19 Jan Myth of the “Ocean View”
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the words “Ocean View” I get a picture in my mind pretty similar to one above. There are certain expectations that go hand in hand with those two words, either singly or when used together. Imagine my surprise while driving through East Orange the other day and saw one of the Realtor signs in front of a $1m+ home (probably double that, actually) with the words “Ocean View” listed front and center.
If you know the area at all, this was in that corner of Orange that’s called almost North Tustin or unincorporated Santa Ana. Beautiful homes. Really. I have no doubt that there is an absolutely astonishing view from many rooms in the house. Even though the home is 15 miles from the beach, I have it on good authority that yes, on a clear day one can indeed see the ocean and even further to Catalina Island. “Ocean View”? Technically. I guess.
My now-wife and I took a trip to Monterey Bay a few years ago. Ok, it was more than a few years ago as this was B.I. (“Before Internet”) so we relied on AAA travel guides to plan our trip. As young folks on a budget we tried to keep the trip within our modest means. However we were (and sometimes still are) a sucker for an upgrade – provided it fits that sweet spot on the curve between “this would be really cool” and “there’s no way we could afford this even if we threw all our credit cards into the basket”. Looking through that AAA guide and gleaning as much information as we could from those grainy b+w photos, we settled on an inn with prices that stop just short of shooting into the stratosphere. And look! For only an additional $49/night we could upgrade to a suite with an ocean view. If it were 2015 we would have simply clicked on “add to cart”, but we had to settle for calling the inn with our cordless (not cellular) phone and booking the room.
After leaving SoCal at midnight (seriously) to drive up the coast, we arrived at the bay around 2:30 the next afternoon. (Miserable evening, I don’t recommend it) Using the 1″ square/low rez map in our trusty AAA travel guide, we navigated our way down to the water, found our street and started looking for our top-shelf accommodations. As we cruised slowly up the hill away from the ocean looking left and right to try and find our destination, it slowly (very slowly) began to dawn on us that we must have the wrong address. No cell phones or dimes in the car, so we kept driving up and up as our sleep-deprived brains tried to come up with a new strategy. Imagine our surprise when we actually found our luxury, ocean-view accommodations some 3 miles from the water. First impression were a bit underwhelming, but (exhausted) beggars can’t be choosy so we parked and checked in with the front desk.
Surprise #2, we were actually across the street in what I thought was an abandoned office building. Our “suite” was actually rather large and sparse, in a industrial warehouse kind of way. There was a small row of windows up on the wall and we found that yes indeed, if we stood on the bed we could just see a corner of the bay from our (technically-correct-although-maybe-a-bit-misleading) Ocean View Suite. (I heard about it then, and I continue to hear about it to this day. They never forget, do they?)
So how do we swing this back around to Digital Marketing in 2015? How about this – when either reading about an Agency on their website, or listening to their pitch in person, go beyond the buzz words and dig a little deeper. We all throw the same words around with the same authority as Moses carrying the Ten Commandments down from the mountain. “Social Media”, “SEO”, “SEM”, “Long-Term Strategy”, “Award-Winning”, “Big Data”, “Responsive Web Design”, “Rich Media”, “Engagement”, etc. etc. Do they know what those words really mean? And far more importantly, how do they relate to you and your marketing needs? Can they define them in relation to your goals and present a clear strategy to get you there? They should be able to talk with you about these potential avenues to business growth before you sign on the bottom line and hand over that retainer check.
We will, and we do. Every time.