What Punk Culture Can Teach Us About Effective Marketing

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As a self-proclaimed punk, marketing tends to leave a sour taste in my mouth. An overwhelming amount comes off as manipulative, over-sanitized, and greedy, which is about as far from punk values as you can get. However, I’m a member of the marketing industry myself, so it can’t be all bad…right? 

Many businesses will do anything to make a quick buck, but my existence as a punk marketer proves that effective marketing doesn’t need to focus purely on profit or rely on unethical practices to drive sales. “Effective” is a subjective term, with as many meanings as there are people in the world, but I believe there’s more to effectiveness than financial gains alone. Truly effective marketing is able to connect with its audience on a genuine and personal level, building a rapport that fosters long-term loyalty and support. 

This is no easy task, but looking at marketing through the lens of punk culture can make the feat much less daunting. Personally connecting with your audience requires a level of humility and authenticity, which is the bread and butter of punk culture. At its heart, punk is about staying true to your core identity, so understanding the culture’s root principles is invaluable to creating an effective marketing strategy that resonates with your audience. 

The Foundation of Punk Culture

“Punk” isn’t the most well-defined term, and there are a lot of misconceptions as a result. One of the most common assumptions about punk is that its members are aggressive, destructive, and rebellious, but that’s an inaccurate representation. Punk culture was founded on the idea of injecting passion and authenticity into everything you do; core values that still define the culture today. 

Punk music emerged during the 1970s, in direct opposition to the overly-manicured, generic, and increasingly corporate mainstream music of the time. Punks disapproved of the shift from passion to profit, hating how the industry had started pandering to the masses, and aimed to maintain a sense of authenticity in their own music. To distance themselves from the marketability of mainstream music, punk was grounded, passionate, and a little rough around the edges, and this naturally led to a tight-knit community culture. Musicians were connected with their music, listeners were connected with the musicians, and punk culture as a whole was connected by a distaste for an otherwise hollow-feeling industry.

Over time, the newly empty nature of corporate culture spread, and it was infuriating. The focus on money above all else was becoming near unavoidable, so punk culture adapted accordingly. What started as a small community of musicians and their fans slowly grew into a united group that refused to be treated as a dollar sign, and the seeds of distrust towards corporate culture grew alongside it. Punks never did, and still don’t, hate capitalism at its core. They’re simply frustrated with what business has become, longing for a sense of connection and belonging in a world that’s otherwise purely transactional. 

Are the pieces coming together yet?

Punk Marketing is Effective Marketing

Punk is ultimately a culture formed for authentic connection, so building a marketing strategy around punk values is a great way to make this same kind of connection with consumers. Punk is a never-ending rabbit hole of expansive and nuanced beliefs, but the vast majority of these beliefs fall under three issues with corporate culture: exploitation, inauthenticity, and mass pandering. Understanding and avoiding these elements won’t necessarily guarantee effective marketing, but they’re a great place to start. Below are a few important rules to remember when developing punk-style marketing to connect with consumers.

Don’t Prey On Your Audience

Believe it or not, consumers aren’t stupid. Even if they fall for a marketing trick, they usually know they’re being manipulated, and that’s no way to earn their trust. But what counts as “preying” on an audience? Where’s the line between harmless influence and malicious persuasion? Punks have developed a particularly keen eye for exploitation to keep their culture pure, so looking through the lens of punk culture can make it much easier to spot. 

When it comes to marketing, one of the biggest red flags is unnecessary and overwhelming negative emotion. Negativity isn’t completely off-limits in effective marketing – even punk bands use feelings of anger and disappointment to make their point – but that negativity needs to have a clear purpose. This purpose can take any number of forms, but it needs to be enough to offset the negativity and leave your audience with a feeling of satisfaction. In the case of punk, that means using anger as a way to inspire listeners and leave them with an underlying feeling of hope, as opposed to riling them up just for the sake of it. 

In contrast, consider how the beauty industry approaches negativity. Much of beauty marketing relies on feelings of shame and inadequacy, framing a purchase as the only way to solve a problem. Embarrassed by aging? Buy our anti-wrinkle cream. Horrendous acne stunting your social life? Just use our product for a few years. Even makeup is marketed as a cure for ugliness, rather than a way to enhance your look. Beauty marketing doesn’t aim to inspire the consumer and earn their support, like effective marketing should. Instead, the industry preys on their audience, intentionally stirring up negative emotions to compel a purchase. And without anything to offset the crushing weight of insecurity, this is the epitome of audience exploitation. 

If you want to connect with your audience, take the punk approach and treat them as something more than a means to an end. While working on your own marketing strategy, think about the emotions you’re trying to evoke. When negative feelings are unavoidable, make sure your audience feels something else to overwhelm that negativity. If a consumer feels worse after viewing your marketing, then you’re doing it wrong. An unhappy audience is an exploited one, and that’s no way to form lasting relationships. 

Show Off Your Passion

Punks want to support people who care about their work beyond a financial incentive, and effective marketing works off a similar idea. Think about the businesses you’re personally most loyal to. Chances are you’d support them even if their prices went up or their services changed, but why? Quality products and constant deals are great for fostering transactional relationships, but effective marketing needs a little something more. If you truly want to connect with your audience, they need a reason to stick around other than your product, and letting your passion show is a great way to start.

But how do you actually do that? The most effective way is to focus your marketing strategy on the “why” of your brand over the “what,” giving your passion the space to naturally shine through. The objective facts about your business are good for pushing sales, but the emotional “why” is what an audience will really connect with. Apple is a company that does this really well. Historically, Apple fans have been far more loyal than those of other tech companies, and this is largely due to the way they frame their company. Instead of focusing on their products, Apple has positioned itself at the forefront of technological progress, and this passion for innovation is what draws in their loyal audience. 

However, there’s another lesson to learn from Apple’s marketing – If your passion is inauthentic, then it’s worthless. There are still plenty of Apple purists out there, but the fanbase isn’t nearly as solid as it used to be. More and more Apple fans have left for other companies over the years, and that loss of loyalty can be directly tied to Apple’s loss of passion. The company is no longer pushing the envelope or advancing the industry in any way, so their claims of innovation have become meaningless. Apple’s advantages have slowly shifted down to the product level, the “what” of their business, so it’s no surprise that their audience is starting to lose interest. This transactional appeal leaves nothing for consumers to connect with on a personal level, making it much easier for Apple fans to justify leaving. 

No one feels connected to a purchase on its own. It’s the surrounding circumstances that make buying something special, so effective marketing requires something beyond transactional appeal. Advertising your product or service in some capacity is important, but it’s even more important that you don’t get caught up in it. While the financial aspect of a business can’t be overlooked, it shouldn’t be the main focus of your marketing. Leave some breathing room for your identity to shine, and the core passions of your business will show through. Let your audience see what really makes your business tick, and they’re sure to respond.

Embrace Imperfection

Punk is often dirty, raw, and unsanitized, but that’s not for the sake of it. The world is a little grimy and imperfect, so embracing these elements of life helps to ground punk in reality and makes the culture easier to relate to. Naturally, then, imperfection is also a key element of effective marketing. It can be tempting to cover up every tiny blemish with a picture-perfect, cookie-cutter brand, but perceived flaws can actually give your business a sense of humanity that’s far more conducive to audience connection. 

It’s understandable why so many businesses aim for a squeaky-clean brand image. Consumers can be touchy, and they have the potential to run at the first sign of anything negative. Perfection is a way to minimize that danger, by covering up anything that might drive away a customer. However, this risk-averse strategy can feel very empty to your audience, making it difficult to form a real connection with them. The key to effective marketing is walking the line of desirability, effectively working to find the sweet spot between risk and audience connection. This ideal balance is slightly different for each business, but it generally means acknowledging your flaws and actively working to improve them, while avoiding the temptation to sweep everything under the rug and pretend your problems don’t exist. 

Starbucks is a business that does this really well. They own up to their imperfections – be it lackluster diversity, deceiving drink names, controversial holiday imagery, or anything in between – and this is why so many people feel personally connected with the brand. Their transparency shows that the business isn’t afraid to lose a few bucks here and there in the interest of improvement, giving Starbucks a relatable sense of depth that would otherwise be absent. It’s an excellent show of good faith, and this kind of non-transactional, genuine relationship with their audience is exactly what’s so attractive to their loyal fans.

Every business has flaws, and it’s pointless to cover them up. Perfection is unattainable, so a flawless business often feels fake and empty. To give your audience something real to latch onto, it’s vital you acknowledge your imperfections. Don’t deny your weaknesses, and be sure to address any issues that may come up. If you embrace your flaws and learn from your mistakes, your audience will thank you.

Learn To Love “Failure”

In an industry that speaks in numbers, punk-style marketing might seem like a failure.

And that’s okay. 

Shifting your focus away from pure profit could potentially decrease short-term revenue, and that might seem like an immediate red flag. The marketing industry is built around quantitative statistics, so it’s natural to worry when your numbers start to drop. However, it’s important to recognize the trade off and stand your ground. A decrease in revenue doesn’t have to mean a net loss, since you’ll more than make up for it with a growing audience of dedicated consumers. 

If your marketing is a “failure” in traditional terms, that’s okay. Punk-style marketing has a different goal, so its measurement of success is different, too. It all comes down to what you consider “effective” marketing and where you place the most value. If you want your marketing to work, step back and assess your priorities. Financial gain is great, but is it your only metric of success? Is it really worth giving up on personal connection just to make a few extra bucks?

If you’re ready to embrace effective, punk-style marketing, it’s time to love “failure.” Because punks know it better than anyone – some things just can’t be measured in cash.

Flexibility Cultural Pillar | GCommerce Hospitality Marketing

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Flexibility, More Than Just A Cultural Pillar For Our Hospitality Marketing Agency

Most everyone born in or around the mid 60’s can certainly recall the acclaimed children’s show Gumby, a youthful rubber like figurine exploring each day filled with adventure. Who knew that almost six decades later we would all be experiencing exactly what our ‘Gumby-like’ capabilities are? Sadly, most days throughout the past two years cannot be defined with adventure and exploration the same way that our rubber friend portrayed each of his own. But we can recognize and appreciate a very critical point of view: flexibility. 

So, I am not just talking about yoga pants and stretching here (although I am confident most everyone’s athleisure wear has become quite the investment) but more so about mental flexibility. Our office space has become a shared space with our furry friends, children’s crafts, a partner’s soundboard for dinner, and Alexa has taken a swift promotion to Executive Assistant. All these woes have quickly become the new default in working during “all things COVID.”

Maintaining a strong culture of flexibility is a must and is essential for the best interests of the company, team, and clients at our hospitality marketing agency. The irony here is that this simple paraphrase is in fact one of the cultural pillars which lies at the foundation of GCommerce (and yes, the pillars were written pre-COVID). There was a time where life existing outside of the office was such a fundamental part of well-being. Now with some adaptivity to that, life is existing in the “office” and balancing this while still ensuring the adage ‘work hard-play hard’. Flexibility has become the most important ingredient to this recipe and one we value everyday at our hospitality marketing agency.

So, to all of those who were fans of our blue-green rubber friend take a minute and reflect on flexibility in your own life. Maybe even put on a red cape because if you have managed one of these scenarios then you have in fact exercised your mental flexibility. Here at GCommerce we were just lucky enough to build on it.

Adaptability Cultural Pillar | GCommerce Hotel Marketing

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How I Live The Adaptability Cultural Pillar For GCommerce Hotel Marketing

Adaptability is growth, and growth leads to opportunity. 

Hotel marketing is an ever-evolving and interconnected field. The ability to adapt is a skill that always needs to be fostered from the ‘top-down’ within any Organization.

GCommerce takes pride in encouraging adaptability in everything we do. How we approach our client's way of work and the changes within the hotel marketing industry to how we learn from each other as an organization (especially in this post-Covid world) will determine our level of adaptability.

Working at GCommerce, I’ve witnessed first hand how much our day-to-day fluctuates around the needs of our clients. One moment, I might be working on Facebook ads for hotels, and then the next web edits. But within that, there are also little nuances that may cause me to change directions entirely and this is why adaptability is so important. Our clients are our partners, and we are only successful when they are, so no matter what needs to be done, I constantly tell myself a solution can be found. Whether that solution comes from me or someone else, at the end, it's all about growing to accomplish the end goal. 

Working from home, you start to understand how important being flexible is. Whether it be how you structure your personal life around work or how you lean on google and colleagues to provide you with ideas you may need assistance on. Adaptability provides me with constant growth as I try to bring the best results to my clients and their business. It is the way we listen, learn, and provide value (or communicate).

Without adaptability it would be hard for organizations to collaborate or express ideas the way they were intended to be, if not better. In this post-Covid era, it is even more crucial to not be stuck in one's way of thinking.

Over the long term the businesses that will succeed are the ones that continually adapt to their landscape as they innovate. We may not be able to predict the future, but by adapting, we can be flexible and one step ahead of anything that comes up. As mentioned earlier, hotel marketing is an ever-evolving and interconnected field, but to be present, grow and succeed is essential for sustaining adaptability. 

Build A Career In Digital Marketing

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Are you one of the millions of people who quit their job as part of the Great Resignation? Maybe you had your next move already lined up or your side hustle took off and became your full time gig. Or maybe you haven’t quit yet, but you’re planning to. Maybe you’re sitting at your desk right now, avoiding your inbox, reading this blog, and plotting your way out. I’ve been in your shoes.

I graduated in 2010, right into the aftershocks of the Great Recession, with a dual degree in English and History. My prospects were not strong. So I did what many others in my position did…I went to grad school. 3 years later I held a masters in Library & Information Sciences. I pursued this path because I really do love libraries and there were supposed to be waves of Baby Boomer retirements that opened up jobs. The former is still true, the latter never happened.

Flash forward to August 2020 and I was beyond burned out. The pandemic exacerbated my growing sense of dissatisfaction with the field but I couldn’t see a way out. The idea of going back to school, again, made my head hurt and I’d already invested so much in this career. I thought that walking away was a sign of failure. But I realized I couldn’t go on being so unhappy for another 40 years before retirement. I needed to do something but I had no idea how to make a career change.

Maybe you, like me, have experienced a dramatic shift in your priorities over the past 2 years when it comes to what you want out of your job. For me it was better work/life balance, better pay, better growth opportunities, and a remote work option. A friend of mine knew that his former employer, a digital marketing company, was hiring and sent the listing my way. At first I was hesitant. I knew I wanted out of libraries but I wasn’t sure how my skills and experience would be relevant. With the benefit of hindsight, I see now that this hesitation was unwarranted. A related degree would certainly help, but making the switch to a career in digital marketing wasn’t as hard as I thought. I wish I had a guide like this to help me prepare for interviews and figure out what to expect so now that I have a bit of experience under my belt, I figured I’d write one myself.

How to Get a Job in Digital Marketing? First, Do Your Research.

Take some time to sit down and sift through job postings. Cast a wide net and get a feel for what different titles mean and how the requirements might change depending on the industry (ie: travel marketing vs. ecommerce). Keep a running list of what sounds interesting to you, what sounds like a possible entry point, and what you emphatically don’t want to do. If you have an end goal in mind – job title, salary, or even company – start thinking about possible paths to get there, especially if you don’t have the necessary experience to slide right into your dream job. Your first digital marketing job may or may not be entry level, but think of it as the first step in a new direction. It’s likely going to take a bit of time before you’re where you really want to be.

If you don’t have a relevant degree, keep a list of companies that either don’t require one or explicitly say they accept comparable work experience in place of a degree. Even if a degree is on the job posting as a requirement, it can’t hurt to apply, especially if you sound like a good fit otherwise. Keep a list of the most common skills that appear on job postings. Identify areas where you know you fall short and start looking for ways to bridge this gap. You could look into boot camps or certification programs, but they’re often expensive and unnecessary. There are countless freely available resources online to help get you enough training to break into the industry, start with those. (I’ve even included a list at the end of this post to help get you started.) 

Once you find a few job titles you think would be a good fit, set up some job search alerts on LinkedIn and start updating your resume. In the meantime, let friends, family, and colleagues who’ve made a similar transition know you’re looking. Experience plays a large role in the job hunt, but word of mouth and personal recommendations can drastically improve your chances. Reach out to people you know who might be able to give you some industry advice, even if it’s a friend of a friend of your second cousin. You never know when a conversation with an acquaintance might lead to a job. 

Assessing Your Skills is Crucial to Making a Career Change

Once you have an idea of what jobs sound interesting to you, it’s time to take a look at what you’re bringing to the table. Create a giant list with your hard skills (ex: Excel, budgeting, reporting) in one column, and your soft skills (ex: creativity, analytical thinking, problem solving) in another. This makes it easier to customize your resume and prepare for interviews based on the job requirements. For each of your skills, try to think of a couple of examples that demonstrate your proficiency in that area. The next step is mapping your skills to the list of common skills you identified from the job postings you pulled.

For example, I hadn’t done keyword research in a digital marketing context before, but I’d taught people how to search within massive databases and ran several social media accounts. I knew that some search terms required filters to be useful (finding Stephen King’s It in the catalog → negative keyword research) and that some keyword combinations packed more punch than others (finding the best Instagram hashtags to promote a library program → finding the right keywords for PPC and on-page SEO). I had experience experimenting with language and deciphering the intent behind the words people chose.

Working in perpetually underfunded libraries also prepared me for managing and maintaining client budgets and analyzing reports to hit ROAS goals. Before, I had to justify every dollar spent as it related to circulation stats (checkouts, renewals, downloads, etc.). Libraries are a service and therefore aren’t expected to turn a profit, so that’s a foundational difference in the fields, but the general work of managing budgets isn’t all that different.

I knew that no matter what, there would be a bit of a learning curve. But taking the time to map my skills in this way helped me shake off the sense of imposter syndrome that kept me stuck in a job I no longer wanted. I’d been telling myself that it was too late to change careers and I had no transferable skills. But I did have transferable skills, I just had to zoom out and view my daily work from a slightly different angle to see it. Doing this also indicated to interviewers that I was prepared and was able to think creatively and conceptually. It helped me control the narrative around what could otherwise have been seen as weak points.

Here are some of the most common skills I came across during my job hunt, I bet you already have some of them: writing, editing, design, content creation, social media management, data analysis, sales, marketing strategy, creativity, analytical, self-educating/keep up with trends, experimental/flexible, adaptability.

Intimidated by a Career Change? You’re Not Alone

Changing careers can be scary, especially if you don’t feel a “calling” to work in a particular field. I was curious if my coworkers had similar stories and how many of them got their start in a field completely different from marketing. Before transitioning to digital marketing, my coworkers came from a variety of industries, including: the financial/mortgage industry, radio, travel call centers, travel sales and tech sales, travel agencies, corporate training positions, the hotel industry, the solar industry, stagehand work, a/v work, and home construction. 

Some of my coworkers hold marketing or marketing-adjacent degrees like a BA in Communication. But many of them went to school for something completely different, like finance and travel. Still others are entirely self-taught – they learned on the job, started as freelancers, and took advantage of freely available marketing resources online prior to landing their first gig. Our company specializes in the hotel industry, so it makes sense that many of my colleagues have backgrounds in travel and hospitality; maybe there’s a similar leap you can make within your current industry.

One of the biggest hurdles for me was moving beyond the sunk cost fallacy – the idea that I had to stay in my previous career because I’d already invested so much time, schooling, and money into it. But in this area too, I wasn’t alone. Some of my coworkers spent 20+ years in their previous career before making the switch. Others transitioned out after 2 or 3 years. Everyone has their own reason for making such a major change, but nearly everyone I spoke to mentioned the need for job security and less volatility. For some of us, the decision was wrapped up in questions of personal identity and letting go of our plan of how life was supposed to go. For some it meant walking away from an industry we believed in, but that we couldn’t rely on to pay our bills and or maintain our mental health.

For most of us it involved a lot of effort at the ground level to learn the ins and outs of marketing, to catch up to our coworkers who did go to school for this work, and to find our niche. For those of us coming from another industry, it meant we had to hit the ground running. It requires a lot of work at the start, yes, but it’s not impossible by any means.

For the first few months I felt like I was building the plane while flying it. But so far I’m finding that digital marketing is engaging and interesting work. It satisfies my creative and analytical sides in equal measure. The position I’m in now is flexible – I don’t work nights, weekends, and holidays anymore. I work from home so I see more of my husband and I spend less time in traffic. In the grand scheme of things, I’m still new to the industry, but I already see more opportunity for growth and development (and income) than I did in 7 years in my previous career.

Word to the Wise: How to Make a Career Change From People Who’ve Done It

I asked my coworkers who made a similar career change if they were given any advice they found particularly helpful when first getting into digital marketing, or if they had any wisdom to impart now that they were on the other side of it. Here’s what they had to say:

  • It’s important to remember that we all have skills and things to gain and contribute.
  • Life doesn't need to be constricted to one specific industry in order to be successful. 
  • Trying new things can lead us to places we never would've known were possible.
  • It’s all about the right attitude. You need to be excited about learning something new, the ability to problem solve, and the willingness to roll up your sleeves and do anything it takes to get the job done.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new. What do you have to lose? Nothing.
  • You should do as much research as possible about any industry you are looking into.  Talk to friends or friends of friends who might be in that vertical.
    • Some areas to explore for building a career in digital marketing: SEO, PPC, Display, Social Media, Email, Website, Metasearch, Local, Reporting, Research, On-Page, Content
  • Set goals for yourself and don't be afraid to ask your coworkers questions.  
  • Be prepared to dive in head first and never be afraid to ask for help from your colleagues.
  • Figure out which vertical of marketing you are most interested in & begin to learn about that topic & its subtopics.
  • Learn your "learning style"...that way you can teach yourself things in the most efficient way possible. Google/research every topic/word you are unfamiliar with the second you come into contact with it.
  • Every marketing resource is available online. Articles are available for every topic in marketing & digital marketing. It helps to create a list of topics & then find articles on each in order to learn about them. YouTube is also a great resource.
  • Creating your own website/vlog is huge! It is also a great way to begin learning.
  • Don't fall for "online gurus" who try to sell you on a course/mentorship. The great thing about the internet is that we can find so much useful information for free by top professionals in that field.

Resources to Kick Start Your Career in Digital Marketing

MOZ: Beginner’s Guide to SEO

Holistic SEO

Search Engine Roundtable

Search Engine Land

SEM Rush Blog

Google Skillshop

Microsoft Ads Certification

GCommerce Works with the Best Hotels in the World

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Somewhere out there someone’s writing ads about HVAC. 

And we feel for them.

We enjoy digital marketing, but getting to do digital marketing for hotels and travel is a rare opportunity that we all feel fortunate to call our jobs. We spend our days dreaming about beach escapes, mountain retreats, rock ‘n roll havens and everything in between. We feel a true connection to our clients. Not only because we love travel, but because we love to help these partners succeed through driving awareness and direct bookings.

We wouldn’t be here without our clients and for that, we give so much thanks and gratitude. Cheers to another great year. One with continued challenges but also a whole lot of successes. 

Since we spend so much time working with our clients, we wanted to reflect on some of the clients our team members would most like to visit and why. Read below for more travel inspiration, if you didn’t need some already.



Jael Dugdale (Search Marketing Strategist) - I couldn't decide so I have two, Enchantment Resort in Sedona sounds like a dream one I would love to take Tallara and Robert too, the amenities alone for kids and adults sound like a lot of fun and it's all there at the resort. The second one is Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans. I consider them the Golden Goose for Aparium, even with 2020 and then setbacks from Hurricanes they just keep on surpassing our expectations. I want to visit it for myself to see what they are doing. I mean the city alone is a good reason to visit, but they seem to have it together, from the restaurants to the people and rooms. I've always been interested in them. 

The Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans


Nicki Stavres (Marketing Strategist) - As I’ve recently moved out west from the east coast I have found a greater love and appreciation for nature and the great outdoors. Our client that I would most love to visit is Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona. To be in such a serene setting, surrounded by red rocks would be truly a dream setting for pure relaxation and adventure.

The Enchantment Resort in Sedona Arizona


Chelsea Simmons (Marketing Specialist) - The client I would most like to visit is Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa in Pigeon Forge, TN, because I have always been such a big Dolly Parton fan. I also love the Smokey Mountains and am craving that "cabin-in-the-woods" kind of vacation. 

The DreamMore Resort & Spa in Pigeon Forge Tennessee


Amy McNeill (Director of Account Services) - Choosing from our amazing clients is really hard! We have such an amazing collection of oceanfront resorts, ski-in/ski-out resorts, golf resorts, and downtown city center hotels. I've been lucky enough to visit many of them throughout my 5+ years at GCommerce. If I have to choose it would be the 5-star Las Terrazas Resort in Belize. I really want to get back to the island and scuba dive! 

The Las Terrazas Resort in Belize


Chris Jackson (Principal & Chief Evangelist) - I have been dreaming of getting to Scotland to play golf with my son. The dream continues to get paused with the challenges of traveling internationally during the pandemic.  Scotland and the natural scape of golf, how it was originally meant to be played, just got a little closer to home.  Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, one of GCommerce’s newest partners, is a golfing mecca for golf purists and might just be as close to a Scotland golfing experience as we can get right now. 

The Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon Oregon


Katy Jeter (Sr. Project Manager & Web Developer)- The client I would most want to visit is Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon. Every photo I've ever seen of the property is simply breathtaking. To know that many guests will spend the next two years dreaming of their chance to visit this other world over the next two years... I simply can't wait to get there.


Patrick Buckner (Search Marketing Strategist) - The client I would most like to visit is Hotel Californian in Santa Barbara. They are a client I have worked with since the beginning of our relationship and yet, I have never been to Santa Barbara. I would love to check out the Funk Zone and all the nearby cool bars and restaurants. 

The Hotel Californian in Santa Barbara California


Mark Oliver (VP of Business Development) - The property I would like to visit the most is Dollywood.  Why, you ask?  The reason is that I am very interested in learning why so many people are drawn to the resort.  Is Dolly Parton the main draw or is it the resort with Dolly on the side.  I would also like to better understand Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa and it’s incredibly popular appeal.  I would also like to experience their new resort, Heartsong, and what their idea of luxury is.  And finally, I would like to see Brian in his element.


Dan Brewer (Business Development Representative) - The GC Client I would most like to visit is Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley. Going to bring my wife, Karen. We're going to ski all day, have a great dinner and then sit by the fire. It's going to be wonderful.

The Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City Utah

Ashley Scharpf(Search Marketing Specialist) - I love the idea of being out in nature, but I hate heat, bugs, sunburn, and the other nuisances of actually going outside. Enchantment Resort in Sedona, AZ seems like a great balance of the two though, with a peaceful and cozy resort in an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous environment. I want to visit so much that I've had literal dreams about it!


Cat Jones (Search Marketing Specialist) - The client I would most like to visit is Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in San Diego. Whenever I work on SEO optimizations for them I get a little lost in the photos of their property. I would be quite comfortable with a month-long stay in the Spa House, wandering through the olive groves, and taking advantage of the daily yoga, and I would love to poke around in their culinary garden.

The Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in San Diego California


Bill Morlock (Sr Customer Success Manager + Client Relations Supervisor) - My choice would be Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood.  There are quite a few reasons why Sunset would be my choice.  Among them would be to finally experience this awesome and very unique property that I know quite a bit about, but have yet to experience first hand.

Also along those lines, Sunset is a property in our portfolio that has been a real innovator in numerous unique, extremely creative, and one-of-a-kind types of initiatives and campaigns that we have implemented throughout the years.

Finally, the location, West Hollywood, SoCal is an area that is always interesting to visit and an area that I have worked with numerous properties and visited many, many times and it would be great to be able to tie Sunset Marquis in with my experiences in the LA area.

The Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood California

Erin Fischer (Marketing Manager) - The client I would like to visit the most is Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood. With their rich history in rock ’n roll and oasis-like atmosphere I feel like it would be the perfect escape from a chaotic world. I also love visiting the West Hollywood area and exploring Santa Monica Blvd. and Sunset’s location would be the perfect place to setup home base.


Christy Minnick (Senior Accountant)  - I would like to stay at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Florida. It looks like a utopia.

The Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan Florida


Eric Hoffman (Customer Success Manager) - The client that I'd most like to visit is Callaway Gardens Resort in Georgia. The reason why is that Callaway Gardens has created several new in addition to existing special events that I would love to experience in person. In particular, I'd love to see Fantasy in Lights and check out the different scenes that have been created and have become beloved by the locals and visitors to the Gardens.

The Callaway Gardens Resort in Pine Mountain Georgia


Taylor Fujimoto(Creative Director) - Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood, CA. What’s cooler than hanging out with celebs in Hollywood? The raw tunes of many of the greatest classic rock bands filled our car anytime we’d take a road trip. I guess that’s what you get when your dad was a teenager during the greatest era in Rock. With a passion for Rock n Roll, I’d love to check out the Morrison Gallery and speak to some of the long-time employees and hear their amazing stories.


Paul Mooney (Marketing Development Specialist) - If I had one client to visit it would be The Cove, Eleuthera resort in the Bahamas. Eleuthera is a long thin island that's very tranquil, not too touristy, and offers the opportunity for an authentic island getaway experience. True paradise on earth.

The Cove, Eleuthera Resort in The Bahamas


Scott van Hartesvelt(Founder) - I’d most like to visit Eau Palm Beach Resort in Florida, simply because of their commitment to wellness.  In recent years, I’ve become acutely aware of my own health, wellbeing and mortality.  It's become clear to me that investments in material things are fleeting, but investments in mental and physical health are invaluable.  Eau Palm Beach strikes me as the place you would create in your dreams,sparing no expense, to refresh your body, revitalize your mind and enhance/prolong your quality of life.  There is no greater gift.


Jeff Hebert (Senior Developer) - I’d love to visit Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, partly because they were the first site I worked on when I started, but also because I have never had the chance to  stay at a hotel on the beach. The accommodations look amazing, and they’re really nice people whenever I’ve had the opportunity to talk with them.

The Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach California

Alex Horrocks (Search Marketing Strategist) - Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach because of their beach resort location!


Brittany O'Neil(Client Success Coordinator) - The ideal client would be a brand that is passionate about their own identity and authenticity. I believe that this client would enjoy their brand and want to highlight what makes their experience individual and why their guests choose to experience them. If I had to pick one, for me it would be one of the Moonstone Hotel properties.

The Moonstone Hotel in Cambria California


Lisa McGivney (Director of Marketing) - This is a terribly tough question. We have so many amazing clients in so many dreamy locations. If I had to pick just one (at this moment) it would have to be Enchantment Resort and Mii amo spa in Sedona, Arizona. I dream of a relaxing (and kid free) escape to the desert where I can get lost gazing out into the red rock, finding spiritual connection in the vortexes and unwinding with the most amazing spa treatments at this one of a kind property.


Cathryn Sandoval(Senior Customer Success Manager) - The client I would like to visit most is The Pontchartrain Hotel. I have never been to New Orleans, but have always been drawn to the vibrancy of the city. The Pontchartrain Hotel offers a classic NOLA experience and is located right in the heart of the Garden District, so you'll never miss a beat. After a day of exploring (and eating) I'd love to enjoy a nightcap cocktail on the Hot Tin Rooftop overlooking downtown New Orleans.

GCommerce Cultural Pillar: Flexibility

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Flexibility, More Than Just A Cultural Pillar For Our Hospitality Marketing Agency

Most everyone born in or around the mid 60’s can certainly recall the acclaimed children’s show Gumby, a youthful rubber like figurine exploring each day filled with adventure. Who knew that almost six decades later we would all be experiencing exactly what our ‘Gumby-like’ capabilities are? Sadly, most days throughout the past two years cannot be defined with adventure and exploration the same way that our rubber friend portrayed each of his own. But we can recognize and appreciate a very critical point of view: flexibility. 

So, I am not just talking about yoga pants and stretching here (although I am confident most everyone’s athleisure wear has become quite the investment) but more so about mental flexibility. Our office space has become a shared space with our furry friends, children’s crafts, a partner’s soundboard for dinner, and Alexa has taken a swift promotion to Executive Assistant. All these woes have quickly become the new default in working during “all things COVID.”

Maintaining a strong culture of flexibility is a must and is essential for the best interests of the company, team, and clients at our hospitality marketing agency. The irony here is that this simple paraphrase is in fact one of the cultural pillars which lies at the foundation of GCommerce (and yes, the pillars were written pre-COVID). There was a time where life existing outside of the office was such a fundamental part of well-being. Now with some adaptivity to that, life is existing in the “office” and balancing this while still ensuring the adage ‘work hard-play hard’. Flexibility has become the most important ingredient to

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