River cruise marketing 2015: know your target audience

Consumer research giant Mintel has released their 2015 report into the health of river cruising, which dives deep into various aspects of the industry. Because there’s far too much valuable information to squeeze into one blog post, we will be offering the most useful insights in a series of features — the first being all about the importance of understanding your target audience.

Who is the current target audience?

According to the report, the core demographic for river cruises remains the 50-plus market. Despite this, information hailing from the study has revealed that the average cruiser is 49 years old, married and in full-time employment. Cruisers also tend to have a higher education and an average household income of over £70,000.

It’s clear that leading brands need to make a concerted effort to make both their product and their marketing efforts appeal to this demographic.

An interesting recent development in the market is the news that Disney river cruises will be offered on the River Danube in 2016, a theme which on first glance might not appeal to the over 50s demographic. These cruises look to be marketed towards families and depending on their success, it could well lead to lowering the average age of the river cruise target audience in years to come.

How do you market this audience?

With regards to the current over 50s target audience, the first step to achieving this is ensuring that the product you’re offering is tailored to the target market. In the case of the core demographic of river cruisers, characteristics of an appealing product include being hassle-free, cultural and educational; all attributes associated with an all-inclusive experience packed full of excursion choices. Exactly what is included in your product should be carefully chosen, but these three things should be kept in mind at all times.

While this market is still hugely active with newspapers, magazines and other conventional offline advertising methods, there’s also TV advertising to consider, with key television programmes broadcast with advertising in the USA, such as Mr Selfridge, Downton Abbey and Sherlock, ticking both boxes of having a large audience and resonating on a cultural level with your target audience.

Digital mediums such as SEO and PPC advertising strategies are all important to consider as the target market has become more accustomed to browsing holidays online. Top positions for a variety of river cruise related keywords are currently very competitive, with all the leading names in the industry putting in the effort to be seen among the top results of both paid and natural search. When it comes to paid search, this is coming in at an average CPC of £3-£6.

Social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube are also tipped for future growth — according to a 2014 study from GlobalWebIndex, 70% of those born between 1946 and 1964 have a Facebook account, with 40% actively using their account. This growing uptake and usage of social media could certainly open up more opportunities to market to this key demographic, particularly as the biggest social media platforms now offer a paid advertising service that can offer great returns if used effectively.

Here at Accord, we believe that a mix between online and offline media is the key to retaining your customer base for the years ahead. Ultimately the channels you choose should be dictated through what makes up the typical path to purchase of your customers, optimising your marketing strategy to ensure maximum engagement through various online and offline channels.

For Mintel’s full River Cruising — March 2015 report, click here.

Originally published at www.accordgroup.co.uk.

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