2016 saw the continuation of 2015’s successful messaging, "This Is My Great Place." The campaign theme gave the Department of Tourism another opportunity to share the many great places one can find in South Dakota while playing on the idea that finding your great place is more than a physical place. It’s finding that special place and feeling that creates timeless memories, the sort of place that brings people back for vacation again and again, generation after generation.
The Department of Tourism’s 2016 marketing approach focused on three main audiences: Young Families, Active Couples and Bucket Listers. Each audience was strategically targeted through traditional and digital media purchased specifically to reach them.
This audience consists of 25-45 year olds with children under the age of 12 in the household, and a household income of between $60-150k. These families typically have high social and digital engagement and prefer an active vacation for the whole family, rather than just sights to see.
These couples are 25-45 years old and mirror the young families on household income. This group either has no children in the home, or is taking frequent getaways without their children.
Active couples prefer frequent, shorter trips, and want soft outdoor adventure. They are also active online and in social media.
Bucket listers are over the age of 50 with a household income of between $50-100k. These travelers are looking for breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. They enjoy national and state parks, and are active travelers who enjoy experiencing local culture. Traditional media is a great way to reach this group.
Strategically targeting each audience led to a variety of efforts in 2016, like programmatic and addressable TV/video, news sponsorships, outdoor/out-of-home (OOH), magazine, newspaper ads and inserts, digital, SEM, social, social media influencers, direct-mail, travel shows, and sponsorships with Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Minnesota Vikings, Pheasants Forever, Gun It with Benny Spies and South Dakota Magazine.
Highlights of the campaign saw the department build off previous successful efforts with Major League Baseball and utilize not one, but three partnerships with MLB teams. The department was able to hit key targeted metros through sponsorships with the Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, and Minnesota Twins in the 2016 peak season.
The department also built off the success it had with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and utilizing the 75th Anniversary of Mount Rushmore, also had a float in the 127th Annual Rose Bowl Parade. The South Dakota float allowed the department to reach a potential 78 million domestic and international viewers, along with the 700,000 parade attendees.
In conjunction with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the department launched the Race To NYC Social Media Campaign to build excitement for the South Dakota float. For the social media campaign, the Mount Rushmore mascots would “Race to New York City” and each day, the campaign targeted Facebook followers in various geographic markets with videos of the mascots flying over their city on their way to NYC.
Another highlight from the 2016 peak season campaign saw the department host its first social media influencer component. Four influencers were invited to South Dakota to find their great place and the department’s social media audiences were invited to follow along. The #MyGreatPlace promotion also included a sweepstakes giveaway, allowing one lucky winner to take do the itinerary that inspired them most and generated 14,944 sweepstakes entries.
This campaign was introduced for Evergreen efforts starting in late 2015 and carried into both Peak and Shoulder 2016 efforts. Evergreen efforts ran November-January with Peak efforts from January-August and Shoulder efforts from August-December 2016.
Markets targeted through traditional efforts included Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, and Madison. Primary digital markets included Minneapolis, Madison, Green Bay, La Crosse/Eau Claire, Des Moines, Quad Cities, Kansas City, Omaha, Cedar Rapids, and Milwaukee. Secondary digital markets were Chicago, Denver, Wausau, Mankato/St. Cloud, Fargo, and Lincoln, with the Tertiary markets of Portland and Spokane.