Driving Curiosity Using Marketing Technologies, with Dan Janes

Episode 150

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Dan Janes is the CEO of Madden Media, a destination marketing agency focused on increasing tourism and workforce attraction for communities across the country. Like many in this industry, Dan comes from a unique background, first as an Army officer and West Point graduate and then a successful entrepreneur in a big data and analytics company. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Dan Janes of Madden Media about the evolving world of tourism marketing and his company’s activities related to inclusivity, marketing technology, and “schema disruption”.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Dan’s path from the Army to his position as CEO of destination marketing agency Madden Media
  • What makes Madden Media stand out in the competitive tourism marketing industry
  • How Madden Media creates curiosity in their consumers
  • Madden Media’s view of “schemas” and how their marketing disrupts those schemas and exposes consumers to new things
  • Madden Media’s destination marketing efforts in the inclusivity space
  • How Dan and his company evolve with the consumers in the area of marketing technology and websites
  • Madden Media’s approach to partnerships, planning, and cooperating on projects by adding more minds

The Winding, Weaving Path

Dan Janes’s goal as a young kid growing up in Nebraska was to get out of Nebraska and explore. He realized this goal when he bravely joined the United States Army. After graduating from West Point, Dan was exposed to outstanding leadership and teamwork while serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. When he returned home, Dan used his experience working with data in the Army to start his own successful data analytics firm. He got his MBA and began teaching at the University of Arizona before meeting Kevin Madden, the founder of Madden Media. Kevin and Dan bonded over the future of marketing technology and the use of data in the field. Since then, Dan has taken on the role of CEO of Madden Media and has continuously strived to evolve the company with the changing face of the industry and the changing needs of its consumers. One of their biggest game-changing themes? The idea of schema disruption. Schema disruption stems from the psychology concept of schemas, which are mental models and images of things based on our assumptions and experiences with them. Madden Media’s goal is to disrupt people’s preconceived notions of destinations by showcasing the best-kept secrets and best possible sides of all different locations. Dan offers up the example of West Virginia. While many think of the state as coal mines and smokestacks, it’s actually a vibrant and growing state with lots of natural beauty and appealing attractions for a variety of ages. Disrupting those schemas and biases creates one of tourism marketing’s most useful tools: curiosity.

Future Projects and Creating Curiosity

Madden Media continues to move forward and adapt as society evolves and the desires of the consumer change. One exciting way they’ve done this is through their focus on inclusivity in travel and destinations. Through its internal platforms Vacationist USA and Visit Gay USA, Madden Media displays popular destinations for the LGBTQ community alongside lesser-known destinations with similar characteristics and attractions. They also put destinations like Wyoming on the map for inclusivity by highlighting its status as the birthplace of women’s suffrage. Madden Media creates curiosity and is always learning more about its clients through partnerships, data analysis, and marketing technologies. Possessing an agile management philosophy and flexibility in marketing approaches, Madden Media delved into the deeper aspects of marketing technology, web development, and search engine optimization. Dan’s team and network of partnerships at Madden Media is a great example of creativity and co-opetition in action. The tourism market is only going to continue to evolve and change. It’s up to you to evolve with it!


Nicole Mahoney: 00:23 Hello listeners, this is Nicole Mahoney, host of destination on the left. I am passionate about travel and tourism and love learning from the experiences of professionals in the industry. That is why I’m so excited to introduce today’s guest, Dan James. Dan is the CEO of Madden Media, a destination marketing agency focused on increasing tourism and workforce attraction for communities across the country. Like many in the industry, Dan comes from a unique background, having been a successful entrepreneur and a big data and analytics company and having served as an army officer and west point graduate. Thank you so much for joining me. Dan.

Dan Janes: 00:56 Thank you so much for having me, Nicole. It’s really great to join you again today

Nicole Mahoney: 00:59 and uh, I really appreciate you taking some time out and I love that your bio was so succinct. I’m going to ask you actually to expand on your bio and tell us a little bit more about your story and how you got to where you are today.

Dan Janes: 01:13 Well, uh, how I got to where I am today is much like many people’s stories that are in this industry that it goes in a winding weaving a path to find out, uh, how amazing this industry is and how amazing our partners are. So I started out, you know, young kid in Nebraska and my big goal was to get out of Nebraska. Uh, and I chose to do that by, I joined the army and had the privilege to go to west point and then serve in the army, uh, of which was an amazing experience going to Iraq and Afghanistan. And I’d be part of just such an amazing team and really learn about leadership, really learn about how to take initiative and moving forward, uh, and very complex environments, uh, that exists. Uh, moving from there. I went from those complex environments where we think about people and places, and granted these were people in places overseas too, thinking about very big datasets.

Dan Janes: 02:18 At B A in national security agency at Fort Meade and working with some different big data, uh, services there. And Yeah, at that point I’m like, you know, I’m getting out of the army. It’s time. And My, uh, [inaudible] became my business partner and I decided to start a big data analytics firm, does really helping to provide some contextual information around, uh, that data to allow people to make decisions with. And that created the foundation for what with NBA, an incredibly successful company that eventually was acquired and then went to go teach entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona before I ran into this guy, Kevin Madden, who happens to be running Matt and media and founder that 37 years ago. And our conversation was really, you know, as we looked at Martech was the future of marketing is data. The future of marketing is being able to understand that data, to provide that contextual information decisions.

Dan Janes: 03:20 And I looked back at my career, previous career and I was like, I think I’ve done that before. And you know, we started looking at, uh, what does that mean and how do we continue to evolve? Madden [inaudible] is really just another generation of marketing as we continue to evolve as a professionals. Yeah. I think that’s just so cool. I love that you started that. It’s a winding weaving path and you’re right, so many of us in the industry, it is a winding weaving path, but you did such a great job to connect those dots. And I know in our pre-interview chat, I, I knew and I encouraged you to do that for us. Um, first of all, I want to thank you for your service [inaudible] and Iraq and Afghanistan and in the military. I think that’s just very commendable. What I love about your story is how you took what you learned through those experiences.

Dan Janes: 04:10 You talked about the leadership and the initiative and, and everything that you could take from that in the complex and talked about the complex environments, drilled it down to people and places and brought us right back around to where you are now, right? Which is thinking about people in places that, right. It’s absolutely right in our brand is really what we live. We connect people to places. And for us it’s not just a tagline. It really is something that we believe leaving. And it’s not just about putting the visitor in a hotel night, it’s about giving them that connection where they understand the environment, where they understand the story of a place where they understand why they’re there instead of just going further insta shot and you know, be able to fill their Instagram feed. Our goal is really to get that excitement and that meaning behind the trip. And we believe that it’s going to be more than just get a visitor is going to help break down biases and transform people’s use that may or may not be correct based on what they’ve previously had. And you know, they’re a Schema. One point. Absolutely.

Dan Janes: 05:24 You are. Now I’m CEO of this agency, um, which uh, you described as, you know, when you were joining it, you were thinking about the future of marketing and you know, what was evolving in Martech, um, you know, and kind of what that would look like. Um, how long have you been in this role and what, um, I don’t know. What’s been the most kind of surprising thing that, that you’ve realized since taking over? Well, I’ve been in this role since April of last year. Uh, I’m not sure who the joke is on me or somebody else, but all I know is I’m laughing and having fun all the way through. Um, yeah. As I look at, you know, kind of the second part of that question, where are we going and what does a marketing look like? I very much see it as continuing to drive towards that attribution element of it. Is your marketing being successful? How are you validating? It’s a success. Different attributes for measure, you’ll see. Yeah, the need to not drive, you know, cpcs and ctrs and you know, those metrics, those are starting to become, you know, the old vanity metrics and we started wanting to see arrivals per thousand and you’ll start to be able to see, you know, stronger metrics that are showing the outputs of what people are receiving. A lot of our campaigns continue to work on very much conversion based activities versus uh, just a those high-level bandaid at metrics, if you will.

Nicole Mahoney: 07:00 [inaudible] absolutely. So I know this is going to be an awesome conversation and, uh, let’s, uh, let’s dive right in. As you know, we’d like to focus on creativity and collaboration on this uh, show and um, to start, you know, this industry is very competitive, not just the tourism, hospitality industry, but the marketing industry just in general, right? There’s so many tools, so many agencies, vendors out there, all kinds of options out there. And so I’m wondering, um, what you have done, I guess from two perspectives, what you have done at mad media to stand out from the crowd and then perhaps how are you helping your clients stand out from the crowd?

Dan Janes: 07:38 Absolutely. So how are we standing out from the crowd? I think we really stand up, bye. Being absolutely focused on that view of connecting people to places. Being in travel and hospitality as an agency really helps to focus every single one of our, I had team members, which is about a hundred people. And just saying, this is our industry and how we score. It’s how we optimize. It’s how we, yeah. Training versus those that agencies that give broader and are another areas they, you have to decide which conferences to go to, to educate their teams and understand that for us it’s easy going too. You know, organizations like us travel and destinations international and our state tourism conferences. I think as we first met up in New York at the, the state tourism conference up there was a great time to just continue to learn from our clients, continue to help them, part of what me, no from them and lean forward. So that focus is really a big part of, uh, how we differentiated ourselves there. And then the second part of that is, you know, it’s, you know, there are other agencies just in travel and tourism. Uh, we really set, I believe our people are great and I hear it every time go out to the market, you know, your team’s awesome and you know, they do great and it’s great customer service. And

Dan Janes: 09:01 even though in clients where, you know, we didn’t get it right, we got it right the next time. And you know, that commitment always do right by the client and that customer sort of same thing as that really other differentiating piece. Uh, for us as an agency, as we think about now clients and how we help clients differentiate, we’re really strong and helping to them to celebrate their partners and celebrate the stories that they haven’t said they’re destinations. And it’s not just about telling a single story from a first person piece. It’s about telling a, the story of that destination and connecting those assets together in a coherent way to get excited about being in a destination. And you move somebody from, you know, this Spotify might want to go or this is interesting too. I need to go and I need to uncover what is there.

Dan Janes: 09:58 We like to call that a kind of our curiosity and surprise piece of, you know, how do we inspire this curiosity and create your Osti Ah, for the consumer, but not just doing my glimpse of it, extend and prolong that curiosity and that right engagement and investment that the consumer is making. And then yeah, allow them to see that surprise and that emotional term where they get that, yeah, well we call Schema disruption to say, I need to go there and I need to communicate. I need to talk about this. That gets people really excited. So that becomes a foundational part of how we think about our storytelling, how we think about telling the stories of our destinations.

Nicole Mahoney: 10:40 Absolutely. And you’ve mentioned Schema a couple of times, so I’m going to ask you to go into a little bit more detail around that. So that’s a, that’s a particular way of thinking, um, that you and your team, when you approach storytelling. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Dan Janes: 10:56 Yeah, absolutely. So schema is a people’s, uh, cognitive or work. People’s unwritten biases are, that’s the things that they think and do without actually knowing it. It’s what their assumptions are about places. So it’s their perception of what Eh, [inaudible] is in a destination or, or the way things are. And everybody has a Schema and everybody’s scheme is unique. And you know, we, you know, and that the simplest terms, it’s the stereotype that somebody has around, uh, a destination or around any sort of concept. When you hear, uh, West Virginia as an example, you’re like, oh, Charleston, West Virginia, and I’m sure it’s coal mines and smoke stacks and it’s dirty. But when you actually show them and you get, uh, down there, you’re like, wait, it’s incredibly green and you have these amazing rivers and you get this great downtown and this millennial feel with great music venues that are there. [inaudible] that’s Charleston, West Virginia. And actually excited to go there and I get that excitement to, to visit. And I think we do a great job of, you’re trying to find those places, those stories that people have an opinion of what things are and transition it to, um, what they think things are and actually show them it’s something else and get them to be like, I’m really interested in going. And I’m surprised because when people’s scheme is disrupted, it actually creates this, um, behavioral, uh,

Dan Janes: 12:33 a change in their brain. And it’s a, um, behavioral psychology will say that when you have this imbalance, it actually forces you to say something or do something to resolve the unbalance. And that’s how we think about foundational components of a storytelling. So when it’s disrupted, our goal is to try to create that disruption. So at the very least they’re sharing about it, they’re thinking about it, they’re taking that next step, I action to try to resolve that imbalance.

Nicole Mahoney: 13:00 That’s a, that’s just really awesome. I love how, you know, that is grounded in, you know, psychology and how the brain works and, um, [inaudible] and you’re right, we do have these unwritten biases or these stereotypes, um, that, that we don’t even realize we have. And so to be able to dig in and figure out, you know, how to disrupt that and then have that link to a behavioral change, I think is just a really awesome way to approach it and to think about it. Okay. So, um, Dan, I this next question, I love to ask my guests because I, I love the creativity that comes out of facing some sort of a challenge or adversity. And so I’m wondering if there is a challenge perhaps that you faced, um, and what a creative solution, um, or you know, what kind of creativity might’ve come out of that that you can share with us.

Dan Janes: 13:57 Yeah. So I guess I’ll, uh, talk maybe a little bit about the agency. First of, you know, coming in here just over a year ago, the agency was already under us seeing the change in the way marketing was going and evolving. And you know, just looking at the challenge of how we are organized and yeah, we grew up in the visitor guide space, uh, boxes and squares and had started to look at how do we better unlock those visitor guides into a whole experience, a video and being a, having a great experience on a [inaudible] on I a a website versus just that flip book that’s always so difficult to read and nobody clicks through to see it. You know, how do we unlock that? We really saw the organizationally because we were built into those silos, we were optimizing to the products. We really decided that hey, you know, we could so much more creativity if we opened up the opportunity for people who work across disciplines.

Dan Janes: 14:58 So our visit, you know, people work by account, they got deeper into our accounts and I really started to say, okay, if we do this then we can take that story that was in the visitor guide and then we get and get it onto the website and then we can create a video and then we can mark it and put it to a digital marketing campaign. And now you have this seamless experience and the strong reuse of assets that our clients get. Greater efficiency and greater output, the consumer gets a better user experience that is consistent. I always like to talk about that sweater that follows you around the Internet from a, all the remarketing tools that you can do. In my case, it’s probably the Hawaiian shirt that follows me around.

Dan Janes: 15:43 So, but if it’s a different Hawaiian shirt every time, then you actually don’t get that consistency of message and brand and you know, by breaking up some of the organizations, I think about how we client first and we have our, you know, amazing creative team. The ability to work across products was just a huge win. There was a [inaudible] a quick, a challenge that we saw and a solution that was there. And I think it’s continuing to provide better outcomes for our clients. For sure. Yeah. So what does that look like? Guess physically or, or you know, how, how did you actually encourage that kind of, um, you know, cross discipline work? How did, how does that actually live now in your day to day? So how it actually lose the, in our day to day now is now we have our account managers and the are really the, the post helping to work with the clients to all right, I grabbed their strategy and to understand uh, their goals and needs and transition that to uh, a goal and needs based approach first versus a project management approach.

Dan Janes: 16:56 You know, coming from a software background, an agile management of philosophy and the agile development process is something that was by default the way that I think about things, which actually is counterintuitive. You know, to my roots of being in the army, you’re always actually a very agile organization when you think about how it exists on the ground, uh, top-down, mission-oriented, uh, activities. Go do these things. Here are your constraints is the approach that is being done versus alright, here’s your long drawn out development schedule that we liked that we call waterfall in terms of project management methodologies. We had built into some of this, a waterfall methodologies or processes were there. So unlocking those, created more conversations with clients, more conversations within our teams, and we became much more collaborative, ah, around our accounts instead of collaborative around our products.

Nicole Mahoney: 17:58 Okay. Yeah, I think that’s a, a great point, um, that you’re bringing up and I think our listeners that that could resonate with them because um, you know, you’re talking about starting with goals and needs, um, versus, you know, kind of just to really make an elemental like that task list. Here are all of the things that need to be done in order to move this project to the next step. And um, I think so often when you come back to why are we doing this and then what’s gonna make us, you know, help us achieve that goal. Um, it really does open up our thinking, right? And our creativity into what we’re doing and perhaps that task lists we had started with that we used to operate under isn’t really the, the one that that’s really going to get us there. Have you noticed that?

Dan Janes: 18:46 Absolutely. And that ability to then take that task lisc and ascribe key performance measures to say, this is the most valuable thing we should do because this is the primary goal for destinations. And we think this approach and how we engaged here has actually helped us to help clients bridge the gap between some of their own internal divisions. Uh, perhaps maybe in some destinations there’s a leisure group and a sit and a sales and meetings group.

Nicole Mahoney: 19:19 Maybe, maybe they talk.

Dan Janes: 19:21 Uh, so, so we recognize even, or our clients see some of these challenges. Uh, as we continue to build out meetings, campaigns, and I do a lot on the meetings side, we continue to see that conversation growing and inbound marketing helping drive a sales and conversions where they’re actually seeing value between working with one another. And we’re all in this for the same game of, you know, trying to help give visitors to a destination regardless of what their core reason is to get there. And then how just a great experience once they arrive and yeah, one that they’re expecting to have a no surprise in a negative way.

Nicole Mahoney: 20:04 Absolutely. Yeah. I love that. I think that’s awesome. Um, so I appreciate you sharing, sharing that with us. So now looking into the future, is there a project that you are really excited about that you’d like to share with us? Oh goodness. I don’t know where to start. I know, especially if you’re just like 12, 18 months into, into this job. I’m sure you’ve got a long list

Dan Janes: 20:29 internally. The work that we’re doing with uh, you know, really changing and breaking up this concept about website development where people buy websites the way that they buy dessert guides and they manage them the way they buy visitor’s guides, which we look at and just say, it doesn’t make sense. So, you know, we’re really talking a lot about growth driven design and how you make your website part of your marketing strategy and you continue to iterate a, you know, think about re skinning. You think about, uh, you don’t think about relaunching. You just think about what do I need my website to do for my marketing strategy? And that drives your plan and your goals that are there.

Nicole Mahoney: 21:05 [inaudible]

Dan Janes: 21:06 and I guess the other ones, there’s so many client projects to talk about. I know I’m almost hesitant

Dan Janes: 21:12 to dive into one eye instead for the sake of leaving of another. But a couple of small projects that we have are that vacation is and visit gay USA, which are a couple of our travel and leisure platforms that we run internally. And Yeah, we just think that there’s a lot of opportunity too. Talk about inclusive voices with [inaudible] as a gay USA country and to showcase destinations that Aye people aren’t traveling to. And we continue to see a concentration of travel too. Major destinations where you see a high concentrations of LGBTQ travel, which is, uh, Fort Lauderdale and palm springs and a, a place like in San Francisco. But there’s also other great places to travel like Oakland and Galena and so many places where everybody else is traveling that we want to promote that safety and that environment that to show the everybody is welcome and the doors are open in those destinations.

Nicole Mahoney: 22:14 Okay.

Dan Janes: 22:14 And a, a personal favorite and one that we’re launching a vacation [inaudible] this, uh, um, celebration of a women, uh, in honor of the hundred years since a women’s suffrage movement celebrating travel leaders and, you know, some of the women leaders and Bmos but also sure operators and hospitality and technology that are really helping to show the way forward is something that we’re really excited about launching. Uh, one of our clients, Wyoming did an amazing campaign that a week did some of the distribution on that night, that creative, but, uh, where they, uh, supported, uh, there I won’t in leadership roles because they’re actually 50 years ahead of the United States. Uh, when I think about Wyoming, I don’t think about Wyoming being a leader in equality. And you read some of how things started and you find out that they’re the equality state. It’s like, yes, of course I want to be, uh, partnering with them. Of course, that’s a great place to go. And, you know, just see foundational things that, again, disrupt your scheme of disrupt your, uh, preconceived notions.

Nicole Mahoney: 23:27 Absolutely. Yeah. Actually, um, we just interviewed for this podcast. Uh, Jim Walter from Cheyenne, Wyoming, and I don’t know if it’s the same video that you’re referencing, but they had just released a video all about the women. Um, we call it in Wyoming and women having right to vote there before

Dan Janes: 23:46 any other state in the u s so I agree. I think that’s awesome. And that’s definitely a surprising fact. Did something that needs a light shined on it. So, um, this new initiative with vacation is sounds really awesome. As does, um, visit gay, uh, USA. Um, totally agree with you. There’s so many, um, smaller kind of off the beaten path destinations that are welcoming to that community and to be able to shine a light on those too. Um, sounds like a great right opportunity. Um, I do want to back up though, Dan, and talk a little bit more about your approach to growth, um, driven website development. Um, I, I, I think that that’s just a really great way to think about about a website being rather than being this, um, static isn’t quite the right word for it, but this, you know, this catalog of information.

Dan Janes: 24:37 Um, instead of being a tool, right or [inaudible]. Okay. Part of your overall marketing plan and marketing strategy. So can you talk a little bit more about, um, how you’re approaching that, um, with clients and how you’re kind of turning that viewpoint around? Well, a, it’s always easy to start turning off the turning of the viewpoint around when you start with who is really excited to do their next, a website redesign, it’s crickets. Nobody gets excited about it. They think about all the drama. They think about, everybody has an opinion on color and font. Who’s going to be celebrating, who’s not going to be in it. And every time you get to that lunch, the, you know, you remind them of this experience of yes, we’re finally finished. It’s finally out the door. And then there’s the emails that are coming in that are, what about this?

Dan Janes: 25:30 What are the, this is missing, this is broken. You know, there’s this like chaos and emotional moment that exists. And then, um, well we’re looking at like, why do you want that experience? Oh and your SEO probably went through the tank because, uh, you know, your domain ranking went down because they did poor three Oh one redirect. Sir. Everybody’s had these experiences and they have a history of these experiences and we’re just like, why? There’s gotta be a better way. And when you really just say a reminder, look, remind them of that experience, ask them why they really see they get that way because of that buying experience. And that’s how they’ve gone through acquisition. Right? And agencies, uh, have done this to clients where they say, well, we need to do is get this done in 90 90 days as quickly as possible is the longer we work on it, the less money we make.

Dan Janes: 26:23 And that’s really the story. Oh, you know, why these redesign practices have happened where, you know, we’re like, hey, that’s a book. That’s something that you need the flexibility to make changes to be dynamic. Your community is dynamic, your is diverse. You have campaign plans that are to need maybe specific landing pages or new creative or you want to test out different conversion, uh, features. Uh, you look at the Martech industry and if you want to integrate anything, you have 7,000 different Martech tools that are out there that have just come out since 2011, 2011, there was 150 on the Martech landscape to this. There’s over 7,000. That’s less than 10 years.

Dan Janes: 27:09 Clients need that type of flexibility to try things and evolve with the times and evolve with the consumers because if you are not evolving with the consumer, then somebody else will and you’re going to lose those, uh, those views as visits, as engagement. So by mapping it together, thinking about the relationship of the website with your marketing plan, we think about how do we partner this and make it sustainable or over hi ears instead of 90 days. And that’s foundational to where it is. And there’s some great research has been done by a coalition around growth driven design. A hubspot pioneered a lot around that, on this. They went through and they did the surveys, uh, and commercial entities as well. Most people don’t update their sites in any significant way for over a year. And that’s not counting blog posts and you know, small things like that. But, um, yeah, we continue to see a okay, uh, that being what the industry is and we want to continue to evolve them past that.

Nicole Mahoney: 28:13 Yeah. That’s awesome. I love that approach. Uh, that sounds really great. And Yeah, you’re right. When anybody wants to do a website it’s like, oh my gosh, it’s like giving birth, right? Like so painful. It’s again, well or the painful process either way. So anything you can do to make that easier, you know, I’m sure it’s great for the clients and I love that approach. So, Dan, I wanted to touch on collaboration a little bit and I might, I’m a huge believer and something that I like to call coopertition, which is basically where perceived competitors or actual competitors come together to create big wins, things that they can’t do on their own. And I’m wondering if, um, you have a time that might come to mind where a collaboration between competitors or pre, uh, perceived competitors as either worked for you or for one of your clients.

Dan Janes: 29:10 Yeah, it absolutely does. And we’re humbled to work with great partners and agencies and vendors. Uh, you know, places where we do a visitor guide or the digital marketing, uh, and somebody else does creative or the [inaudible] we find is it’s always better to bring, you know, more minds to a problem then to try to figure out how do we get sharp elbows and a fight with others. And that’s the last thing we ever want to put in front of clients to see number of people that try to do that is it [inaudible] pointing hi, but it’s nothing new. We see the, I saw that in that fence industry and you know, where we work together, um, as well. And we see it today where we work together when we work together, confused when we compete. Uh, well, and I find this being the best way to resolve this is, you know, having those agencies cements and having the discussion, giving lanes in the road and guidance of where you want people to work together and where you want people to be collaborative. And we see that as being just a [inaudible] great way to be. Yeah. Transparent. A to B kind of working together and intentional and you, it’s better to have, it’s several slices of a, a slice and several pies. Then try to capture every single pie in my view. So, uh, that’s just a, you know, I think collaboration. Yeah, that competition word is a great word and one that I love hearing.

Nicole Mahoney: 30:37 Yeah. Dan, I, I totally agree that, you know, this whole idea of coopertition and working together with partners is a, is a really great way to go. And I’m curious about these agencies, summits that you mentioned it [inaudible], is that where you know, agencies, multiple partners that might be working on a project that the client brings these multiple partners to the table that you actually get together and you know, set expectations and plan at the beginning of the engagement? Is that what you mean by that?

Dan Janes: 31:08 Absolutely. You can do it at the beginning of the engagement. Are you doing it as annual planning, where you come together and you share ideas and you recognize that everybody is on the same page. And it also gives the client the opportunity to say, here’s my guidelines, here’s your lanes on the road [inaudible] yours, the agencies to agree to those as well. Ah, so you don’t have that concern of, Oh, can I share this and is it gonna get absorbed by somebody else? And if your these ideas and all of a sudden you’re now seeing those ideas ran by another agency, which yes, it has happened to us. There are some agencies that play well and others that don’t. We just believe that, uh, the more you play well together and the more you support the client, the more they’re going to see that and that being more beneficial and all right. It really puts that client back in that leadership [inaudible] and they should be in a, a coaching role in a, a leadership role, not a referee role. And if they’re in a referee role, then nobody’s winning.

Nicole Mahoney: 32:10 Yeah, absolutely. Great Point. And so where have you looked for and found great partnerships that have created win-wins for you?

Dan Janes: 32:20 We do so many cooperative marketing opportunities that we continue to see great win-wins for for us, where we work with the great agencies, they have amazing creative and campaigns and work that they’ve got done and then we extend what they’re doing to the partners and yeah, I think places like

Speaker 4: 32:40 Wyoming and Missouri and Wisconsin, yeah, Mississippi that have all been clients that have said, we’re going to be more intentional around our Oh, a program. Instead of taking this cafeteria style approach where we’re just buying discounts or buying the leftovers that exist and saying, how do we expand their existing great creative campaigns? Like why don’t we do that [inaudible] uh, BB k and the crew there and then extend that out to the rest of the partners to take advantage of a bad grade marketing coming from the states. We see that being multiple layers of cooperation. One from the deemos themselves, cooperating with the state, but then also us working with the agency too. Continue to expand the brand of both of our clients with just the state to help everybody rise up and go up. Great. And yes, we are going to compete sometimes with fee and yes, those demos are competing for those same visits, but together, right. More ships rise and we see much more effectiveness there than when I look at some of the other programs which we are a part of that are uh, just, hey, here’s 63 options, pick one of the 63. And it’s the responsibility of the DMO to make it part of their program instead of that leadership and that cooperation to build a good coherent program that is consistent, provides a great user experience for consumers.

Nicole Mahoney: 34:15 Absolutely. I think that’s great. And I love that you’re seeing, um, you know, um, states and, and co-ops being more intentional around the programs and, and what they’re offering and how they’re partnering. I think that’s just awesome. So Dan, this has been a great conversation. I have one more question to ask you before I’m going to let you go, but I knew you’d have a lot of, um, great insights to share with us. And this last question is one that I’ve been, um, exploring this year on the show and it’s really around, um, the evolution of destination marketers and how they’re more and more being, um, leaned on to be more community managers taking a more holistic approach to managing their [inaudible]. There are destinations of brand and story. And I’m wondering if you’re seeing examples of this evolution in, in your work.

Speaker 4: 35:07 Uh, we were absolutely standing and uh, it’s disappointing sometimes. So when we think about, um, when we see it not being done, uh, both the idea of heads in beds as the core revenue driver and the only job is his or her, we need the, the, we see destinations continuing to need to evolve the brand and a raise that up. And you know, places like loving cases like Tampa Bay are in two of our say or are doing it among the best I that we’re seeing where they’ve pair that leisure marketing with workforce attraction, with understanding how to engage with, uh, food security. As an example. We see Oakland dealing with, uh, how to better, uh, work in communicating homelessness and safety and other challenges that exist up in those regions across the board in California. And there spending their time being part of great associations like cal travel that is making these things the priority of the industry, uh, where homelessness is the priority versus trying to get more tax dollars because we know there are obstacles to travel.

Speaker 4: 36:24 And you know, we look at how do we eliminate those obstacles to travel or eliminate things that are negative to the brand. And unfortunately with continued environmental effects, continued, uh, significant events like we saw recently in and date. And then I’ll pass. So, uh, we’re going to continue to have, um, the need for clients to get out in front of things to say, yeah, yes, our community is say, Aye. No, the red tide is not affecting our community. Here’s the beaches. How do we showcase that, uh, to, you know, work better together. I think we’re gonna continue to see more of those. And because we think about just being good and judicious and doing a good job with taxpayer dollars or with our member dollars, I have that ability to, to work with the brand and the talent, um, for talent attraction and that consumer brand and consumer oriented messaging. Like those are things that we want to, uh, we see in really successful, let’s say a, we know how to market to consumers. The DMO is very much that consumer marketing organization or a community and they talk to people differently than the BTBY group does. And uh, w from an economic development standpoint. So we’re going to continue to see those, um, when that happens and it’s done well, uh, it’s pretty exciting to see the outcome. Very positive.

Nicole Mahoney: 37:56 Yeah, absolutely. Um, I love all of those examples that you just shared. Um, you know, the, the leisure marketing that’s being, you know, kind of parlayed into workforce attraction. Um, you know, the, the travel organization that’s making homelessness, it’s priority over, um, increasing visitation for example. Um, and then really just thinking about what are those obstacles to travel, where are those places that, um, you know, we really need to be active and aware of, um, you know, like, like you said, really to get out and in front of it. Um, so that it doesn’t have a negative on the, on the destination. I think those are all really awesome points. Um, so Dan, I, I so appreciate the time that you’ve spent with us today. Um, do you have any final words or anything that you’d like to share that maybe I didn’t ask you about?

Speaker 4: 38:50 Uh, well, we’ve gone around the road in our winding road to get to the end, but I, I, I really appreciate the time to come and say that and definitely hope to see you soon and look forward to seeing part of your team at ASTHO next week. And I look forward to make my trip at, back up to New York and visiting you in Rochester. And, uh, definitely looking forward to my old stomping grounds of and back to west point soon. But appreciate all the time. Appreciate all your listeners who do so much for their destinations every day. And you know, what you’re doing just matters so much for there. Your community, it matters so much for, ah, the traveler individ sir, that’s a, you’re going there and you know, the hospitality workforce and everybody else that’s part of this industry. Ah, that doesn’t get near enough credit a year. You’re doing the, the Yeoman’s work to take things to the next level. So if your shit on your list size to sir.

Nicole Mahoney: 39:46 Awesome. Thank you so much Dan. And um, we’ll look forward to seeing you soon.Speaker 1: 39:50 It’s time to hit the road again. Visit destination on the left.com during your travels for more podcasts, show notes and fresh ideas.

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