Embracing Owned Media: The Key to Destination Marketing Success

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<span>Embracing Owned Media: The Key to Destination Marketing Success</span>
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As many familiar with my work know, I'm incredibly passionate about owned media—it's a game-changer for destination marketing. That's why I want to highlight the transformative impact a robust owned media strategy can have for any destination marketing organization. 

In the ever-changing world of destination marketing, it’s crystal clear: clinging solely to traditional methods just won’t cut it. The digital age is upon us, with shifting consumer behaviors, rapid technological advancements, and ever-intensifying competition. Old-school marketing tactics alone simply won’t distinguish you in this saturated market. Yet, this whirlwind of change presents a golden opportunity for destination marketing organizations to stand out and excel, particularly through the strategic use of owned media. 

As many familiar with my work know, I'm incredibly passionate about owned media—it's a game-changer for destination marketing. That's why I want to highlight the transformative impact a robust owned media strategy can have for any destination marketing organization. 

Harnessing a Cultivated Audience 

Owned media is what you might call the real estate you fully own and control in the digital world—everything from your website and blog to your podcasts and email newsletters. It’s your direct hotline to your audience, free from the interference of third-party algorithms or editorial slants. But why is this absolute control so crucial for destination marketing organizations? 

Owned media is indispensable for forging genuine, enduring relationships with your audience. In today’s world, where ads are everywhere, the authenticity and real storytelling provided by owned media really shine through. It gives DMOs a platform to share their unique stories, offer insider tips, spotlight those lesser-known spots and connect directly and more personally with their audience.

For instance, let’s look at Visit Laguna Beach and their "From Radical Origins" campaign. By harnessing their own channels to explore the rich history and vibrant culture of the town, they've not only piqued interest but are also nurturing a deeply engaged audience. Their content goes beyond mere listings of attractions—it emotionally draws visitors into the Laguna Beach experience, showcasing the transformative power of owned media not just to promote but to connect and resonate on a deeper level. 

For an example of owned media’s potential for brand expansion, take Prime Hydration. This venture by YouTube giants Logan Paul and KSI, with a massive combined following of over 40 million, shows just what can happen when you leverage personal platforms effectively. They generated such a buzz that Prime Hydration’s sales numbers zoomed past industry heavyweights like Gatorade and Propel during its launch. This example serves as a powerful reminder: with the right strategy, even the big players can be outflanked through savvy use of owned media. 

The Power of Data 

Owned media is far more than just a megaphone for your message—it’s like having a treasure trove of data about your audience right at your fingertips. Through your owned channels, you can dig into visitor preferences, behaviors and feedback, which lets you fine-tune your marketing tactics to be even more effective. 

Consider the rich insights you can mine from an email list—details like where subscribers are from, what they’re interested in, and how they behave. Tourism thrives on this kind of data. Having first-party data is like striking gold for DMOs because it allows for marketing strategies that are not just targeted but incredibly precise. Meanwhile, paid or shared media platforms like social media, tend to hold their user data close to the vest, offering up only limited insights that often lack the detail and depth you really need. This makes owned media not just a channel, but a strategic asset essential for data-driven marketing success. 

Cost-Effective and Long-Term Value 

In the challenging financial landscape of destination marketing, where budgets are always tight, the cost-effectiveness of owned media stands out. Let’s be honest— in our world, every dollar must work overtime. As I often point out, merely mimicking your competitor’s strategy on a smaller budget is a recipe for disappointment. Small and mid-sized destinations especially need to think creatively to break through, and that’s precisely where owned media shines.

Investing in owned media is like planting an orchard; you nurture it initially, and then you reap the benefits season after season without additional cost per apple. This contrasts sharply with paid media, which is more like renting your visibility—once you stop paying, the attention fades.

Owned media assets, like your blog, podcast or video series, remain under your control and continue to engage audiences without ongoing costs. 

The content you create can be cleverly repurposed across various platforms, stretching each dollar further. A single blog post can be featured on social media, included in your newsletter, and transformed into a video. This not only extends its reach and lifespan but also bolsters your SEO and cements your brand’s authority in your niche. The real magic lies in the compound interest of content; the more you produce, the more visible and valuable your destination becomes, amplifying your marketing impact exponentially. 

Sign Up for Our Owned Media Webinar 

Ready to take your marketing game to the next level? Join us on June 5th at 10:00 a.m. Mountain Time for a transformative webinar hosted by my team at Relic. We're diving deep into owned media strategies that truly make an impact. Expect a session packed with actionable insights and real-world success stories that will arm you with the insider tips and tactics you need to excel in the digital domain. This webinar is essential for anyone eager to make their mark in destination marketing. Don’t miss out—secure your spot today! 

Owned media is a potent and often overlooked tool for Destination Marketing Organizations to stand out and cultivate a committed audience that translates into more visits. I firmly believe that owned media is not just an option—it’s a critical element for DMOs determined to succeed in the competitive and ever-changing marketing landscape. Now is the time for DMOs to tap into the full power of owned media and lift their destination marketing to new heights.

About the Author

Adam Stoker

President & CEO

Adam Stoker is President/CEO of Relic. He's been working with destinations for nine years, consulting with leisure travel, stakeholder engagement, destination branding and convention/meetings marketing. He has been featured in the Utah Business and Utah Valley Business Magazines' 40 Under 40 issues. He now speaks on different industry subjects at tourism conferences across the country, most recently including Utah Tourism Conference, and the Texas Travel Summit. As one of the up-and-coming industry thought leaders, Adam's impact on the industry is just beginning.

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