing Plan

Start Your CVB Marketing Plan

Begin with the big picture. Cayuga County CVB has a 5-year strategic direction document detailing the organizational goals. You can see each component of the organization and its plan. It begins with the overall direction and organizational structure and brand. Then it outlines the different pieces: marketing, public relations, leisure & group sales, visitors and experiences. The plan finishes with the all-important tracking.

Create your plan by outlining your brand history and drafting a brand summary. Make overall goals for your organization and define the segments that are most important in your marketing.

Did someone say Goals?

Let’s look at the actual marketing plan that follows the strategic document. Cayuga County’s annual marketing plan also starts with goals. It’s a great idea to start with your overall goals, and then break down your priorities for the year. Are you looking to add to your marketing in some way? Make it a goal, or make a goal around it. What are your overall and long-term goals? How can you break those down into a goal for just this coming year?

Write down your target market

Many tourism organizations know their visitors well, and can create their top target markets from that information. The 6-hour drive “radius” is a common target market for DMOs. If you have visitor data, start by looking at where they live. How old are they? What do they like to do? What assets are in your area and who would like to see them? As we learned at the 2017 NYSTIA Annual Meeting, there are also free resources available with data on visitors. For example, the U.S. Travel Association has a lot of research available.

Position each component

The message, or positioning, around each segment of your marketing also needs to be defined. What is unique about your offerings in each category? (Also known as a unique selling proposition or USP.) What makes conventions in your county different from everyone else? You’ll want to make that the focus of your marketing in that category. It also helps everyone working on your marketing plan stay on the same page about what needs to be communicated.

Outline the strategy and implementation

The final step is to outline the strategy for each goal, and the tactics you’ll implement to achieve them. This section is truly the action plan for the year. How are you going to carry out all of the marketing to the target markets for each segment of your plan? For more information on filling out this section of your plan, check out our related posts: