By Gina F. Rubel
Special to the Legal
I just returned from the Yucatán Peninsula after a week of traveling with family. While there and since I returned, I have been pondering a number of things that struck me as brilliant marketing, missed opportunities and misleading marketing. What it comes down to is messaging and meeting expectations. When combined correctly, both are ingredients of excellent marketing. On the other hand, when the reality is not in line with the message, there will be disappointed clients and customers.
Riviera Maya: Brilliant Marketing
Did you know that the phrase “Riviera Maya” was coined as a marketing ploy to get tourists to the area south of Cancun in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico? Just 10 years ago, this area was considered a sleepy, quiet destination with an important Mayan influence. Now, it is a bustling mecca of Disney-like, all-inclusive resorts, busy public beaches and downtown shopping areas, with international restaurants, Starbucks every other street and nightlife that compares to Duval Street in Key West. While the word “riviera” certainly connotes luxury, its definition is “a coastal region frequented as a resort area and usually marked by a mild climate,” with an origin in the region of southeastern France and northwestern Italy. Whoever coined the phrase Riviera Maya was brilliant–it is a great way to market this beautiful destination.
How do you define your business?
Aldea Corazon: Missed Opportunity
Aldea Corazon is a restaurant in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, that offers a very distinctive experience. You enter from the busy Fifth Avenue, as if you are entering a trendy sidewalk bar in South Beach, and you go into a jungle oasis with quiet seating on various levels next to a cenote (natural crater in the limestone). This outdoor dining under the trees with torches and candles is in a unique location but is not widely marketed as such. There are no signs on the busy Fifth Avenue indicating that there is a jungle-like sanctuary in the rear of the establishment. Had we not had friends who are expats living in Playa, we would not have known about it.
What are you not telling your target audience?
“Fifteen Feet From the Beach”: Misleading Marketing
We rented a house in Playa del Carmen that was marketed as being “15 feet from the beach.” The photo on the website showed a pathway from the house to sand and sea. In reality, the house was more like 100 feet from the beach, but that’s not the main issue. The pathway to the beach was on the property of the beach-front house across the street and had a locked beach-access gate. The truth is, what we expected was a house “only 15 feet to the white soft sand beach.” Instead, we had to walk several hundred yards along the road to the public beach access.
That same house was purported to have WiFi. The simple fact is that the WiFi router was in another house several houses away and never worked. While it may sound like nitpicking, there were seven people in the house, many of whom needed to access work and personal email but could not. At the end of the day, we didn’t get what we paid for.
Is there anything you’re telling your audience that may be misleading or that you can’t back up?
Here’s the bottom line: When marketing your law firm, be sure to use accurate language that defines your firm, shares that which is unique and inviting (a.k.a. unique selling proposition) and creates expectations that can and will be met.
Gina F. Rubel is the owner of Furia Rubel Communications Inc., an integrated marketing and public relations agency with a niche in legal marketing. She and her agency have won national awards for law firm marketing, PR, website and graphic design, social media, strategic planning, corporate philanthropy and leadership. She maintains a blog at www.ThePRLawyer.com, is a contributor to The Legal Intelligencer Blog, AVVO Lawyernomics and The Huffington Post. You can find her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/ginafuriarubel or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ginarubel. For more information, go to www.FuriaRubel.com.