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Explore Branson Partners Go Digital With SEM Co-Op

There’s an old, tried-and-true saying about accomplishing more together. If you want to see it in action from a destination marketing standpoint, just take a look at Explore Branson

Developing a SEM Co-Op Program

In partnership with Madden, Explore Branson offers a cooperative marketing package to all its partners, but, as a community famous for its live entertainment, the organization wanted to help these partners step up their digital marketing efforts in a cohesive way. Explore Branson worked with our Madden team to develop a new Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Cooperative Program for their live entertainment partners, creating the first matching co-op program for live shows. Through this program Branson/Lakes Area CVB matches SEM marketing funds invested by its live shows and theaters partners. The program also includes educational workshops for Branson’s partners teaching them the value of SEM.

By combining efforts through this co-op, the shows and venues receive a greater share of relevant and interested consumers going to their site rather than a competitor’s. At the same time, it eliminates keyword competition by preventing the individual shows from bidding against the CVB which would work against the collective goal.

As part of the co-op program, Madden experts conduct research and identify opportunities for the most actionable keywords to drive qualified traffic to each partner’s website. The partners each receive custom ad copy development for review, with actionable text using the researched list of search terms. The Madden team stays involved monitoring and optimizing each partner’s campaign for optimal results.

The benefit of working together

This program quickly sold out in the first year and now has an expanded match with a 30% increase (and still counting) in partner participation for 2023. Since its launch, Explore Branson and its live entertainment partners have seen the benefit of working together through this SEM Co-Op Program. Results from 2022 include:

The success seen in 2022 with the live entertainment industry led Explore Branson to expand the co-op program to attractions in the community.

The SEM Co-Op wasn’t the first time Explore Branson collaborated with Madden to offer cooperative sales opportunities to their partners. Madden worked with Explore Branson to create five co-op opportunities for partners that aligned with Branson/Lakes Area CVB’s overall destination marketing program. These co-op programs allowed users to be featured in both the Official Annual Vacation Guide and—enabling partners to highlight their organizations with Featured Listings, Native Ads, Banner Ads, eNewsletter ad units, and sponsored Calendar of Events.

Following the guide and digital advertising co-op programs, the program was extended to include written storytelling. This not only enhanced content on, but also allowed the partners to have new content on their own websites that was approved by the CVB and written by storytelling experts.

Whether through the SEM Co-Op or the guide and digital advertising program, Explore Branson and its partners’ efforts were strengthened by coming together and were able to get more for their financial investment, proving that old saying about accomplishing more together.

Tell me more about offering co-op programs to my partners!