PIERRE, S.D. - With Memorial Day and the official start of tourism season nearing, the South Dakota Department of Tourism is optimistic that its 2019 marketing efforts launched earlier this spring will lead to another successful summer for tourism.

"With research showing that it only cost us $3.24 to influence a vacation last year, we know how effective our marketing is," said Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism James Hagen. "By getting even smarter and more targeted with our efforts using what we know about our audience’s behaviors, we are now able to reach the right potential visitors on the right channels at the right time. More targeted ads also allow us to add new markets in 2019 that we've never been in before, like Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix and Seattle. We're eager to see how they do since we know our marketing efforts help change misperceptions about all the incredible things there are to see and do in this great state, especially in places where people might not know much about South Dakota."

The department rolled out new television commercials in Minneapolis, Chicago and Denver that feature new footage and a revamped "Great Faces, Great Places" jingle. The department's new commercials ran for three weeks in February and again at the end of April on traditional cable and connected or alternative TV. The connected or alternative TV placements allow the department to reach screens through video-on-demand, Hulu, Roku and other connected devices. The department is also utilizing new interactive video formats on digital platforms to fully engage potential visitors in select markets.

"Embracing emerging technologies gives us an advantage in an ever-competitive market. Connected or alternative TV allows us to more cost-effectively seek out very specific audiences that we know are more likely to visit,” said Hagen. “Interactive video ads allow us to make sure that once we have their attention, we're increasing engagement while providing as much information about South Dakota as we can."

The department's 2019 efforts also include major national and regional magazines, billboards, digital ads, social media ads and influencers, direct mail, radio, Pandora, and a street team activation May 25 in Denver at the Day of Rock event at the 16th St. Mall. The activation will include a 22 foot by 30 foot replica of Mount Rushmore. The famous Mount Rushmore mascots will also be there, and Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream from Xanterra Mount Rushmore will be served to visitors.

“The mascots and ice cream are always a big hit with consumers in our target markets,” said Hagen. “We’re eager for this event to create excitement amongst the more than 100,000 people expected to attend.”

The department has a strong history of success with activations like this. A similar activation event at Millennium Park in Chicago last year garnered more than one million media impressions.

In total, the department estimates the 2019 campaign will generate more than 174 million impressions. Early results from the campaign have been positive, showing a 14% increase in visits to the department's website from the beginning of the year versus the same time period in 2018. That already makes 2019 a record-setting year for the department.

Primary metro markets targeted this year include Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Omaha and Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, NE; Sioux City, Des Moines/Ames and Cedar Rapids/Waterloo/Iowa City, IA; Kansas City, and Milwaukee, WI. Secondary metro markets include: Colorado Springs/Pueblo, CO; Madison, Green Bay and La Crosse/Eau Claire, WI; Champaign/Springfield IL, Detroit and Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, MI; Fargo and Minot/Bismarck/Dickinson, ND; Billings and Missoula, MT; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; and Spokane and Seattle, WA.

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen.


Media Notes:


Katlyn Richter, Global Media & Public Relations Director
South Dakota Department of Tourism
Phone: 605-773-3301
Email: [email protected]