(By LACEY-ANN WISDOM)
“How many of you have been on a cruise?” This was the way Adam Goldstein, the Saturday Morning Keynote speaker for the REACH Conference, began his presentation. Many hands went up. “How many of you would be at an 8:30 lecture if you were on a cruise right now?” A wave of laughter rippled through the audience. Goldstein was brief about his background history and how he broke into marketing. “I was a lawyer, but I wanted to be the client,” he said matter-of-factly. Then, in a seamless bridge between yesterday’s keynote and today’s, Goldstein’s talk addressed aspects of marketing that Lorraine Hansen, the President of Global Snacks at Pepsi- had not.
The difference between Hansen’s marketing and Goldstein’s marketing, arise purely as a function of their different areas of marketing. While “you don’t have to explain what a carbonated beverage or a potato chip is”, you do have to explain what a cruise is. Even now, years after the rise of the cruise industry there is a scarcity of information about what exactly a cruise entails. This is because of the dynamic nature of cruises. This presentation shattered our image of cruises as an activity “for the newly-wed, overfed, and nearly dead. When he first broke into the Cruise Industry, Goldstein found that only 3% of all vacations were taken on the water. That number has increased due to more successful cruise marketing.
Goldstein pointed out that people take their vacations seriously. “When you ask someone what they did in 2004, they are not going to tell you about a really great meeting they had. The first thing their mind usually goes to is the amazing vacation they took that year.” Goldstein also pointed out that when you operate an international cruise line, you have to satisfy the needs of the people of the particular nationality that you’re serving. In describing a successful cruise line he said this, “It’s like the UN, but it works.”
The problem that arises when you have a company that attempts to tailor itself to the needs of its consumers is, where do you draw the line? “How many languages do we say over the loudspeaker before we overstimulate the guests?” Furthermore, cultural differences have to be taken into account. When the majority of your cruise population is Brazilian you know that it has be a party 22/7; people from different cultures might not want the same treatment at all. The challenge is to not to go so far in serving that you lose a sense of your own brand. The job of marketing is to make the expectations for your brand.