Destination Marketing Expert Joins Madden

Madden Media is excited to announce that Jamie Claudio has joined the agency as its newest Vice President, Destination Strategy. She will support Madden’s partners’ overall destination strategies and develop innovative marketing campaigns.

Claudio’s deep understanding of how tourism ties to economic development, combined with her agency experience across verticals, allows her to think like a DMO while guiding destination management organizations need towards success. In addition to her role leading the development of powerful marketing solutions for destinations, Claudio will assist in the expansion of Madden’s public relations services with a focus on creating cohesive client strategies across communications channels. 

Claudio previously served as Vice President, Marketing & Sales for Discover Long Island where she was responsible for overseeing marketing, meetings sales, and international travel trade endeavors on behalf of the organization. Prior to her DMO experience, she spent several years working for New York City public relations and marketing agencies with a focus on consumer and luxury goods before falling in love with the travel industry when she began working for Development Counsellors International. During her time at Discover Long Island, Claudio also served on the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) Board of Directors from 2016-2020.

Audio Advertising: Get in the Ear of Travelers

Streaming audio is experiencing a boom. According to a study by Edison Research and Triton Digital, users spent an average of over 16 hours a week listening to streaming audio — a 19 percent increase from three years ago. That same study showed 62 percent of the United States’ population had listened to online audio that week — a nine percent increase from three years ago. There is a prime opportunity for audio advertising.

Key players in the travel industry are demonstrating they understand the value of audio advertising. Tripadvisor recently partnered with Audible — giving Tripadvisor Plus members access to Audible’s audio originals, audiobooks, and podcasts. 

As the popularity of on-demand audio grows, destinations should take advantage of this channel to connect with their target audiences. Here’s how our media experts recommend deploying audio advertising through audio streaming platforms to amplify your brand message. 

Use Geo-Targeting

The audio streaming advertising environment allows destinations to target users based on where they are listening. DMOs should take advantage by deploying audio advertising in key origin or conquesting markets. You can segment targeting even further, deploying ads to users based on when and where they are listening, such as a morning commute or in the gym. 

Target Traveler Intents

Destinations have unique assets, such as culinary, outdoor recreation, sports, history, and more. Travelers have matching interests and choose their vacation destination based on what they enjoy doing. DMOs should develop intent-based target audiences, defined by why people should travel to their community, and then advertise on podcasts that discuss topics that align with their intent-based audiences’ interests.

Borrow Reputability  

Numerous thought leaders and celebrities have started podcasting over the past few years. These individuals have a loyal following of listeners who trust their judgment and give weight to their endorsements. DMOs can borrow this reputation and have hosts read ads organically — providing an authentic recommendation, vital in the travel industry. 

Message Pull-Through

Online web browsers have ad-blocking extensions, which make digital display and traditional ads easily overlooked or ignored. Advertising on audio streaming services guarantees your brand messaging will be heard as streaming services don’t allow users to skip pre-roll ads. 

Creative Ads

Some audio streaming platforms have complementary voice-over services that allow DMOs without audio recording equipment or voice-over talent to easily extend their advertising into the audio space — opening new doors in messaging, music, and concepts.

Niche Targeting

Some platforms enable destinations to target devices based on their browsing history, physical location, and how users are listening. This creates opportunities for DMOs to target users that have recently visited a competitor’s website, are listening in their car, and at the office or in the gym with unique messaging for each scenario.

Numerous Touchpoints

Streaming platforms intersect multiple times with users’ daily routines, whether on mobile devices, tablets, TVs, cars, or gaming devices. Audio advertising provides numerous opportunities to get your message in front of target audiences. 

Audio Advertising, Part of an Integrated Strategy

Advertising on streaming audio platforms is only part of a truly integrated marketing strategy. Your website must have landing pages that listeners will be directed to based on their interests. It would be best to have digital marketing tactics in place to remarketing users who have been served your audio ads. Audio advertising is an important component, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Madden specializes in putting all these pieces together and developing omnichannel media plans as part of integrated marketing campaigns. We’re standing by to bring your destination’s experiential marketing to life and fold it into your larger campaigns.

How to Know When to Rebuild Your Website

Your website is your most important marketing tool. You need it running at peak performance. Do you know when the time is right to rebuild your website? We work with DMOs across the country, and we hear a lot about MarTech challenges. Common pain points are often about destination websites.

  • “Our website is running so slow!”
  • “Working with our vendor is a headache.”
  • “It takes forever to make changes to our website.”
  • “Our website doesn’t do our brand justice.”
  • “Our marketing strategy has outgrown our website.”

Do any of these sound familiar? If so, it might be time to rebuild your website.

See how Madden rebuilt Atlanta CVB’s website. 

Troubleshooting Your Website

Our partners have a lot of websites challenges, but we’ve found that they all fit under one of three key themes:

  • Technology troubles on the backend
  • Lackluster design and layout
  • Lack of integration with the overall marketing campaign

Sometimes, these challenges are easily addressed with small tweaks or updates. However, some issues require a full rebuild. Here are some tips to help you identify when the time is right to rebuild.

Back-End Tech Trouble

When websites are not performing well there are often numerous backend problems that cause sites to slow down, and affect your SEO. Some common problems include, too many third party integrations, incorrect or inconsistent tags, metadata issues, missing or invalid H1 tags, and more. 

Sometimes, these problems are solved by addressing each problem individually, chipping away at the problems incrementally. However, this can be costly if your problems have piled up over time, and often if your website is running slow, there are numerous issues that could be costly to fix. 

Aside from the cost, there are also potential workflow issues that create bottlenecks. Many of our partners who work with other developers have trouble with ticket systems or turnaround times, so issues are not solved in a timely manner.

Stale Creative Concept

Rebranding or deploying a new creative strategy is exciting! Getting a new logo, colors, typography, and creative assets makes our DMO partners proud, and they rightfully want to show off their new brand. However, we hear many of our partners are frustrated that their website does not do their new brand justice. 

To address this, some partners have tweaked their layouts or added more elements to their existing website. However, many of their websites were created around the old brand, and their platforms are not dynamic enough to properly showcase their new brand. 

Other times, we hear partners wanting to update their websites with videos and photos more frequently. For example, swapping out creative assets quarterly to showcase seasonally appropriate brand assets. However, some partners do not have access or an easy way to update creative assets, so there is a visual dissonance on their website while they wait to have assets updated by vendors.

No Alignment with Overall Strategy

As time passes, marketing strategies evolve with changing objectives, campaigns, and emerging innovations. It’s vitally important that your website be optimized to work in concert with your other marketing tactics. For example, if your marketing strategy is targeting meeting planners and you have tactics driving them to your website, your website should include a meetings-specific landing page, virtual tours of your venues, forms to submit RFPs, and more. 

Some platforms allow DMOs to create additional elements on their websites, but years of building and building onto a site could create a “Frankenstein’s Monster” effect with incongruent content and an incohesive look and feel. In some instances, platforms do not allow DMOs to easily add elements to their websites and what ends up happening is ineffective websites or delays due to vendors.

Know When It’s Time to Rebuild Your Website

Through talking with our partners who have undergone a website rebuild, we’ve found they have a more effective website, more efficiently use resources, and can more easily manage their website.

You might be experiencing some of the challenges we discussed in this deck, but you’re still asking yourself if rebuilding your website is the right solution. Here’s how Madden approaches that question with our partners:

Would you rather…

Invest resources building a responsive website ORInvest resources into a sub-optimal website
Create a dynamic, beautiful website ORTry to beautify your static web pages
Seamlessly integrate with your strategy ORHave a stagnant website that is quickly outdated
Take control of your website ORRely on vendors and developers

If you chose the options on the left, rebuilding your website is the right choice for you.

Madden Clients Win 2021 eTSY Awards

Madden Media is excited to share that our clients Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (Atlanta CVB) and Traverse City Tourism won 2021 eTourism Summit Excellence Awards (eTSY Awards) — in recognition of their exceptional destination marketing last year.

Atlanta CVB was awarded the eTSY Award for Best Website, Large Budget, recognizing the new Built in collaboration with Madden, the website highlights the destination’s pride in its diversity and creates a personalized experience for each website visitor. The new website features a dynamic design and natural language processing technology (NLP) to automatically recommend articles to readers based on their onsite behavior.

My Happy Place campaign   

Traverse City Tourism was awarded the eTSY Award for Best Content Marketing Program, Small Budget. Developed with Madden, the My Happy Place campaign was created in response to the pandemic. COVID-19 threatened Traverse City’s peak summer tourism season, when many travelers visit the shores of Lake Michigan in the hot months. Understanding that a summer with few visitors would be detrimental to the community’s local economy, Madden and Traverse City Tourism developed the “My Happy Place” campaign. 

Our top goals were to create and deliver advertisements that emphasized social distancing, small group sizes, and outdoor activities, and target consumers in key drive markets, especially people who visited Traverse City in the past or had recently purchased tickets for a cruise or international flight. The campaign. Overall, from June 2020 – September 2020, the campaign generated over 26,000 attributed room nights, $4.4M in gross hotel booking revenue, and over $1M in-destination spending  — representing $11 generated for every $1 spent.

eTSY Awards

Announced during the eTourism Summit Conference, the eTSY Awards, in partnership with Expedia Group Media Solutions and Destination Marketing Podcast, celebrates the best of 2020-2021 tourism campaigns and programs

How iOS 15 Privacy Changes Impact Your Email Marketing

Apple’s iOS operating system is incredibly popular, with most usage studies showing it accounts for nearly 50 percent of mobile web traffic. New iOS 15 privacy changes are here, and while they are focused on user privacy and limiting some information that has traditionally been available to email marketers, we believe you don’t have to worry as much as you might think.

Read our previous insights about how iOS 14 privacy changes impact your Facebook marketing.

What’s Changed?

There are three primary privacy changes in iOS 15. These features must be opted into, however if recent data proves true, you can again expect a nearly ubiquitous usage rate. iOS users will also need to have a network connection to take advantage of these features, although with mobile, that is of course highly likely.

Mail privacy via open rates

The Mail app in iOS will preload pixels into a cache when an email is received, effectively killing the ability to accurately track opens (as a received email is not an opened email).

Private Relay to block IP addresses

Private Relay will add layers of encryption and obfuscation to the user’s browser and device, effectively masking their IP address from websites and services. An example of this impact is the ability to look up a user’s location automatically based on their IP address. With Private Relay enabled, you are effectively hiding your true location.

To quote Apple directly, “Private Relay is a new internet privacy service that’s built right into iCloud, allowing users to connect to and browse the web in a more secure and private way. When browsing with Safari, Private Relay ensures all traffic leaving a user’s device is encrypted, so no one between the user and the website they are visiting can access and read it, not even Apple or the user’s network provider. […] This separation of information protects the user’s privacy because no single entity can identify both who a user is and which sites they visit.”

Hide My Email

Hide My Email allows users to share unique random email addresses with sites that they do not want to know their true email. Emails sent to these addresses will still be delivered to the user’s inbox, but the sender will not know that user’s real email address.

What’s the Impact?

You will lose the ability to accurately track open rates on emails sent to Apple devices using the native iOS Mail app, and the loss of reliable location data via user IP address lookup. With nearly 39 percent of people reporting that they use Apple mobile devices to read email, this is not a blip on the radar.

But Maybe That’s Not So Bad

At Madden, we see open rates as somewhat of a false positive to begin with. They are best equated to Google’s Analytic bounce rate. Too often, website owners hang their hat on bounce rate, when it is a somewhat misleading and inaccurate statistic. Just like a bounce is not necessarily always a bad thing, an email open does not always mean much. Many email clients offer split pane views that show message lists on the left and the messages themselves on the right. If a user is mindlessly hitting the down arrow through their inbox and your email opens, did it matter? Probably not. Even if they do open it, what does it mean if they don’t act on it?

What about Hidden Emails?

The Hide My Email feature does not create an email that you cannot use; rather, it is an email that the user has likely created for either your website or a set of sites to help keep their privacy. Sending to that email will result in an email being delivered to the user just as if you have their real address. This is a feature that sites such as have used for years to help keep user’s information private.

What Really Matters: Click-Through Rates (CTR)

Rather than just knowing if a user (accidentally or otherwise) just opened your email, you should be caring if they actually interacted and clicked on a Call to Action (CTA) in your email. That engagement shows genuine interest, and you can still easily add UTM tags to know when a user came to you via an email. An interested user will be more likely to spend more time on your site and also provide personal information so that you can market more directly and accurately to them.

How Does This Affect DMOs?

Shifting What You Report On

If you use email marketing as a tactic to generate interest in your destination on any platform, you will have to stop telling everybody what your open rates are. But that’s ok – it’s time to put aside the open rate paper tiger anyway. Click-throughs are the new “it metric”!

Geolocation-Based Personalization

If a user has enabled the Private Relay, you will no longer reliably know where they are visiting you from if you try to look up their IP address against a known database of locations. While you can use JavaScript libraries to ask the user where they are when they visit your page, they must opt-in to that.

How Should DMOs Respond?

Adjust Your Thinking

As mentioned early, recent privacy changes made available by Apple resulted in 90 percent+ adoption rates. While this doesn’t mean that the majority is hyper-focused on privacy, it does mean that they have weighed being tracked vs. not and figured that the latter is better. If that is what your site visitors want, find ways to honor and support that.

Opt-In Gives Visitors the Power

By shifting to an opt-in model with clear (and honored) privacy policies outlining what you do with their data, you will still find plenty of visitors willing to share their information with you. After all, you are the best vacation destination in the world, right? Believe in what you offer, be open and transparent with your visitors, and let them agree to work with you as much as possible as a first step.

In Conclusion

Transparently, it’s hard to say what Apple is up to with these changes. Do they truly value their user’s privacy, or are they using their platform as a giant hammer to swing at other industry giants like Google and Facebook? Or both? Either way, these privacy measures will impact how we market and track iOS users, and we all need to respond.

Madden Adds Significant DMO Experience to Team

Madden Media continues to grow our team with destination marketers who bring DMO experience to our agency. Our extensive experience working in the tourism industry, paired with our new team members’ DMO experience, makes us the ideal partner to guide destination marketing organizations through the intricate landscape they navigate. 

More than 10 percent of our staff have prior professional experience working at DMOs. We understand the challenges and responsibilities our clients face because we have experienced it all first-hand. This perspective positions us to provide true destination management partnerships and deliver holistic solutions that collectively impact our clients’ visitors, residents, and stakeholders. 

“Madden continues to expand our destination marketing expertise by adding professionals to our team with deep roots in the tourism industry and years of community development experience,” said Dan Janes, CEO at Madden Media. “Our most valuable asset is our people, and we will continue building our team with professionals who can best serve as an extension of our partners’ teams.”

Jen Carlisle

Joining Madden as a Destination Strategy Director, Jen Carlisle brings more than a decade of tourism marketing experience to the agency. Having most recently worked at VISIT FLORIDA as a regional partnership manager (2018-2021), Carlisle provided marketing solutions and co-operative programs to DMOs and tourism-based businesses in 21 central Florida counties. 

Leveraging our full-service capabilities and Voyage, Madden’s industry-leading destination intelligence platform, she will develop integrated marketing strategies and deploy innovative marketing campaigns to grow our partner communities. Carlisle will work with clients to highlight their distinct visitor experiences and set them apart from competitors. 

In addition to her time at VISIT FLORIDA, Carlisle was also an appointed member (2016-2018) of the VISIT FLORIDA Industry Relations Committee, and an appointed member (2013-2018) of the Pinellas County Tourist Development Council.

Joe Ramler

After spending the past 10 years as a Senior Economist with the Montana Department of Commerce, Joe Ramler joins the Madden team as a Senior Economist — focused on developing analytic strategy for Madden’s destination partners. In his previous role, Ramler grew the Montana Office of Tourism’s economics data program and developed analytics solutions to inform campaign planning, benchmarking, and measurement.  

Joe is excited to help clients understand and communicate tourism data insights easily through the ever-growing Voyage platform. In his new role at Madden, Ramler will help enhance Voyage’s destination intelligence capabilities and create data development solutions to track attribution and measure ROI. He will work alongside clients to create custom dashboards within Voyage and help them connect the dots between destination marketing, tourism, and economic and community development. 

Fallon Oldenburg

Our newest Account Strategist, Fallon Oldenburg, joins Madden from Galena Country Tourism, where she served as its Marketing & Communications Director for the past year. While there she managed all strategic planning and marketing messaging for the DMO to drive visitations into the community. 

Her knowledge of the DMO landscape helps guide innovation campaigns to bring people to destinations. Oldenburg will help develop strategic plans for  integrated marketing strategies and oversee the execution of client work to ensure everything is completed on schedule. She is excited to bring her expertise nationwide, especially by helping smaller destinations, like Galena Country Tourism, compete with larger, more well-known destinations. 

In addition to her experience at Galena Country Tourism, where she also served as a Marketing Manager (2018–2020), Oldenburg is a self-employed photographer. She will bring this creative background to her role — helping DMOs capture their values in design concepts and messaging. 

The Best Way to Invest Your Tourism Recovery Funds

During the pandemic, many states allocated federal funds toward their DMOs to boost tourism. While some states immediately dispersed this money to maintain their visitation levels in 2020, others have only recently begun releasing the funds to their tourism marketing organizations to recover lost visitation levels. Madden helped numerous destinations develop tourism recovery campaigns to get the most out of their recovery funds last year, and we’re standing by to help build recovery campaigns in 2021.

When given recovery funding, destinations commonly have some questions. How can you best invest these funds? How do you manage the reporting requirements? How do you maintain compliance with restrictions and timelines? Through our years of working extensively with publicly funded tourism organizations and our work developing COVID-19 recovery campaigns last year, we are ideal partners to help lead your destination’s recovery and uphold your fiduciary responsibility.

Things to Keep In Mind

There are a few things you should know before making plans to invest your tourism recovery funds. 

Know Your Timeline

Some states require funds be allocated during a specific time. Make sure any plans you make for your investment fall within that time period. 

Understand Restrictions

Some states are putting restrictions on how you can use the money. Review these restrictions to ensure your plans remain compliant.  

Establish Reporting Structure

Some federal funding —like CAREs Act funds — require strict reporting on how money was spent and outcomes resulting. Before executing your recovery plan, make sure you have a reporting structure in place to keep track of your investments and campaigns. 

Recovery Funds Investment Recommendations

Here are our three recommendations for how you can best invest your recovery funds. 

Invest for the Long Term

While CAREs Act funding represents a one-time budget influx, you should look to invest in assets that will pay dividends over the long term. These federal funds should be used to enhance your destination marketing infrastructure by improving your website, acquiring destination intelligence, or developing a bank of new creative assets. These projects will be paid for with CAREs Act funding acquired during the pandemic, but will continue to deliver value in the years to come. 

Maintain Flexibility

Media buying campaigns that utilize recovery funding must be flexible. The changing nature of the tourism industry, with the delta variant offering the most recent example of the unpredictability of the past 18 months, requires DMOs to prioritize the ability to make quick adjustments. For this reason, any media tactics you deploy as part of your recovery campaign should be primarily centered around digital tactics. 

Using digital tactics will prevent you from getting locked into a campaign or creative that might become irrelevant or out of touch if the travel environment changes after locking in the contract. Digital tactics allow you to make updates to creative or messaging and give you the option to pause your campaign if needed. The approach is also more effective at reaching people interested in traveling during this time through remarketing and intent-based targeting capabilities. 

Prioritize Accessibility

With the ever-changing state of travel and tourism, DMOs must prioritize content people want to see. Any storytelling or landing pages created with recovery funding must be tailored to what is important to travelers right now. It would be valuable to invest in modifying your website for the pandemic by prioritizing FAQ sections with information about public health guidelines and landing pages that give travelers an idea of what to expect when visiting your destination.

Pandemic Recovery Partner

Bringing people back into your community will create a collective impact that will ripple through generations. An effective recovery campaign will boost your local economy and benefit residents. As part of our full-service capabilities and holistic destination marketing partnership, we are standing by to develop your recovery campaign and help best invest your tourism recovery funding.

Creative Experts: Maddenites Grow Their Creativity at Home

Creativity breeds innovative designs, campaign concepts, and messaging. While Madden creative experts generate unique ideas that spark imagination while at work, many grow their skills, gain inspiration, and discover new techniques at home as well. This ever-present creativity benefits our clients and makes our creative team stronger. 

The best creators gain influence from their past work and analyzing the work of others.This means that creators stay fresh and enhance their skills the more time they spend building, shaping, and immersing themselves in art. Here is how some Madden creative experts spend time practicing their creativity outside of work and how it benefits the work they do for our clients. 

Bria Hammock, Managing Creative Director

Five years ago, after being too busy with work and life responsibilities to create art in her personal life, Bria picked her paintbrushes back up. Since then, she has rediscovered her passion for painting and found an outlet to refresh her creativity. 

Painting primarily contemporary wildlife portraits, Bria has found that this more traditional art form has kept her from feeling stagnated in her art and gives her a different outlet for her creative ideas. Her paintings also give her a space to explore different color schemes and textures that she otherwise wouldn’t attempt in her client work. She also finds that getting away from the computer screen and working on a physical canvas helps her creativity wander rather than be restricted by the digital medium. 

Having numerous shows at galleries and museums, Bria has taken away some important lessons from her personal art experience. She finds that strategically planning out her theme and different elements of her galley are similar to how she strategically approaches clients’ brands. Making these deliberative decisions and understanding the power of small details and nuances have elevated her client work. She’s also found a way to have her personal art crossover into her Madden art — recently creating a panoramic backdrop for Willamette Valley’s farmer’s market activation that was heavily influenced by her landscape painting style

Jon Artigas, Design Strategist

Jon takes advantage of living in picturesque Florida. He takes trips around his home state with his camera, shooting everything from sunrises and thunderstorms to rocket launches and meteor showers. Along with his various other creative hobbies, including sketching, painting, and woodworking, Jon finds his at-home art has given him an outlet to push his creative abilities and boundaries. 

His photography has given him an outlet to train his artistic eye. Traveling different places and identifying and capturing the unique elements of a location helps Jon find artistic renderings of everyday life — an experience that seamlessly translates to his work developing creative assets for destinations. 

More than helping him become a better teammate for our clients, Jon finds his art outside of work makes him a better artist. He finds motivation in striving to become better, not settling for “pretty good,” and pushing himself to perfect his craft. He brings this mindset to work and pours everything he has into making the work he delivers to clients his best. 

Ian Ferguson, Design Strategist

Finding the need to clear his mind and reset his creative brain, Ian turned to the meditative pottery wheel to escape his hectic schedule. He uses pottery to turn on different parts of his mind and let his creativity wander. 

The benefits of his pottery extend beyond mental health. He finds that it has changed his creative approach. Before starting a piece, Ian would approach his art focused on the final product. Now, he all concentrates on the process. Pottery can lead to imprecision through unpredictable glaze reactions and the unforgiving malleability of clay. However, Ian has embraced the need for flexibility and brings that into his professional art — letting his creativity wander while trying new things rather than fixating on just churning out deliverables. 

His pottery has influenced some work as well. Some glaze combinations come out of the kiln with unique color palettes he can explore using in graphic design. Most importantly, Ian’s pottery helps him keep art fun and maintain his passion, inspiring him in his professional endeavors. 

Your Dedicated Creative Team

There are countless creative experts at Madden who, like Bria, Jon, and Ian, bring unique perspectives and passion to their art and client work. As a full-service agency, they also have access to a cross-functional team of media and data analysis experts to inform their work. This ensures the creative assets they develop are not only visually stunning but tailored to compel target audiences. Bria, Jon, Ian, and our entire team of creative experts are standing by to bring your brand to life through imagination-sparking art.

Madden and Visit Idaho Win 2021 ESTO Mercury Award

Madden Media is excited to share that our client Visit Idaho won the 2021 ESTO Mercury Award in the digital campaign category. Announced during U.S. Travel’s ESTO Conference, their “Cool Times, Warm Memories” campaign was recognized as the top destination marketing digital campaign. 

Matt Borud, Chief Business Development & Marketing Officer at Visit Idaho and Addy Coleman, VP, Account Strategy at Madden Media

Developed in collaboration with Madden, the “Cool Times, Warm Memories” campaign shared real stories about the cool winter experiences in the state and warm memories visitors can make. Together, we creatively told real, joy-inducing stories from four locals that show the possibilities of a Idaho winter escape. Through the fun webisode series, featuring whimsical animation, the campaign built an emotional connection with prospective visitors.

The Mercury Awards recognize members for excellence and creative accomplishment in state and territory destination marketing and promotion; and inspire, through showcasing outstanding work, the continued development of imaginative and exciting marketing and promotional programs.

In addition to Visit Idaho’s 2021 ESTO Mercury Award win, four other Madden clients were named as finalists for 2021 ESTO Destiny Awards. Atlanta CVB (Destination Website), Traverse City Tourism (Integrated Marketing and Messaging Campaign: Overall Marketing Budget $1M to $5M), Visit KC (Printed Collateral Materials), and Visit Independence (“The Road Less Traveled”) were all recognized for their destination marketing excellence. 

The Destiny Awards recognize U.S. Travel destination members for excellence and creative accomplishment in destination marketing and promotion at the local and regional level; and foster the development of imaginative and innovative destination marketing promotion programs and activities.

Out-of-Home Activations: New Ways to Do Destination Marketing

Want to get back into experiential marketing now that more people are comfortable with in-person events? Madden works with our partners to create destination marketing campaigns that include engaging out-of-home activations. 

As part of a holistic, integrated marketing strategy, DMOs should identify out-of-home activations and events to help move their brand forward. By meeting your target travelers where they are, identifying ways to reinforce your brand pillars, and adopting the audience’s culture, destinations can create an atmosphere of engagement that people remember. 

Here are some examples of how Madden is activating unique out-of-home experiences with our destination partners. 

Meet Your Target Audience Where They Are

Visit Tampa Bay set out to develop a campaign that compelled adults between 20-30 years old to visit the destination. As part of the “Unlock Your Inner Pirate” campaign, Madden worked with local restaurants and bars in Visit Tampa Bay’s key fly markets to hold brand takeover activations. 

Visit Tampa Bay branded signage, including neon lettering and selfie backdrops adorned each location. The bars also had beers from independent Tampa, FL breweries on tap to showcase one of the destination’s top experiences, the city being home to numerous craft beers

These brand takeovers of bars and restaurants were a great way to reach adults 20-30 in Visit Tampa Bay’s key fly markets. Carefully vetted locations served the clientele the DMO was aiming to reach. In addition to getting these people to interact with the Visit Tampa Bay brand, we ran geofencing on each location and delivered remarketing ads to people who attended the event. 

Find out how Madden created video assets to promote the “Unlock Your Inner Pirate” campaign.

Reinforce Your Brand Pillars

We recently rebranded Willamette Valley Visitors Association. Previously, the destination’s brand was defined and known for its wine. However, the new brand highlights additional brand pillars such as agritourism, natural resources, outdoor recreation, and artisan-made products. 

To help launch their new brand, we developed an omnichannel media plan for Willamette Valley to showcase their new identity and spread awareness of all of the great experiences the destination offers. Part of this media plan was out-of-home advertising in strategically identified locations that aligned with the new brand to ensure the ads had the highest impact. 

In Seattle, one of Willamette Valley’s top drive markets, we hosted a booth at a local farmer’s market. The booth was decorated with a panoramic backdrop of Willamette Valley branding and illustrations and featured samples from the top artisanal, independent food shop partners in the destination. Additionally, we placed a Willamette Valley billboard near the farmer’s market — visible to passersby and market attendees. Geofencing was established around the farmer’s market and billboard as well to create a remarketing pool of people who encountered each.

Advertising at and near the Seattle farmer’s market provided a great opportunity to raise awareness of the Willamette Valley brand in a key drive market. The nature of the event also enabled the brand to reinforce its brand pillars, such as agritourism and artisanal shops. The event drew people whose interests likely overlap with Willamette Valley’s destination offerings. 

Adopt Audience Culture

Visit Independence has sponsored an Independence Day at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, for the past few years. The stadium being only a 15-mile drive from the destination, the sponsorship provided a great opportunity to spread awareness of nearby attractions, lodging, and dining to the fans. 

This year, Madden and Visit Independence wanted to make a bigger impact following the pandemic that prevented fans from attending Kauffman Stadium. Previous sponsorships included signage and a booth, but this year Madden worked with Visit Independence to create packs of 12 custom baseball cards, each spotlighting an Independence experience.

The Independence cards emulated vintage baseball cards, with a picture on one side and stats and description on the other. The cards also included a custom URL for a Visit Independence landing page that gave more information about the destination’s experiences. 

The strategic giveaway resonated with people attending Kauffman Stadium’s Independence Day event. The 1960s baseball trading card design would be familiar to fans attending the Royals game, strongly resonating with baseball fans at the game and would be engaging to read during the long idle periods between innings. This is a great example of integrating a target audience’s culture into marketing communications to create memorable moments rather than using traditional marketing collateral in a non-traditional setting.

See how Madden worked with Visit Independence to create unique destination marketing assets.

Part of an Integrated Strategy

Out-of-home activations are great ways to engage with target audiences and strengthen a destination’s brand. However, these tactics are only part of a truly integrated marketing strategy. Your website must have a landing page to direct activation attendees towards for more information. You should have digital marketing tactics in place for geofencing activations to remarket to the people who interacted with your experiential marketing. Additionally, activations lend themselves to media pitches and potential earned media opportunities. Madden specializes in putting all these pieces together and developing omnichannel media plans as part of integrated marketing campaigns. We’re standing by to bring your destination’s experiential marketing to life and fold it into your larger campaigns.