From The Evangelists: Erwin Doña III of Novotel Manila

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One could say that all marketing professionals are a jack of all trades, master of none―as much as they want to specialize in a certain aspect of their role, they must also learn to have a general view of all their responsibilities. But whether marketing professionals have only one or multiple skills, they nonetheless need to be creative. Effective and creative marketing is how customers gravitate towards products and services after all. Erwin Doña III, Director of Marketing Communications at Novotel Manila Araneta City, knows a thing or two about this.

With almost 20 years of experience in the hotel and hospitality industry, Doña has come to believe that learning and mastering many skills involves working with other people―in his case, as someone in the public relations field, it’s initially building relationships with the media. He has remained firm with the idea that as a marketing manager, it’s important to build personal relationships with journalists and editors instead of just business relationships. And this is exactly what he’s done in his role in Novotel.

Doña found that one way to build personal relationships with journalists is by doing PR profiling, which is similar to guest profiling. Doña and his team gather information about their contacts in the media―such as their food preferences and special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries―and get in touch with them on a personal level, as a way of embodying the warm culture of the hospitality industry.

“A decade ago, I thought of making these personal relationships as my personal investment. I know I’m always going to do marketing no matter what company I transfer to. That’s why I always bring my network and circle with me wherever I go. That’s how important PR profiling is to me,” Doña said.

He added that building a personal relationship with journalists is also one way for him to understand how they work and how Novotel should craft their campaigns. When it came to their stories, Doña made sure that he and his team have something that journalists can write about. There are the usual promos and press releases for special occasions but they made sure that Novotel presented journalists with content during the in-between periods.

“You have to really be creative because you’ll run out of stories, especially in marketing. You have your template for all the special occasions—New Year, Valentine’s Day, back- to-school period, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the rainy season, Oktoberfest, Halloween, then Christmas. You could have the template memorized but your problem lies in the in-between moments where you don’t usually have stories to tell,” Doña said.

You can read the rest of the feature by pre-ordering The Evangelists here:

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