How a strategic partnership delivered a 10-fold increase in audience for a golf course, lodge and estate in New Zealand
The background: breaking ties
Having been part of the Mantra group, under the Peppers brand, for some years, Carrington Estate knew it was time to break the ties and blaze their own trail. But stepping away from a major group also meant sacrificing their audience and infrastructure.
Carrington Estate engaged Blue Ocean to support them through the transition.
After an extensive strategy development phase, alongside brand development which was conducted in-house by their own team, Carrington Estate was taken to market in time for the shoulder and peak season.
Having identified a unique value proposition for Carrington Estate and analysed customers and the market, the challenge was how to create awareness of their offering and build an audience.
Blue Ocean proposed a two-phase approach:
Test and learn, alone - Source a strategic partner, execute together at large scale and low cost
Test and learn
With the peak season approaching and tight timelines, Blue Ocean's initial audience building approach was to test, listen and learn through owned channels.
Leveraging historic data and playing to Carrington Estate's immediate strengths, an audience building and awareness campaign was launched.
Domestic targeting by specific interest and Job-to-be-done resulted in a phase one campaign to validate assumptions and gather learnings that could be amplified at scale once the peak season was nearing its end.
The key metric for success was subscriber numbers, cost per acquisition and on-page conversion rate.
Operating alone, Blue Ocean validated which pond to fish in and developed a heavily optimised conversion mechanism to build Carrington Estate's audience.
Finding a partnership
Finding a strategic partner
Using our strategic fit framework, Blue Ocean analysed and developed a strategic partnership.
We define a strategic partnership as an alliance of shared activity and co-creation of value that offers mutual progress towards achieving strategic goals. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. The key is to find genuine areas of mutual gain. The framework and resulting fit is demonstrated below:
Going to market, together
With a partner sourced, a campaign was developed in collaboration. For Carrington Estate, the metrics for success were reach, engagement, cost per lead and on-page conversion rate.
The campaign was executed through partner-owned channels at zero advertising cost.
At the awareness stage, an EDM was sent to partner subscribers in conjunction with a series of social media posts, homepage banner placements and a homepage takeover.
All touch-points drove to a campaign-specific landing page that showcased Carrington Estate and incentivised subscription to their database.
The results showcase the power of leveraging strategic partnerships for growth; Carrington Estate was able to drive a 10-fold increase in their subscribed audience size, on a shoestring.