is the title of a recent blog post by Seth Godin and as usual, when I read Godin, I start to think, I can't help it!
He talks about marketing not being the same as, but much more than, advertising, which I thought everyone would know by now but it seems some people apparently still don't. To get back to the question, the product obviously comes after marketing and he cites the example of the Prius.
Now, this gets me to the issue at hand, namely that destination marketing is one of the hardest disciplines in marketing! Why, you ask? Because in almost all cases - Dubai being one well known exception - the "product" is a given. The destination exists, often has for decades or centuries or more and can't be significantly changed to suit the marketer. You play the hand your dealt and that's why it's more challenging than the so often hyped packaged goods marketing for example, or vehicles or almost any product. If research shows that your soap has to smell a certain way, be a certain color and shape your product guys will produce and deliver it that way. Try that with your resort, well maybe you can add or improve some infrastructure but it essence you're still left with the given basics.
So, destination marketing experts should really be the ones who get the accolades and I wonder why they so often aren't. Just watch how many marketers from the DMO world cross over to other industries based on their track record and compare that with the reverse. You'll be surprised at the imbalance. What I've noticed over the years, is that a large number who face the challenge of destination marketing leave the industry after a few years.
What's this got to do with the web, you ask? Well, similar principles apply when you hire a web marketer or an interactive agency. It pays to check if they truly understand the particular challenges they face and whether they have the right experience or not.