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Sinclair and Ruiz is a consultancy that creates integrated local, national and international marketing strategies


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Make Your Corporate Event a Success: Important Things to Consider When Planning an Event.

chairsCorporate events are one of the best tactics for putting a face to the name of a company. They allow organizations to connect with stakeholders in a personal way. Organizing a corporate event is not an easy task, but it does not have to be a pain either. An approach that focuses on the goals and planning needs of an event is key to success, whether you are a for-profit or a not for profit organization.

Here are some important considerations:

1.- Organizing and Planning.
Start with a project plan.  This is a to-do list of sorts that includes all the details about your event (before, during and after), which helps you to keep track of what needs to be done and who is responsible. Having a project plan does not mean that some things cannot change last minute, but it helps minimize the likelihood of challenges along the way.

2.- Goals.
Why is this event important? what are you trying to accomplish?
The event goals need to be very clear as communicating internal changes, launching new products or services or hosting a client appreciation event require different approaches.  It is very important to match what the event is attempting to communicate to the audience.

3.- Guests.
Make sure you have a clear target audience and a complete invitation list. Knowing your guest profile will help select the event format and venue. Be certain to send invitations at least 4 weeks in advance. Some people will confirm within a couple of days, some will take longer. However, the more advance time they have to schedule the event the better. But no matter what the situation is, be ready to do some follow up to keep your guest list up to date, and people interested. Also, keep in mind that some people will cancel, others will not show up and some may confirm last minute. 85% attendance is considered a good turnout, so factor that in to your logistical plans.

4.- Agenda and Format.
The agenda and event format need to include topics and opportunities for engagement that are relevant for your target audience, sponsors and V.I.P.s, in order to increase the likelihood of a good turnout.  Guests need to see the value the event offers or they will not attend. Also, be sure to avoid cramming too much into the agenda or important messaging will be lost.

5. Budget.
The budget will ultimately determine the size, format and location of the event. Obtaining several quotes and alternatives is helpful for building a budget with the best value and one that allows you to adapt to change if required. We recommend leaving some room for budget flexibility in case the opportunity arises to grow the event or an unforeseen situation arises (a required change in venue, for example).

6.- Venue.
Consider how many people you’d like to host and whether you will need to offer options for guest accommodation. Decide in advance whether you will require in-house catering, AV, decoration, liquor (and licensing), etc.  There are both inclusive and bare bones venue options, which have different pros and cons.

7.- Event Promotion.
Creating a positive buzz is important. Doing the right marketing for your event does not need to be super expensive as having the right strategy could go further than you think. Getting everybody involved by using social media, an email campaign and other advertising channels would help to generate the right buzz.

Marketing and communications strategies should start early and continue for a few weeks after the event in order to harness maximum impact.

8.- Team Collaboration.
Start by clarifying roles and deadlines. Schedule periodic meetings with your team to track the project plan progress. This will ensure everything is on time, budget and allow for adjustments as necessary.

If you are planning your first corporate event, remember to plan for every phase of the event in advance. This will ensure you stay organized and on top of every step of the way. An event is a project that requires detailed planning, teamwork and time dedication. If you do not have the capacity to follow each phase of the process, be sure to engage a professional to assist you so that your event investment is a success that provides generous results.

Contact Sinclair and Ruiz to learn more about how we can assist and help you to organize your next corporate event: info@sinclairandruiz.com

Mauricio Ruiz
Business Development


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Canadian Travel to Mexico Positioned to Break Record.

We recently had the opportunity to interview Cesar Mendoza, Regional Director for Canada for the Mexican Tourism Board, about growth in the number of Canadians traveling to Mexico. Mendoza said that numbers have been steadily increasing this year, and by the end of the year they expect a record-breaking volume of travelers. That underscores the confidence Canadian travelers have in Mexico as a tourist destination. Cesar also noted the challenges that Mexico faces and the way to overcome them; as well as expected tendencies such as focusing on the segments of culture and traditions of Mexico, to give  Canadian travelers unique experiences that will inspire them. To conclude the interview, he told us what the Mexican Tourism Board expects for 2019.
Santo-Domingo

As background information, it is worth noting that Canada is an important source of visitors to Mexico (datatur), second only to the United States since 2006. Canadians not only travel to beach destinations but flock to cultural festivals, because of the ancestral abundance and their values. Therefore, according to Cesar “Mexico will keep creating/developing experiences to traditional and non-traditional destinations, tailor-made for new generations of travelers such as millennials”.

What are the results for 2018 in terms of numbers, and what do you expect for the end of the season?

According to the latest report from the Mexican Tourism Board, between January-August 2018, Mexico received  12.6 million international visitors by air. That represents a 5% increase over the same period in  2017. During that same period, 1.5 million Canadian visitors traveled to Mexico by air, which is a 15% increase over to 2017. By the end of 2018, for the first time ever, Mexico expects to welcome the arrival of over  2 million Canadian visitors, expecting a final number of 2.2 million, that would represent an increase of almost 12% compared to 2017.

Challenges that Mexico faces for 2019?

There are different factors (negative and positive) that affect the flow of tourists to our country. Among the positive factors that benefit an increase in the flow of Canadians to México is the exchange rate (CAD vs USD), making it more attractive to travel to Mexico than any other destination in the United States. The economic factor of a possible recession causes Canadians to react in advance and postpone or change travel plans.

On the other hand, the immigration rhetoric in the USA has fostered a change in Canadian travel plans for many who now decide to visit Mexico instead. Another factor that affects the tourism industry, are natural disasters like the hurricanes that unfortunately affected some Caribbean islands. That creates a positive flow of travelers to Mexico from Canada and other countries.

The biggest challenge that our country must face for the 2018-2019 season, is the perception of insecurity. Mexico makes very important and significant efforts, to fight groups that negatively affect the country’s image; and at the same time, we work to communicate events and news in the right context. For example, sensationalist notes that do not specify the exact location of negative events, immediately impact reservations to tourist destinations in Mexico.  Canadian travelers are very objective in comparison to US travelers at the moment of making travel decisions. However, negative news affects the image and in most cases, the final destination choice.

What are the predictions and tendencies for travel to Mexico in 2019?

Mexico’s commercial allies, especially airlines and tour operators, continue growing business ties with Mexico.  Our forecast for 2019 shows an increase in the number of seats per plane to Mexico by 10% versus 2018. Recently the Mexican airline Interjet started operations in the Canadian market with flights to Cancun and Mexico City from the main airports in Canada. This has resulted in an increase of an additional 184,000 seats for 2018. The low-cost airline Swoop just announced flights from YHM airport in Hamilton, Ontario to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta starting in January 2019; and on January the 12th they will start operating a flight from YXX in Abbotsford to Puerto Vallarta and on January the 20th to Mazatlán.

In 2019, the Mexican Tourism Board will continue with their strategy of distinguishing beach and sun destinations from others, and highlighting their competitive advantages and emphasizing the value that they offer through the segments such as culture, gastronomy among other. Equally, Mexico will continue developing new experiences in our traditional and non-traditional destinations, to tailor to the needs of new generations, specifically “millennials.” We are not only looking to increase the number of travelers, as we would love to see every traveler venture out of their hotels and enjoy the wonderful attractions and delightful  Mexican food.

What is Cesar Mendoza’s opinion?

Canada is our second largest source of international travelers to Mexico after the U.S. In 2017, 1.9 million plus Canadians arrived in Mexico, that translates in an increase of 9% more than the previous year, as I mentioned we expect to close 2018 with a 12% increase. Air Canada, Aeromexico, Air Transat, Interjet, Sunwing and Westjet are some of our main commercial allies that operate between Canada and Mexico on a regular basis from 23 airports in Canada and 13 Mexican destinations.

Due to the geographic characteristics of Canada (the second largest country in the world), the cultural characteristics of each region and the French language in the Province of Quebec, Mexico’s Tourism Board features three offices in Canada which are based in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. We work very closely with the local tourism industry and analyze aspects and tendencies that affect the flow of tourism.

Having a presence in the three main regions of Canada allows us to take the correct actions in conjunction with our head office in Mexico.

Wrapping up…

We would like to thank Cesar for taking the time to answer our questions and sharing this valuable and interesting information.

The responses outlined above support the premise that market intelligence is crucial for decision-making around defining and developing the best marketing strategy. By doing this we can determine with precision how to best fit into the market to meet the needs of consumers, identify areas of opportunity for market penetration and for market development, among others. All of that will help to increase and retain customers, generate revenue, and generate leads. Furthermore interpreting market intelligence is key for long-term results.

Mauricio Ruiz Arnaut
Business Development.

 

 


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How important is it to develop strategic relationships and contacts inside target markets?

The importance of making strategic contacts is fundamental to success – particularly when expanding into new territory. Relationships facilitate market penetration, assist in identifying new audiences, and measuring product performance. Partnerships can be formal or informal and require different levels of commitment in order to keep the relationship beneficial.

strategic relationships

 

Rahul Samant CEO of Rehabtronics told us that… “it’s very critical to establish strong sales and distribution channels as well as relationships with key opinion leaders”. Cindy Collins founder of Mining Technology Partners noted relationships are …”  huge and the focus of [her] company. [They] put providers together with contacts in Mexico and help them with distribution or [creating a] sales network.  Not only this, but to find references and the who’s who of using your products… this industry [mining] is very dependent on the usual early adopters.  We are often asked for who is using our customers’ products, especially for the more innovative or game changing products” . Alejandro Godoy founder of  Seafood Business Solutions highlighted “…it is very important to develop relationships with key decision makers, specialty seafood buyers in new markets.” Carlos Escobosa Commercial and Administrative Director of  The Residences at Solaz observed that “contacts in target markets offer a direct line to what consumers in those markets want, and most importantly, how to reach them in a cost-efficient way”.

This article is part 2 of 3.
In case you missed Part 1: Top 4 Challenges to Business Development.


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Case Study: Tennis Sponsorship Campaign

Tennis Sponsorship CampaignSinclair and Ruiz designed and implemented a sports marketing sponsorship campaign to reach a niche market for a resort client. The client’s infrastructure encompasses 4 hotels, a marina, golf and country club, and a gated residential community. The multi-dimensional campaign included advertising, PR and event participation, which secured leads as desired.

Following the initial campaign and implementation of the subsequent inbound marketing strategy, leads purchased all-inclusive packages at our client’s resort to participate in a 4-day tennis tournament.

The tournament was incorporated into the sports marketing campaign in order to generate an immediate return on investment. In addition to the tournament participants, those leads provided referrals to spouses and other family members who also traveled to the resort on dates within the 4 months following the conclusion of the campaign. Therefore the encouragement of referrals as part of the campaign increased the client’s short-term return on investment.  Within the first 4 months following the conclusion of the campaign, our client registered a lead conversion rate of 11%, concluding the 12 month cycle with a conversion rate of 33%.

Contact info@sinclairandruiz.com to discuss how sponsorship campaigns and sports marketing can increase your organization’s brand awareness and sales. You may also visit www.sinclairandruiz.com.

 

 


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Case Study: Destination Branding for Real Estate Investment

Sinclair and Ruiz coordinated a multi-year effort to draw real estate investment (from developers as well as consumers) to a beach destination.  Our client was a co-op made up of various stakeholders including the Mexico Tourism Board, a state government, and a developers association. The targeted $1.4 million USD campaign focused on Canadian provinces from B.C to Ontario; as well as the American west coast states, Nevada, Ohio, Colorado and Texas. After the initial cycle of brand awareness, the percentage of registered leads generated by the marketing initiatives grew by 300%, participation in information and promotional events across Canada grew by 38 %. By the campaign’s third year, the number of Canadian travelers to the destination – mainly Baby Boomers- grew by 30%. Furthermore, at a national level the destination rose from 11th place to 4th place among tourist destinations in terms of real estate investment. Residential real estate sales to Canadian investors totaled over $300 million USD over the three years of campaign implementation. Marketing efforts included multi- media advertising, public relations, and network building.

Contact S&R to request further information on marketing campaign design and execution. http://www.sinclairandruiz.com


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Professional Duty: Acting Ethically and in the Client’s Best Interest

There are three important things to keep in mind with regards to an agency’s duty to the client: never lose sight of who the client is, what they want to achieve, and how to act in their best interest. There are several situations that can interfere with the clarity of these three points. Regardless of the outcome agencies must work ethically to achieve client’s best interest; and this may not always take shape the client has in mind. The following article will touch upon some examples of these situations.

The Agency Works for the Client Not the Client’s Contact Person

The contact person for a client may be the owner of the company, an employee of an organization, or council members, among others. It is important to keep in mind that the main contact for the organization and the client are not one and the same; and that unfortunately their expectations may not always aligned. The situation may arise where the contact may make requests that are not related to the business relationship or the best interest of the client.

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 It is a regular part of business to provide value added assistance to important clients.  However, it is not normal to consistently oblige to requests in the name of a business relationship that may personally benefit the contact at the expense of the client. For example, a manager once requested we amend a proposal to include planning an event in a city that was not a target market of the client. The manager had a clear personal interest in the request, although it would divert important marketing funds to an exercise that would not generate a return on investment. The Client was not aware of this. One may think that it is the Client’s problem and that ultimately that manager should be accountable for these decisions. However, it is not an Agent’s place to get involved in office politics, and it is the Agency’s duty to act in the best interest of the client. An Agency can make the right recommendations, document them, and follow the Client’s direction.

The Agency’s Duty to Act Ethically As Well As in the Client’s Best Interest

There are also occasions when the client makes good faith requests that are not in their own best interest. Agents have a duty to inform their Client if they believe what they want will not provide the desired results. An Agency can make alternate suggestions, but ultimately the client makes the decisions. Generally, Agencies  act on the client’s direction even if it is against the Agency’s advice. This of course, changes when the matter relates to ethical choices.

This topic was well described in a recent article in The Economist, as explained by the following excerpt:

Professional organisations are bound by professional ethics to put limits on what they will do for their customers: lawyers have to apply the law, for example, and universities have to apply objective standards, rather than just pleasing their customers. Arthur Andersen, once a big accounting firm, went bust because it broke professional rules in order to help one of its best customers, Enron. Monitor Group, a consultancy, provoked mockery because it adopted an excessively customer-centric approach to the late Colonel Qaddafi, including helping his son, Saif al-Islam, prepare a thesis for the London School of Economics and proposing a book that would present the Colonel as “a man of action and a man of ideas”.

  It often makes perfect sense to refuse to give your customers what they want, or at least what they say they want.  “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them,” Steve Jobs told Inc. magazine in 1989.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2012/03/how-deal-muppets?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/downwiththem

DO BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS ALWAYS STRENGTHEN WHEN THE AGENCY ACTS IN THE CLIENT’S BEST INTEREST?

As professionals we can listen to clients and design strategies to help them achieve their goals. In most cases this is the way contracts work and result in great business relationships. Yet the reality for some circumstances, such as those outlined above, is that the correct alternative may be to fire the client or lose the account. When it comes to a client’s representative directing an Agency to act contrary to the client’s best interest, refusal to act may result in a lost account. In this scenario, the agency will retain its integrity while the alternative could be shouldering responsibility for the client employee’s unethical behavior.

 

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When it comes to implementing a strategy the Agency considers will not work, it is important to weigh the consequences of following through. Most businesses at one time or another have taken on a job that they later wished they hadn’t. These kinds of situations are not always obvious or clear cut. A Focus post provides a useful exercise for those considering if it is worth walking away from a client. They say “Sometimes, even an unprofitable customer can be worth the headache for other reasons. However if they’re not, this due diligence can help you know for sure and not have to spend any time second-guessing your decision.” You may read the full post at http://www.focus.com/questions/when-it-time-walk-away-customer-and-stop-doing-business-them/

Business relationships are not always easy. Parties do not always have to agree. But clients are entitled to the certainty that their Agency will always act with their best interest and in an ethical manner. For a professional business, the right decision may be the most difficult one, but it in the end it will generate the best results for all parties.

Sinclair and Ruiz Consulting

http://www.sinclairandruiz.com

LINKS:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2012/03/how-deal-muppets?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/downwiththem

http://www.focus.com/questions/when-it-time-walk-away-customer-and-stop-doing-business-them/

 


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Gaining an Edge through Partnership and Sponsorship Marketing

Marketing partnerships and event sponsorships are effective marketing tools.  The first refers to linking two or more different non-competing brands for marketing purposes. The second refers to brands that become supporters of charities, sporting events, trade shows, etc.  We highly recommend both options because they are cost-effective and – when implemented correctly- provide outstanding results. When S&R designs and implements such strategies for our clients, the efforts generate all or o most of the following (depending on the clients’ needs):

  • Exposure to new consumers
  • Partnerships  with brands that are prestigious and important to

the target market

  • Positive brand association
  •   Increased brand awareness and enhanced image
  •  Exposure in the media
  • Revenue

We rely on our networks and those of our clients to carefully seek-out and evaluate opportunities that will provide the best return on investment. When searching for the best opportunity for your brand it is important to know who the target market is and how you want to reach them. Some organizations are better set-up than others to provide the right value.  Annual events and sports organizations often have an established framework within which they work with partners and sponsors.  Others, who have access to your target market, may not have previously provided the service your company requires or are simply less efficient.  Therefore it is important for the marketer to be involved through every step of the campaign.

Partnership and Sponsorship Marketing initiatives Sinclair and Ruiz has coordinated on behalf of our clients include:

  • In-kind sponsorships for charity tournaments, cultural and business events. Benefits include brand exposure in printed materials; value added advertising; spoken acknowledgements; speaking opportunities, and activation at the events.

 

  • Coordination and implementation of advertising campaigns between different segments of the tourism industry (destination, country, airline, travel agents).

 

  • Sponsorship and partnership of sporting events and organizations. Benefits include media exposure, brand exposure in printed materials, spoken acknowledgements, speaking opportunities, activation at the events.

 

These marketing efforts work well for small businesses as well as large organizations.  In order to make the most of partnerships and sponsorships, companies should gain exposure through an integrated mix of advertising and PR.  As always there should be a consistent message directed towards a clear objective.

Related articles that may be of interest:

http://www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/marketing-partnership.htm

http://marketing.about.com/od/eventandseminarmarketing/a/sponsorship.htm

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