April 28, 2011

South Dakota Tourism Media Strategies

Have you ever wondered what it's like to implement a national advertising campaign for an entire state? Well, wonder no more. Wanda Goodman, Media and PR Manager for the South Dakota Department of Tourism, has been busy putting the current summer campaign together, which carries the theme, "The Places of a Lifetime" or "The Memories of a Lifetime."

"The campaign includes several elements, including newspaper inserts, national magazines, television and online advertising in various markets, social media integration, and cooperative marketing with partners throughout South Dakota," Goodman said. Some of the past SD Tourism campaigns have included Vikings game sponsorship, tailgating at three Vikings games, and a pheasant hunt giveaway, and other contests and promotions through Facebook.

Because of the current economic status, the tourism industry has become even more competitive. Goodman said South Dakota markets heavily in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado because "they have the highest propensity to travel to South Dakota, and they consistently show up in our top states for inquiries, booking, and web traffic."

Frequency and consistency are very important when advertising tourism. "People in these markets recognize our ads, they relate to the product we offer, and will sometimes even come up to us at a travel show booth and start singing our jingle. That's when you know you have fantastic brand recognition and you're making an impact," Goodman said. Research is also key to getting return on media in any business. Goodman and the media/PR department conduct focus groups, website usability studies, and audience profiling to determine who to target, what media they use, and where they are located.

Along with the developing public relation strategies for campaigns, handling media communication, and ensuring a positive reputation and brand image, Goodman and her team are responsible for monitoring traditional and social media coverage to see what's being said about South Dakota as a travel destination. "All of our traditional efforts plant the seed, and drive people to our website, which is where they continue the process of planning and purchasing by way of our online trip planner and booking capability. In addition, our social media efforts are good ways to promote short-time offers and upcoming events," Goodman said.

To learn more about South Dakota Tourism, follow them on Twitter, "Like" their Facebook page, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and visit their blog.

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