A Critical Analysis of Its Marketing Communications

| May 20, 2015

Destination marketing is a core factor in increasing revenues from tourism, regardless of whether the purpose of the later is leisure or business. Tourism is a primary revenue earner for most countries, and it forms an integral component of their economies (World Tourism Organization, 2000). Therefore, the destination like Riyadh is the brand. Riyadh is the capital city of Saudi Arabia and the largest of all cities in the Kingdom. Recent studies show that it is now among the wealthiest cities of the world (World Trade Centres, 2015).
This aspect and its array of touristic attractions lure prominent business and leisure travelers, but it faces competition from equally growing and magnificent destinations like Qatar. Thus, this report highlights the current marketing communications strategy used by the city to reach its target market and identifies areas of improvement in terms of the promotional tools used in its current marketing communications campaign.
Riyadh’s Target Market
The city targets the affluent travelers who can afford the costs related to its position among the world’s wealthiest cities. The latter comprise the characteristically upscale, wealthy domestic and international business and leisure travel clientele. The nature and presentation of Riyadh in ads depict state-of-the-art infrastructure and modern architecture (Ar-Riyadh Development Authority, 2015). The same aspect resonates in the portrayal of its marvelous airports, attractions, restaurants, hotels, shopping malls and hypermarkets.
Overview of Current Promotional Tools
Riyadh’s current communication mix comprises of mass media advertising in print forms and television. Fill, and Hughes (2008) note that it also puts embedded ads and banners on apt internet. The communications are naturally below-the-line communication, apart from PR. They also use sales promotion occasionally through offers and discounts in places like hotels and conference facilities that serve to generate new customs and boost tourism sales.
Riyadh uses an assortment of promotional tools in its marketing communications campaigns. They include advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, internet marketing, sponsorships, personal selling and public relations. Riyadh integrates these tools to a large extent except for the last two, which it uses on a small scale due to its high economic status.
Shortcomings of the Current Marketing Communications Strategies
Adverting, direct and internet marketing including social media, sponsorships and PR are working well for the city. However, there is an issue with the use of personal selling and sales promotion. Firstly, being a premium destination, Riyadh ought to limit its use of sales promotion because it may end up compromising its standard and brand position. It cannot manipulate this aspect through extensive price cuts like cheaper destinations. That move would create a perception of reduced quality among its premium target markets.
Additionally, personal selling is a characteristically technical approach as it requires a one-on-one approach to customers. It undoubtedly does not integrate well with the characteristic tight schedules of the premium target clientele. It is also not viable for reaching international clients without deploying personnel to the various target nations.
Proposed Strategies
Firstly, creating an impressive image through PR is a core strategy for success. Therefore, Riyadh should increase their investment in that approach. PR also caters for the prevailing threats of negative publicity. Secondly, cutting operational costs associated with the relatively less-productive tools like personal selling increases revenue and financial resources for marketing via other effective promotional tools like events marketing and sponsorships.
Use of supplementary marketing tools like viral and guerilla marketing is a third strategy that will supplement and foster the success of Riyadh’s core promotional tools (Hutter & Hoffmann, 2011). It should also essentially invest in marketing research to expand its up-to-date knowledge base that will give it a competitive advantage over rival destination in the Kingdom and beyond. Riyadh should also intensify its social media marketing to tap the benefits of the dynamic technological trends.
Evidently, the essentiality of a city to know its target markets and their requirements is integral to the success of its marketing communications strategy. Its relative market position is also key to determining the best marketing communications approaches and tools to use. These tools and strategies ought to result in integrative marketing communications. It is also vivid that marketing research and continuous review of its marketing campaigns is crucial to keeping up to speed with the dynamics of the market. These, therefore, are the primary factors Riyadh ought to consider to achieve the utmost success as a brand destination.

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