Michigan Tourism Issues RFP

Michigan Strategic Fund is seeking a market research firm for the  2017 Pure Michigan Campaign Insights Study The resulting study will identify the return on investment (ROI) of the regional and national 2017 Pure Michigan advertising campaign,  and provide strategic marketing insights to guide the campaign’s targeting, branding, and  communication efforts.

The successful research firm will be asked to address four key components of research, discussed further under “Scope of Work” on page five:

  1. Campaign impacts on Michigan
  2. Brand/advertising  perception and awareness
  3. Traveler  profiles  and motivators
  4. Competitive assessment

This research will serve as a guiding document for future marketing campaign efforts, and will be shared and discussed at the 2018 Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism on March 27-29, 2018

Background

The MSF desires to provide critical research for its travel advertising campaign under the Pure Michigan brand. This research will analyze the return on investment of its travel advertising campaign, in addition to providing a comprehensive profile of visitors with an analysis of their perceptions and key motivators.

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the MEDC on behalf of the MSF. The MEDC serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping growth of Michigan’s economy. Leisure travel initiatives are headed by Travel Michigan which is a business unit within the MEDC and serves as the state’s tourism promotion office.

Travel Michigan is the lead on all marketing, public relations, social media, event planning and industry outreach efforts related to leisure travel and  tourism  within  the  organization,  and  the state.

Overview of Michigan’s Tourism Industry and Michigan’s Tourism Mission

Tourism, as one of the state’s largest industries, is crucial to Michigan’s economy. According to Tourism Economics, tourism contributes over $37.8 billion in business sales to the state’s economy. Michigan’s tourism promotion budget in 2016 was $33 million, of which $12.9 million was spent on media placement. In 2017 it is $34 million with $13 million invested for Spring/Summer media. The MSF anticipates executing a three-year contract with the selected vendor

The State’s tourism mission is to increase visitor spending in Michigan. The  overall  relevant tourism marketing goals are to:

  • Sell Michigan as the ideal destination to U.S. markets
  • Generate awareness of michigan.org as a travel planning tool

To accomplish its mission and goals, the MSF and  MEDC  apply  an  integrated  marketing  approach that includes media (television,  cable,  radio  and  digital  campaigns),  print,  e-  newsletter, search engine optimization, paid search, outdoor advertising, travel guide (Pure  Michigan travel guide), public relations, Pure Michigan store, michigan.org, and social media: Facebook,  Twitter, Instagram,  Pinterest,  Snapchat,  You Tube and  Pure Michigan  Blog.

Michigan’s relevant target markets are categorized the following ways:

  • National — Travel marketing is designed to showcase what makes Michigan unique and to increase visitation to Michigan from more-distant markets outside the Great Lakes region.
  • Regional markets – They include Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Cincinnati,  Columbus,  and Dayton.
  • Feeder markets – Nearby markets that feed Michigan with high volumes of travel. They include Toledo, South Bend-Elkhart, Fort Wayne, Green Bay-Appleton, Minneapolis-St.  Paul,  and St. Louis

Scope of Work

The successful bidder  will  conduct  primary (survey)  and  secondary  market  research  that culminates in a well-organized, comprehensive, yet  concise report providing marketing insights  for the 2017 Pure Michigan campaign year in the regional and national markets (excluding the Michigan market).  At  a minimum,  these insights should include:

  • Campaign impact on Michigan
  • Brand/advertising  perception and awareness
  • Traveler  profiles  and motivators
  • Competitor assessment

Together, these elements will serve as a guide for the Pure Michigan campaign’s targeting, branding, and communication efforts. Below we discuss each scope of work element in more detail.

Campaign Impact on Michigan. Key takeaways from this analysis will be metrics pertaining to the 2017 Pure Michigan campaign’s “net-new” impact in the state at both the regional and national levels. These measurements should  include:

  1. Incremental Return on Investment (ROI) – This key metric looks at the difference between 1) state spending on the 2017 Pure Michigan campaign and 2) net-new spending from travel/tourism in the state as a result of the 2017 Pure Michigan campaign. The latter is a measurement of direct, indirect, and induced spending stemming from campaign-influenced travel/tourism by out-of-state residents (i.e. Michigan-resident travel  within  the  state is excluded).
  2. Jobs – The jobs metric is an estimate of the number of jobs supported by any net- new spending in the state as a result of travel/tourism influenced by the 2017 Pure Michigan campaign.
  3. Taxes – Incremental taxes from which the state benefited stemming from any net- new, campaign-induced spending.
  4. Visitor trips – Net-new trips to the state influenced by the 2017 Pure Michigan campaign.

Brand/Advertising Perception and Awareness. Results from this analysis should capture positive and/or negative impressions made by the 2017 campaign at the regional and national levels. This includes attitudes toward and perceptions of the Michigan brand by those aware of/recalling the campaign advertisements. Results should also reveal strengths and weaknesses in the campaign, and a general profile of those “aware” and “not aware” of the campaign.

Traveler Profiles and Motivators. The assessment of traveler profiles and motivators  should reveal traits and attributes of the Michigan-traveler (including origin), and what their travel motivators are (or are not). Travel motivators include a) triggers (i.e. exciting, unique, adventurous) and b) activities conveyed through the Pure Michigan campaign ads that influence travel to the state of Michigan. Questions to be answered include (but are not limited to):

  • What are the leading motivators with which the Pure Michigan campaign inspires out-of-state travelers/tourists? What travel motivators does the Pure Michigan campaign fail to inspire?
  • What perceptions do both Michigan- and non-Michigan-travelers/tourists have of Michigan as a result of the campaign brand and  advertisements?
  • What are Michigan’s image strengths and weaknesses?
  • What does the Pure Michigan traveler profile look like (i.e. age, sex, income, adventurer, foodie, etc.)?

Competitor Assessment. Results from the competitor assessment should reveal Michigan’s relative strengths and weaknesses pertaining to a) brand image, b) travel motivators stemming from the campaign, and c) travelers’ actual experience in Michigan.

Additionally, a market share analysis of Michigan’s share of trips and spending in the regional market compared to each competitor’s share is desired.

Among Michigan’s top competitors for travel/tourism are:

  1. Illinois
  2. Indiana
  3. Minnesota
  4. Missouri
  5. Ohio
  6. Wisconsin

At a minimum, these six competitors should be included in the assessment

Due Date

August 16 to: Contracts and Procurement Services Michigan Strategic Fund, 300 North Washington Square Lansing, Michigan 48913

Finn Partners and Weber Shandwick have offices in Michigan.

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