2017 Marketing Campaigns
2017 Evergreen, Peak, and Shoulder Campaigns
My Great Place

We hear it all the time in South Dakota, how visitors come to find so many magical and unexpected places across the state. It's the gap between their expectations and what they actually discover here, that surprises them, allowing them to experience a truly memorable vacation and making South Dakota a special place for them. 

Continuing 2015 & 2016's successful messaging, 2017's "My Great Place/Find Your Great Place" campaign theme gave the Department of Tourism another opportunity to share the many great places one can find in South Dakota, while also reminding viewers that vacations are where one can find their happy place. 


Target audiences focused on our four core groups: Young Families,  Active Couples, Bucket Listers, and Hunters in the fall.

Young Families

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.

Active Couples

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

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.


Targeted during the shoulder season, this audience’s general demographics are males, 35-60 years old, married, with a household income of $80k+. They tend to travel two-three times per year and typically spend $900+ per trip. Hunting provides a getaway to reconnect with far-off family and friends. They enjoy hunting because it’s inherently social.

In 2017, the department also introduced some new audiences through targeted digital placements developed from deep analysis of previous South Dakota visitors. These digital-only audiences included the Wander Years (age 35-54, average HHI of $92k, typically one child in home), Nested in Blissers (average age of 60, HHI of $73k, hobbyists), and the Searchers (average age of 49, HHI of $61k, higher interest in gaming). 

Between the department's own Visitor Experience Program (VEP) developed with L&S, plus MMGY's new Terminal audience-profile data program, the priority in 2017 was to make all advertising efforts smarter and more targeted. These programs allow both an unprecedented look at who has or is engaging with the departments advertising and owned channels plus how. These programs give us greater insight into what interests them, how they found it, and what helped lead to them requesting more info or deciding on a South Dakota vacation. 


With two new data programs available in 2017, the department’s efforts were far more targeted. Advanced targeting wasn’t just limited to digital banners, video, and native placements either - a successful programmatic mailer campaign was used to help increase Vacation Guide requests with those that expressed interest on TravelSouthDakota.com but did not convert. In the late fall, these advanced programmatic efforts were also utilized in TV placements around the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Viewers of the parade broadcast, who matched the department’s audience profiles, were served the ads related to the event, driving traffic to TravelSouthDakota.com where they could sign up for the parade-related sweepstakes.

Beyond the advanced targeted efforts, other tactics utilized in 2017 included programmatic and addressable TV/video, outdoor/out-of-home (OOH), print, digital, SEM, social, social media influencers, content/native, direct-mail,  Mall of America activation, travel shows, and sponsorships with Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Minnesota Vikings, Pheasants Forever, Gun It with Benny Spies and South Dakota Magazine.


This campaign was introduced for Evergreen efforts starting in late 2016 and carried into both Peak and Shoulder 2017 efforts. Evergreen efforts ran November-January with Peak efforts from January-August and Shoulder efforts from August-December 2017. 


Markets targeted through traditional efforts included Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, and Madison. Primary digital markets included Minneapolis, Madison, Green Bay, Des Moines, Kansas City, Omaha, Cedar Rapids, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Denver. Secondary digital markets were La Crosse/Eau Claire, Quad Cities, Wausau, Mankato/St. Cloud, and Fargo, with the Tertiary markets of Lincoln, Portland, and Spokane.

The Department of Tourism saw an overall return on investment of $6.77 for every $1 spent on digital banners during peak 2017.
2017 South Dakota Department of Tourism Annual Report
During the 2017's campaign run on Expedia, South Dakota room nights grew by 21% year-over-year, and booked revenue totaled $5,250,884.
For the monumental President's Day activation at the Mall of America, a 6-ft cake of Mount Rushmore was served which weighed over 600 pounds and served over 1,000 people. It was gone within an hour and a half.
Creative Examples

South Dakota Tourism 2017 Print Magazine Creative
South Dakota Magazine / Two-page spread / Peak 2017
South Dakota Tourism 2017 Peak Direct Mail Creative
Pop-up Direct Mail / Chicago Market / Evergreen 2017
South Dakota Tourism 2017 Southdale Mall Entrance One Creative
Southdale Mall Out-of-Home / Evergreen 2017
South Dakota Tourism 2017 Mall of America Out of Home Creative
Mall of America Out of Home / Evergreen 2017 
South Dakota Tourism 2017 Digital Banner Creative
Digital Banner / Peak 2017
South Dakota Tourism 2017 Peak Social Media Influencer Campaign Creative
Social Media Influencer Good Time Guide / Peak 2017