South Dakota Department of Tourism -

2017 RFP – Advertising, Marketing & PR Services

Questions & Answers #76-100


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# 76

Q:   What major marketing initiatives are planned for 2017 and 2018?

A:   We are launching a big-data project to better inform our efforts across all channels and make our approach more personalized. Also, we’ve got multi-year commitments to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Rose Bowl Parade and the Minnesota Vikings.


# 77

Q:   During the past five years, what have been your most effective marketing and/or campaign efforts? Why?

A:   Our most successful marketing efforts have been those that engaged with the audience in a personal way, and showed them something they weren’t expecting. In the last five years, this has been accomplished through influencer programs, an increase in unique content creation and curation, event activations that surprise and delight, an eCRM effort that delivers relevant and timely information, and traditional and digital campaigns that connect and build the South Dakota brand through unforgettable imagery.


# 78

Q:   Why are you conducting the RFP at this time?

A:   It is mandated by law.


# 79a

Q:  Who is the incumbent creative agency?

A:   Lawrence and Schiller in Sioux Falls, SD.

# 79b

Q:  Will they be participating in the review?

A:   No, they will not.  (updated 5/5/17)  They will be submitting proposals for our advertising, marketing and public relations work just like other agencies. They are not part of the internal review team that will review and score proposals. The internal review team will consist of senior members of the Department of Tourism.

# 79c

Q:  Who is the incumbent public relations agency?

A:   NJF/MMGY Global, New York City.

# 79d

Q:  Who is the incumbent social media agency?

A:   MMGY Global, Kansas City, MO.


# 80

Q:   What are the strengths of your current advertising/creative program and what are the areas of opportunity?

A:   We’ve been honored with numerous national marketing awards over the past five years for our efforts and their fun, engaging creative. South Dakota inspires a greater-connection to the free-spirit in all of us and our creative has strived to share that feeling. There’s always opportunity to align more with that brand promise, especially in a more personalized way that isn’t constrained to traditional markets.


# 81

Q:   What are the strengths of your current digital marketing program and what are the areas of opportunity?

A:   The same can be said for our digital marketing program – it’s performed well but there’s always opportunity to align more with our brand promise in a more personalized way that increases our geographic footprint.


# 82

Q:   What are the strengths of your current public relations program and what are the areas of opportunity?

A:   South Dakota has a unique product to promote to the media, making this a strength. We have a willing and cooperative industry to engage with media members. The state has hundreds of stories left to be told. On a national and international level, we are still a destination that has yet to be discovered and explored. There is great potential for new growth and interest, making this an opportunity.


# 83

Q:   What are the strengths of your current social media program and what are the areas of opportunity?

A:   Especially in the past year, we’ve restructured our team and approach to make it more genuine and playful. We’ve had some great campaigns over the past couple of years that have made the most of fun creative to dramatically impact engagement. The opportunity lies in building on these efforts, to keep growing our engagement and audience connections.


# 84

Q:   Who (or what segments) do you want to visit South Dakota, but have not been able to attract, yet?

A:   We’ve done well to transform the perception of South Dakota from an affordable family vacation to one where visitors will find truly amazing natural offerings, welcoming citizens, and a real sense that the pioneering spirit lives on. With that, we still see opportunity reaching those higher-earning micro-segments that have the want for authentic experiences and resources to spend five days or more enjoying the entirety of our state.


# 85

Q:   How important is the international visitor and which countries are currently a priority?

A:   International visitation is important to South Dakota and is growing. We are active in travel/trade missions / outreach, and in consumer marketing (Canada, UK, Germany, Australia/New Zealand) in the following countries: Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and China.


# 86

Q:   How important are travel agents to South Dakota tourism?

A:   For our international audience, travel agents continue to be very important in planning and booking travel, both because of the more rural nature of our location, and because international travelers see travel agents as a safety and security measure when traveling internationally. On the domestic side, the research we’ve seen is that travel agents have gained in popularity for use among Millennials, which of course is an important segment for us to reach.


# 87

Q:   Does a budget need to be included in the comprehensive public relations and social media plans; if so, what range should be reflected?

A:   No, budgets aren’t mandated, but feel free to propose them. We currently spend between $375,000-$400,000 on PR efforts. We spend around $300,000 on social media efforts.


# 88

Q:    Proposal formatting is clear. However, portion 9.2.3 is repetitive with other sections. Can it be omitted?

A:   Yes, it can be omitted.


# 89

Q:  What past PR efforts have been most successful in driving visitation?

A:   We find that conducting one-on-one appointments with travel writers and travel media, connecting with journalists at media events in target or non-target (but large media markets) markets, and getting them to South Dakota to experience the state for themselves is incredibly important in overcoming misperceptions, and showing them just what South Dakota is all about. We have seen great success in utilizing our Mount Rushmore mascots to engage audiences on a one-to-one basis and connect them to our brand in a fun and unique way. This might occur during an event activation directly with the public, or through the mascots appearing on a national morning news shows such as the TODAY Show or Fox & Friends. Our state’s tourism industry has witnessed seven straight years of growth, and we attribute some of that to the public relations and marketing strategy and mix that we implement.


# 90

Q:   What addition or improvement would you most like to add to your program in the next two years?

A:   We have had great success in securing national media coverage in the last 4+ years. We look forward to building this national coverage beyond our iconic attractions and events and diving in a bit more intimately with the destination on a national level (while continuing to focus on our other goals and metrics).


# 91

Q:   What is your biggest business challenge?

A:   Our biggest challenge is having the financial resources to do everything we want to do. Our reach is only limited by our budget. We strongly believe that we offer a tourism product in South Dakota that is unique in all the states and has nationwide – and global – appeal.


# 92

Q:   Is this a mandated review or voluntary?

A:   Mandated.


# 93

Q:   Are you happy with the work of incumbent/most recent agency?

A:   Yes, but we are ALWAYS looking to get better. We are never comfortable resting on our laurels. We want to continue to push ourselves. We want an agency that will help us expand our footprint, while providing cutting-edge PR work.


# 94

Q:   Can you describe the range of investment in PR program?

A:   For domestic media it varies between $375,000-400,000.


# 95

Q:   Does this budget include fee and out-of-pocket expenses?

A:   Yes.


# 96

Q:   What are the chief challenges you face from a marketing/PR perspective?

A:   We’ve done well to transform the perception of South Dakota as fly-over country to one that offers affordable, fun and unique family vacations. We are making progress in demonstrating that our state offers truly amazing natural offerings, welcoming citizens and a pioneering spirit that lives on. With that, we still see opportunity to reach those higher-earning micro-segments that want an authentic experience and have the resources to spend five days or more enjoying the entirety of our state. Additionally, continuing to educate media members and consumers alike on our location and offerings remains a challenge.


# 97

Q:   What is the biggest misperception you battle?

A:   That there is nothing to see or do in our state. Nothing could be further from the truth!


# 98

Q:   Please fill in the blank: “Wow! I didn’t know that South Dakota was

A:   SO beautiful and that there was SO much to see and do! Had we really known what South Dakota was like, our three day vacation would have turned into a week-long vacation.” WE HEAR THIS CONSTANTLY!


# 99

Q:   What state campaigns do you admire?

A:   Visit Utah, Visit California, Pure Michigan, Travel Oregon and Travel Wyoming.


# 100

Q:   What has been your most successful media placement or campaign to date and why was it regarded as the best?

A:   One of the most successful as of late was the series of features that we were able to secure with CBS evenings news, one on Mount Rushmore National Memorial and one on the Buffalo Roundup. The coverage was several years in the making and the results were phenomenal for our industry.



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