MARKETING RFP ISSUED BY MICHIGAN STRATEGIC FUND

MSF

Background: The MEDC is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. The organization desires to extend its fully integrated travel marketing and promotional campaign under the Pure Michigan brand, within Travel Michigan, which promotes the state as a premier four-season travel destination with an unmatched quality of life. Within the MEDC, the Marketing and Communications department markets the state to its selected audiences and serves as lead on paid and field marketing, public relations, earned media, social and digital media, video production, event planning and protocol events related to business development programs, travel and tourism, mobility initiatives and other placemaking initiatives within the organization. Objectives: The MEDC is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. The organization desires to extend its fully integrated travel marketing and promotional campaign under the Pure Michigan brand, within Travel Michigan, which promotes the state as a premier four-season travel destination with an unmatched quality of life. Within the MEDC, the Marketing and Communications department markets the state to its selected audiences and serves as lead on paid and field marketing, public relations, earned media, social and digital media, video production, event planning and protocol events related to business development programs, travel and tourism, mobility initiatives and other placemaking initiatives within the organization.

Scope of Work:

The MEDC is requesting agency proposals for services that support campaign development, deployment and enhancement. Proposed strategies and activities must accomplish the following:

• Promote Michigan as a world-class, four-season travel destination to the U.S. and International markets.

• Generate visitors to michigan.org

• Deliver qualified referrals to Michigan travel destination web sites

• Create engagement with related social media platforms

• Protect and advance the substantial equity of the Pure Michigan brand These objectives meet the strategic focus of the MEDC to market the state and promote Michigan’s image as a world-class business and leisure travel destination.

Tourism Industry

The health of tourism, one of the state’s largest industries, is crucial to Michigan’s economy. In 2019, tourism contributed $26.3 billion in visitor spending to the state’s economy. Michigan’s tourism promotion budget in fiscal year 2021 is $15 million, of which $8.3 million is media placement. In fiscal year 2019 the state’s tourism promotion budget was $36 million, of which $17.5 million was spent on media placement. Budget projection for fiscal year 2022 is unknown. The State’s tourism mission, within Travel Michigan, is to increase visitor spending in Michigan, thereby supporting the travel industry and its employees while strengthening the state’s tax revenues. To accomplish its mission and goals, the MEDC applies an integrated marketing approach that includes media (television, CTV, radio and digital campaigns), print, e-newsletter, search engine optimization, paid search, outdoor advertising, travel guide (Pure Michigan travel guide), public relations, Pure Michigan merchandise, michigan.org, and social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and the Pure Michigan Blog. Many of these promotional avenues are managed by other contractors. The selected vendor will be required to work with other Travel Michigan partners in coordination of creative and execution needs. In 2019, michigan.org had 11.8 million user sessions. All marketing efforts direct potential travelers to the web site. The michigan.org travel web site offers information on Michigan attractions, events, hotels, deals, resorts, campsites, museums, parks, driving tours and other tourism related businesses. The web site also serves as an information source and portal for a majority of Michigan’s travel destinations, destination marketing organizations, convention and visitors bureaus and tourism properties. The web site database is continuously updated with the most current information by the travel industry and the MEDC.

Michigan’s media markets are categorized by:

• National: Increase visitation to Michigan from more-distant markets outside the Great Lakes region.

• Regional: Chicago, Indianapolis, South Bend, Fort Wayne, Green Bay, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, St. Louis. Other key markets Louisville, Atlanta and Dallas.

• Michigan

• International: Canada, UK and Germany

International Outreach

International marketing efforts are coordinated in cooperation with Brand USA to reach potential visitors in the Canadian, UK and German markets.

Brand USA, an entity of the U.S. Government, was established to promote U.S. destinations to the international market. Travel Michigan is part of the Brand USA partner program and the selected vendor will work with Travel Michigan, and Brand USA in delivering media plans and creative for our key international markets. Other promotional marketing efforts developed for the UK and German markets include a market guide, print advertising and destination-specific videos to be developed in partnership with related in-country agencies.

Partnership Program

At the desire to further collaborate with local travel destinations, the MEDC developed a tourism industry dollar-for-dollar advertising matching fund program in 2002. Each partnership was required to strategically fit Michigan’s existing marketing strategy and advertising campaign. Individual campaigns utilized various media approaches, i.e., television, radio, outdoor advertising and e-mail blasts. The advertising campaigns were designed to cut through the clutter and heavily promote Michigan-featured destinations and michigan.org as a vacation planning tool. Interest in the program has grown since this program’s initial launch in 2002 with three convention and visitor’s bureau (“CVB”) partners. In FY 2019, 28 advertising partners committed $4.1 million in private sector funds for television and digital/online advertising.

Travel Michigan matched the private sector partnerships dollar-for-dollar for a total partnership advertising budget of $8.2 million. The selected vendor will be responsible for working with Travel Michigan and its partners to implement the Marketing Partnership Program including media planning/placement, advertising, and creative development.

Marketing Focus

The Pure Michigan campaign is focusing efforts to promote seasonal, experienced-based activities to our target markets. Marketing strategies moving forward will continue to emphasize this dynamic of promoting activities or interests and then funneling down to specific places via michigan.org. For 2021, seasonal campaign efforts will be the focus (winter, spring/summer, fall) with additional efforts on promoting the exploration of Michigan’s urban centers and reinforcing messaging around safe travel.

Target Audiences

• Adventure Scouts (AS): Newer target audience for the brand identified in 2019. Younger, adventure-seeking demographic and relatively unfamiliar with Michigan. Travel experiences in Michigan resonant with this target. Important to elevate relevant travel opportunities within the appropriate channel/media mix for this target.

• Sentimental Traveler (ST): This demographic is aware of and familiar with Michigan and is an important target base for the campaign that has been the primary target audience since the inception of Pure Michigan. This audience is largely women who make the household travel decisions for the family. We need to keep Michigan consistently top of mind when they are exploring their next travel destination.

• In-Market (both AS and ST): In-state residents are actively planning and aware of Michigan travel opportunities. Target can become overwhelmed by the number of options and making the best decision for their limited vacation time. It remains imperative to continue connecting with this group due to out of state travel destinations engaging in-state residents.

• Michigan Travelers and Fans: Continue to bond with this demographic and leverage the power of these champions in promoting Michigan as a travel destination.

Corporate Partnerships

Travel Michigan has established key strategic partnerships with corporate partners to extend the awareness of the Pure Michigan brand. Strong relationships have been created with Detroit Metro Airport, Shorts Brewery, Coca-Cola, Vernors and Absopure to name a few. The selected vendor will assist Travel Michigan with creative development needed to execute these important relationships, and others.

Paid Search Background

Travel Michigan also has an active paid search campaign designed to promote and increase web traffic to michigan.org. The campaign is used to promote specific destinations and initiatives throughout the year. The selected vendor will need to recommend, design and implement a paid search campaign targeting prospective travelers in our key markets. The selected vendor will be responsible for managing and implementing the program with guidance from Travel Michigan.

Objectives

– Increase site traffic to michigan.org

– Increase conversions and Key Performance Indicators (“KPIs”)

– Decrease cost-per-conversion Conversions include, but are not limited to, newsletter signups, Pure Michigan Digital Travel Guide downloads, outbound clicks to partner websites, and other key actions.

Research Tools

In addition, Travel Michigan, in conjunction with a research vendor who specializes in advertising research and efficacy, has been conducting yearly studies assessing the impact of the warm weather season advertising on a national and regional levels since 2004. The focus of the study is to show the impact Michigan’s advertising has on the perceptions of Michigan as a travel destination, the levels of travel generated by the advertising, and the economic impact of the travel. The study also provides detailed findings relating to travel motivators, creative effectiveness and hot buttons of potential travelers in our target markets. Strategically, along with other research tools, this study will provide campaign guidance and invaluable data into the target market. In 2019, the most recent data available, the campaign influenced 1.9 million trips which resulted in $142 million in state tax revenue and a return of $8.79 in state taxes for each $1 invested.

C) QUALIFICATIONS

• Expertise and proven success, within the agency’s current client roster, in brand management.

• Develop, deploy and maintain seasonal integrated paid media campaigns that include the appropriate media channels to reach our target audiences. Media channels could include: TV (traditional and CTV), print, digital online advertising, native content, SEM, paid social, influencer marketing, brand integrations, and more.

Services and expertise included in campaign creation and maintenance should include:

– Market segmentation and travel insights by demographic to establish relevant micro-campaigns within the traditional seasonal campaigns Creative strategy and design development

– Campaign analytics and key performance indicator strategies

– Media buying and planning, including ongoing optimization of campaign elements and analysis. Providing media and creative performance reporting following campaign completion

– Campaign extensions for web platform use

– Search engine optimization campaign development for seasonal executions

– Creation of custom and user-generated content

• Ability to develop branded experiential marketing opportunities in key markets

• Development and management of the industry partner program

• Creation of campaign content for industry trade events

• Manage contracts, negotiations and communication with campaign talent, media partners, and vendors

• Participate in regular strategy and weekly status meetings with MEDC staff, as well as MEDC’s other agencies of record and research vendors

• Collaborate with MEDC’s design, public relations, website teams

• Integrate and maintain media performance reporting into MEDC’s Marketing and Communications interactive dashboard

• Sub-contract specialized marketing services as needed and in coordination with MEDC marketing team

• Proven capability to partner with additional agencies, including MEDC’s selected vendors for earned media and business marketing advertising services

• Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in policy, practice and creative work

• Demonstrated passion for and commitment to Michigan

Due Date:

April 6, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

Address:

Contract Services Michigan Strategic Fund 300 North Washington Square, 3rd Floor Lansing, Michigan 48913 contractsandgrants@michigan.org Coyne PR and Magrino PR are agencies worth considering for this assignment.

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