Dr. Elliott B. Jaffa


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Want mail? Register for Destinations Showcase and watch the solicitations for your future meetings along with offers for prizes and free gifts fill your mailbox. How does a destination really acquire one's business? Is it location, location, location, booth personnel, or creative marketing? Or is it that free gift or door prize?

As a creative marketing consultant, I am cognizant that some destinations are much more adept than others in creativity, writing dynamic copy, stating attention-getting benefits up front, using color; all to entice a meeting planner to stop by its booth and share some information.

I received 84 pieces of mail for the Washington, DC Destinations Showcase and decided to compute some statistics and bestow some awards of my own. There's the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Tonys. It's time to give out the Trendys. The statuette is made out of cheap plastic and is called the "Elliott." Hey, it's my awards show, so I can call it whatever I want!

Of the 84 pieces, 52% included a toll-free phone number and 54% included a web site address. Prizes were offered by 63%, and free gifts by 14%. Three destinations offered a planners guide; 3 inquired of one's interest in a fam trip; 2 included a postage-paid reply card; and only 1 offered a video.

Now for the awards; the envelopes please.

Best mailing container: Northern Kentucky - a colorful can containing a stress ball.
Most creative insert: Tempe - miniature paint kit and postcard to paint.
Best in-your-face benefit: both Bloomington (its real location) and St. Paul - the Mall of America for those who like to shop 'til they drop.
Best colors: Tampa, Duluth (mauve), Juneau (teal), Saratoga Springs (both mauve and teal).
Most practical door prize: Akron - a set of tires.
Most cosmopolitan prize: Ontario, CA - $250 Macy's gift certificate.
Tastiest prize: New Haven and Coastal Fairfield County, CT (lobsters) and Omaha (12 steaks).
Most valuable prize: Lufthansa - 2 tickets to Germany.
Best booth giveaway: San Jose - their infamous shorts.
Cutest and most politically correct mailer: Chattanooga - 2 adorable babies, a white male and black female.
Request for most information: Knoxville. I've seen shorter credit applications.
Busiest and most cluttered post card: Toledo.
Brightest envelope: Pittsburgh - neon lemon yellow.
Most postage and materials: Binghamton - $1.43 followed by Augusta, GA, whose same 3 mailings arrived on the same day - 99.
Most suitable for framing: Mystic - red leaves.
Longest: Long Beach, of course - 17 inches.
Most consumer and meeting-friendly offer: Fayetteville - free parking at the convention complex.
Most thought provoking set of questions asked: Boise - If Boise were a music group, WHO would it be and WHY? The Who, of course, because "I Can See for Miles and Miles."
Most unappealing: Billings - photos of Lewis and Clark like anyone cares what they look like and Baton Rouge - a picture of the old state capitol or is that the state prison?
Still using that last century word "millennium": Niagara Falls and Irving.

Next week I talk about how booth personnel responded to the question, "What's the two best reasons to hold a meeting in...?"

Dr. Elliott B. Jaffa
(703) 931-0040