Marketing to the Generations

Appealing to Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers in your marketing can be a challenge. Keeping similarities in mind can help you determine your strategy:

No matter the age group, visitors are looking for places they can fulfill their “bucket list” or “once-in-a-lifetime” travel dreams. Targeted marketing based on behavioral patterns and preferences is effective regardless of age. Adjusting your strategy, style, and language based on the medium can help you reach different generations on different platforms—as long as you stay true to your core branding. The most important thing is to share what’s unique about your destination and inspire wanderlust.

Finalist for Two ADDY Awards

We’re very proud and excited to announce that the digital campaigns of our partners, Experience Kissimmee and the Stowe Area Association, have been selected as finalists for the American Advertising Federation of Tucson Digital Marketing Campaign of the Year.

Even Jedi Need a Kissimmee Vacation

Kissimmee makes vacations, so we knew their campaign would need to match the energy and excitement that goes along with Experience Kissimmee’s brand in order to impress and inspire potential visitors. The campaign was timed to launch with the hype of Rogue One and the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular launching at Disney’s Hollywood Studios™ and featured Star Wars-themed content.

Click here to read the story.

A Land of Winter Wonders

The Stowe Area Association dreamed up the idea of a campaign that revolved around a winter wonderland in order to show off the many opportunities in winter beyond skiing. The campaign expressed the authenticity that is integral to the unique, personal, and friendly environment of Stowe. To accomplish this, the content included interviews and callouts from local experts, including a sled dog named Merck.

Click here to read the story.

The 2017 Tucson American Advertising Awards (ADDY) will be held on Saturday, March 11 at Casino Del Sol. The winning campaigns will be on display in the AAF Tucson Creative Showcase Gallery. To read more about the ADDY Awards and AAF Tucson, click here.

Being a Google Premier Partner is kind of a big deal

You’ve probably heard the term “Google Premier Partner” before, but what does that actually mean?

There are three tiers of partnership with Google: Google Member, Google Partner, and Google Premier Partner. To be recognized as a Premier Partner not only means that our employees are experts in the field of Google digital advertising, but also means that they trust us to treat your campaign with the utmost care.

Don’t just take our word for it; here’s what Tom Hammel from Google says:

“Madden was recently awarded Premier Partner status as an agency and has been recognized for their extensive specialization around Search & Mobile SEM. One unique quality of their service is their deep specialization in travel. It’s rare to see an agency so hyper-focused on one industry. The advantage is that they’re well experienced in solving the unique needs of travel clients, so there is lower risk that any mistakes will be made. The last thing I’ll say is that I’ve looked over their Display Remarketing campaigns myself and they’ve implemented all of our best practices.”

How does the Partnership benefit our clients?


The expertise of our employees is second to none. We are constantly learning new and better ways to run campaigns, passing on the benefit of their knowledge to our clients. At Madden Media, we have over a dozen Google Certified Experts who have specialized in several different disciplines of Google AdWords. We also receive exclusive, executive business training from Google, so we are always up-to-date on new products and procedures.


To achieve and maintain a Google Premier Partnership, we had to prove a history of client satisfaction and retention, client revenue growth, and company growth. Madden Media consistently meets and exceeds these benchmarks—so you know you are placing your campaign in the right hands.


Any business can become a Google Member, and any marketing company worth their salt can qualify to be a Google Partner. So with all of those accounts, how can you make sure Google is paying attention to your campaign? As a Premier Partner, our accounts are given priority over other Google accounts. Google representatives are available to speak with us by phone, chat, or email, so we can always discuss the best practices and options for your specific campaign.

To be selected as part of such an exclusive partnership gives us the support from Google to back the expertise and care that goes into each campaign we run—making our clients happy. So yeah, we’re pretty proud of that.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a video worth?

One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research.

Whether you want travelers to explore the great outdoors, shop ‘til they drop, wine, and dine, or experience your destination beyond the conference room, video is a great way to showcase all you have to offer. Visible Measures reported that brands using YouTube/TrueView see views of previously existing content increasing by up to 500% after posting new videos—promoting one awesome video could mean even more views or clicks on your other videos.

Let’s be real—video is fast becoming one of the best ways to make an impact on target audiences:

  • Hundreds of millions of hours of video are watched each day—YouTube
  • Video will account for 80% of global internet traffic and 85% of US traffic by 2019—Cisco
  • 73% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching videos that explain a product or service—Animoto

Storytelling through a video series: Soul of PHX

Our long-time partner, Visit Phoenix, wanted a new way to digitally promote their visitors guide in 2016. The concept was to take readers behind the scenes of Scott Baxter’s cover photo shoot and get an insider’s look at the creativity that goes into the guide. The video sparked a new idea for Visit Phoenix—what if we tell more stories about interesting local professionals and their views about the Soul of Phoenix? Soon, the video series was produced and distributed, sharing the stories of residents that were inspired to “put down roots, pursue their passions or start a business”.

Check out the series here:

How will you use the power of video to tell your story?

Content that highlights your destination is a powerful marketing tool. When you’ve got a visually stunning video and a team that can ensure your message reaches your target audience, you’re ready to encourage wanderlust.

User Generated Content

As travelers plan their next trip, they scour the Internet, read articles and reviews, and check every social media platform for inspiration. What’s more inspirational than making an authentic connection with a destination through images and videos that show what it’s really like to visit? User Generated Content (UGC) showcases your brand through content from actual visitors—people who have enjoyed and captured what it’s like to immerse themselves in the experience of your destination—and shares that content with prospective visitors.

UGC is the new word-of-mouth advertising

Think back to a time before the Internet, when the cool pictures and stories people shared about their recent adventures made you want to book your next trip. The channels in which we now receive this word-of-mouth advertising have changed immensely.

Thanks to social media, a person’s circle of trusted resources has expanded from immediately available friends and family to hundreds, maybe even thousands of people on the Internet. People tend to want to share their experiences, and the influential power of seeing someone you know and trust post stories, videos, and images is exponential. How can marketers take advantage of this and create new connections? A diversified marketing plan with branded content and the added clout of UGC complementing each other strengthens the promotion of your destination.

People tend to want to share their experiences, and the influential power of seeing someone you know and trust post stories, videos and images is exponential.

Incorporating UGC into your materials

If you’ve already started using UGC in your campaigns, you may have struggled with the amount of time it takes to curate photos and videos that fit your brand. For DMOs that have tight budgets and lean teams with limited time to spare, it can be challenging to make the UGC dream a reality. Madden’s partnership with CrowdRiff brings you the opportunity to work with two teams who know the best ways to implement your visitors’ photos and videos on your website and promotion materials.

The CrowdRiff platform works differently from others because it seamlessly gathers and organizes images without limitations. The core platform was built with DMOs in mind, using the insight gathered from an analysis of what DMOs need and want—a flexible, easy-to-use, and quick system that doesn’t burn up your valuable time. The artificial intelligence of the platform uses quality filters to curate better images with higher quality.

Weaving these high quality images from your visitors into your digital strategy will help you create a better connection with potential new visitors. This authentic representation of your destination helps you tell your story in a way that engages your target audiences and inspires them to take a closer look at all you have to offer. From printed guides to online content, there are no limits on where and how you can incorporate genuine content created by real visitors into your brand message.

Great content needs smart distribution

Content without distribution is like a car without gasoline.

You want to inspire travelers with your content, but they have to find it first. That’s where smart and intentional distribution strategies come in. Last week we discussed the different types of content best utilized at each stage of the traveler journey. Promoting your content with various distribution channels at each stage of the journey is equally important—here are our suggestions for creating your strategy:

Native Advertising

Imagine reading an article on one of your favorite sites. As you scroll down the page, you may see related or recommended articles on a side bar or at the bottom of the story, enticing you to click and keep reading. That’s how native ads draw readers in.

When you’re relaxed and not in a hurry, you’re more likely to opt-in to related content.

We love native ads because they catch readers when they’re likely to be in “leisure reading mode” and more open to exploring. When you’re relaxed and not in a hurry, you’re more likely to opt-in to related content. Most native ads are unobtrusive and flow with the page layout—typically they don’t look like an advertisement, just another piece of content to consume.

Our Recommendation: Utilize native ads for your experiential stories to maximize inspiration.

Social Media Marketing

We’ve talked about using social media to your advantage multiple times, but that’s because it’s so versatile! Whether you’re sparking that initial interest in your destination or ready to spur conversion, Facebook has your back.

Remember that not all content has to be words—imagery and video are engaging and can draw audiences in on multiple platforms. Have a fun behind-the-scenes video? Have a quick countdown of the best photo ops nearby? Think about the video length and what you hope to achieve before choosing YouTube, Facebook, or in-stream video.

Our Recommendations:

Get travelers dreaming with a stunning Instagram gallery.

Encourage planning with a fun Facebook Canvas Ad.


When someone you like tells you about a trip they took and posts really cool photos you’re more likely to pay attention, right? Whether you want an influencer to write and promote a blog post about their experience in your destination or simply make their audience aware of your destination through their social media outlets, there are advantages to partnering with influencers beyond the content itself.

Followers trust their favorite influencers—an ad probably wouldn’t be as meaningful to those audiences when compared to an endorsement from someone they admire.

Influencers show off your content in a way that doesn’t come off as “sales-y”, meaning partnering with them gives you the opportunity to create a genuine connection with audiences. Followers trust their favorite influencers—an ad probably wouldn’t be as meaningful to those audiences when compared to an endorsement from someone they admire.

Our Recommendation: Encourage your influencer to share their itinerary to get their followers imagining their own trips.

The Right Fit

Content and distribution go hand in hand. It’s important to pair the right content with the right distribution channel to make the biggest impact on your target audience.

Have you got what it takes to be a Content Master?

Every destination has a story and no doubt, you want to tell yours. The last thing you want your visitors doing is wading through a sea of content, searching for the stories that best resonate with them. You want to entice, inspire, and exhilarate travelers at just the right time with the right type of content. Fear not, we’ve got your back. Let’s walk through the traveler journey together, as we conduct a symphony of storytelling.

Stage 1: Inspiration

Experiential stories plant the seed of inspiration in travelers’ minds. Whether or not someone has seriously considered a trip to your destination before or even visited in the past, sparking interest is the first step in the traveler journey. We like to capitalize on the power of your Visitor Guide and expand its content online with more stories and videos to develop brand voice and introduce your destination as a great place to stay and play.

Bonus Stage: Connect with audiences through images and perspectives from influencers who add authenticity to elements of your campaign.

Stage 2: Researching

Learning about what a destination has to offer follows the initial inspiration. Your Visitor Guide’s feature stories can be brought to life online. Repurposing editorial and maps and adding complementary video and interactive elements to the content allows travelers to dive deeper into all your destination has to offer.

Stage 3: Dreaming

At this stage the intent to travel grows and you can nurture that feeling with immersive content. User-Generated Content filling your gallery board, delivering in-depth videos, and interactive elements allow for more engagement. Brand intrigue increases at this stage enticing travelers to be a part of the experiences they are seeing on screen.

Stage 4: Imagining

At this point, travelers may know cool things about your destination, but now they need to imagine what they would do if they were actually there. Itinerary-focused content creates opportunities to envision their trip and helps travelers develop specific trip outlines. Personalization and atmosphere are key elements with each piece of content at this stage. Don’t be afraid to get personal!

Stage 5: Planning

Say it with us—listicles! Also known as list-format articles, listicles count down items such as the top things-to-do and see in a short, easily digestible presentation. Deciding to take action is when planning starts and this stage is all about conversion. The fun design of each planning piece of content, whether it’s video, infographic, Facebook Canvas Ad, or influencer photo gallery, draws travelers in and gets them ready to choose the locations to experience during their visit.

Creating buzz for your brand with influencers

The Power of Influencers continues to grow—so how will you utilize that power in your digital marketing campaign?

Showcase your destination

What makes your destination unique? Maybe you have quirky shops and cafés, the coolest craft breweries around, farm-to-table dining, or scenic hiking trails. Those special things that make your destination stand out from the rest will entice travelers to visit. Consumers trust influencers to share their authentic experiences, so what better way is there to show off your destination’s hidden gems than by partnering with them to tell your story?

Connect with your target audience

Just like you’re building your brand, influencers are hard at work building theirs. If you want to reach couples looking for a romantic getaway, foodies looking for a culinary adventure, or millennials looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience you should partner with an influencer who embodies a similar lifestyle. Influencers are everyday people who create a relatable rapport with their followers. Bridging a relationship with your ideal audience is easier with the help of an influencer—in fact, 92%of consumers turn to influencers for recommendations over celebrity endorsements or advertisements, according to MuseFind.

Keep visitors coming back

Consider inviting an influencer to check out a new ride at a theme park, an anticipated museum exhibit, or a recently renovated attraction. The experience the influencer shares with their audience—whether followers have been to your destination before or not—will inspire travelers and give them another reason to visit. Talking about the latest and greatest offerings can spark interest in learning more about what makes your destination the perfect setting for the Best. Vacation. Ever.

How do we persuade people to travel?

Why do we travel? We want to explore the path less taken, to discover ourselves, to say goodbye to the mundane and reconnect with the ones we love. It’s all about embracing those curl-up with a good book and lay out on the beach, welcoming those grab-life-by-the-horns moments, relaxing like every day is the weekend, and making new memories. The dreamer and the adventure-seeker, the weekenders and the planners—they all come together for one core reason: to feel something.

Our clients are proud of their destinations and rely on our content’s ability to create an emotional connection with readers. Amplified Storytelling uses story arcs and narrative transportation to draw readers in and get them imagining themselves in the characters’ shoes. Sometimes a story sticks out in our mind as extra awesome and strikes the perfect chord with the destination—that’s what happened with “The Crown Jewel of Columbia County.”

“I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Ichetucknee Springs story! I’ve had so many people say, ‘It’s like I’m there in the story with them!’” Paula Vann, Columbia County TDC

How do we take an idea and turn it into a successful Amplified Storytelling campaign?

It all starts with research and communication. The Madden and Columbia County teams discussed story concepts that would achieve their goals. Every story concept is based on an in-depth software analysis of keywords—“Ichetucknee Springs” proved to be a fun topic that would ensure the content had high SEO value based on search demand. Columbia County Tourism Development Council’s main goal was to have authentic content, meaning people reading the story and then traveling to the destination would feel the continuity between content and personal experiences. This was accomplished by hiring a writer native to Florida to go to the destination and include all the details of his excursion. Imagery was an important element while creating the story—it’s easier to imagine yourself in a place when you can see the wildlife enjoying the warm sun, the calm turquoise water, and many green shades of the foliage.

Once the story and its visually enticing Presentation Layer were created and perfected, our teams went to work amplifying. We distributed the content through ads on Facebook and other lifestyle, news, and social media sites. Advanced targeting parameters and continuous optimization helped people discover the story. We’re not talking random clicks to site with readers moving on quickly—our stories typically engage readers so they more than double the time spent on page when compared to the site average, and this was no exception. Columbia County TDC saw over 93% new visitors to their site, meaning over 6,900 new people connected with the destination’s story. Readers spent an average of five minutes on the page. When was the last time you spent that much time on a single page of a website? The emotional connection created between the reader and the story increases the intent to travel, and that’s why inspirational Amplified Storytelling is unique among other types of content.