Choosing Effective DMO Marketing Partners
Ever wish you had a clone to help tackle your to-do list? When it's time to consider hiring a DMO partner to help boost the effectiveness of your DMO's marketing program, use this insight and checklist to help make your marketing partner selection. Read time: 5 minutes
Ever wish you had a clone to help tackle your to-do list? Feel like you need to be an octopus to update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs and manage your photography, videography, media appearances, and ad campaign all at once? Do you wonder what’s moving the needle and what’s not? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to consider partnering with an expert who can help make you more productive! A marketing partner can be a valuable resource to help with things like social media management; website development, management and optimization; creative design; media buying; campaign management; and brand integration.
When smart and experienced marketing professionals who understand DMO objectives and nuances partner with DMO staff, it can boost productivity and your overall marketing program exponentially!
For the times when you just can’t seem to keep your hands on all the irons in the fire, there are some duties you might consider hiring a partner for. Those include creating a Marketing Action Plan, print and collateral development, graphic design, social media planning and management, traditional media planning and buying, photography, video production, digital advertising, research, website design and development, content marketing, and other project opportunities. When evaluating a potential marketing partnership for your Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), be sure to consider the personalities of the people and the work performed for similar clients. A true partner will be active in your day to day so it’s important that they mesh well with your work style and critical that they understand the nuances of creating effective marketing programs for DMOs. Of course, you must evaluate costs but remember, cheaper is rarely better AND freelancers aren’t free! To ensure expectations are met, and before any project work begins, ask for a written proposal that details costs and scope. This will start your working relationship off in the right direction and promote clear communication going forward. And keep in mind that partnering doesn’t mean that the provider has to do all the work on the project. The level of assistance you receive from your marketing partner is dependent on your organization’s needs (and budget). For example, we recently consulted on a social media campaign for one of our DMO clients. While they continue to manage the Facebook posts, boosting each post and handling the comments, we developed the campaign theme “All Out Faves.” to complement their overall “Go All Out.” campaign. We strategized and planned a contest promotion, then developed graphics to promote the contest on social media channels. Based on our recommendations and the information gathered through the Marketing Action Planning process, they extended the campaign into a photo contest which generated great results because it resonated with the target audience’s interests.
We created a hashtag #AllOutFave for the All Out Fave campaign and asked fans to participate by not only liking and sharing content but also providing user-generated content through this hashtag when posting about their favorite places in Columbus. With average content reaching 50-100 fans each time a photo was viewed, the All Out Fave photo contest reached almost 6K unique people with 29K post clicks and 500+ likes, comments, and shares. To increase engagement with a limited budget, our client also boosted posts through Facebook’s post promoting feature. Each time the photo contest was promoted, it received increased engagement of 29K post clicks and it was boosted through paid placement on Facebook 5 or 6 times during a four-week period. The campaign was successful in engaging potential visitors and leveraging the power of current fans to broaden awareness of the destination during an off-season month when things are typically slower.
Here’s an over-simplified checklist for hiring a DMO partner:
- People – Look for good people. Honest, ethical, and responsible, plus a little bit fun.
- Performance – Look for an excellent work ethic, timeliness, attention to detail, organization skills, and doggone good creative!
- Process – Starting off with and engaging in regularly updated collaborative strategic planning almost always results in a more effective and certainly a more deliberate marketing program. And on all projects, make sure you are on the same page about the steps and timeline expectations.
- Proven – What work can the prospective partner show you coupled with results? Ask for case studies. Don’t be afraid to ask for and call their references.
- Price – Consider the proposal and make sure it’s worth the work performed.
So, if you’re tasked with getting it all done and there’s only one you, consider extending your reach and ability to “feed the beast” by engaging a DMO partner to help. And remember, when smart and experienced marketing professionals who understand DMO objectives and nuances partner with DMO staff, it can boost productivity and your overall marketing program exponentially!