Duluth Tourism Study, What’s Next & Conclusions

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So What’s Next?
There may be obvious reasons why Duluth has not grown more domestic and international mindshare over the years.  Though we have a website, our official marketing is largely traditional and may not leverage search and/or social opportunities. For instance, a search for Duluth’s Facebook page returns results that feature Facebook’s automatically generated “Community Page,” not the page VisitDuluth administers.  “Becky Hall for Duluth” and “Camp Bow Wow’s” Facebook pages are in the search results, but it’s nearly impossible to locate Duluth’s official Facebook page without first going to the VisitDuluth site to find it. Lake Tahoe’s Facebook page has over 80,000 fans, is at the top of search results and Duluth’s has about 3,000 fans.  As a contrast, Facebook’s automatically generated Community Page has 16,017 people that like it. There is obviously low hanging fruit to harvest.

This image shows that Facebook’s automatically generated Duluth Community page is atop a Google search for “Duluth Facebook Page” and has over 5X the “likes” as the official Facebook Page.

Our city can better organize and coordinate its content strategy, social media campaigns, social channel advertising, community management presence, YouTube agenda, Twitter tactics, blogger outreach and public relations program. It appears that Duluth does not invest media-spend dollars on paid search anywhere in the world, on international mindshare expansion goals. SEO tactics could be based on competitive intelligence and plugging keyword holes.  Much of the world has shifted budget to undertake digital marketing tactics, but Duluth seemingly has not.


Duluth’s paid search investment since October 2008.

Some may suggest that more traditional polling methods portend more or different meanings. Keep in mind that the tools used in this study cite two of largest human demographic data warehouses in the history of the earth (Google and Facebook), over a billion users.  The entire marketing universe has shifted over the last 5 years to evaluating brands in similar terms. For instance Neilson uses Facebook data as a primary measurement.

Some may argue that the comparison-communities have bigger marketing budgets. We don’t buy it. The very idea is to compare Duluth to other famous places. Money is only half of the story. Ideas and mastering online marketing vernacular are just as or more important. For instance, aimClear, owner of this blog, has approximately 5% of VisitDuluth’s annual marketing budget.  Chart 17 displays Alexa’s estimate comparing the reach of visitduluth.com vs. aimclearblog.com. Alexa metrics better reflect proportional trends than specific numbers.


Chart 17 shows Alexa’s estimated percentage of global Internet users who visit aimclearblog.com vs. visitduluth.com

In Conclusion
Ten million dollars of destination marketing has not made Duluth more famous. This can be fixed, over time, with focused use of future tourism tax expenditures. Long term, changing our ways may be crucial to our region. It is our hope that this study inspires significant discourse amongst city officials, VISD, local media, Chamber Of Commerce officials, local tourism officials, hospitality professionals, owners and agencies. We believe these organizations can work together, to effectively leverage each other’s social media and search prowess to make Duluth’s international reputation the world class identity it should be.

 

Marty Weintraub is author of “Killer Facebook Ads” (Wiley/Sybex 2011) and CEO of aimClear®, an online marketing agency that has managed Facebook ad campaigns generating over 10 billion impressions internationally. Client credits include MarthaStewart.com, Siemens, Second Life, Budget Direct, and other global brands.

He’s written extensively for respected Internet marketing trade publications including SearchEngineWatch, SearchEngineLand, SearchEngineRoundTable, and been quoted in many others. aimClear Blog (aimclearblog.com) has been cited as among the Technorati Top 10 Small Business Blogs, Cison Top Ten Social Media Blogs and PRWeb’s 25 Essential Public Relations Blogs You Should Be Reading

A fixture on the international conference circuit, Marty speaks regularly at Search Engine Strategies (SES), Search Marketing Expo (SMX), PubCon, SEMpdx, International Search Summit, All Facebook Summit, Socialize, OMMA, Search Insider Summit, Universities, and others. Marty founded and produces the aimClear® Full Day Facebook Marketing Intensive Workshop

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