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Monday, 02 April 2012 16:08

Pure Michigan ROI highest in campaign’s history

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Pure Michigan ROI highest in campaign’s history PHOTO: Mark Sanchez
GRAND RAPIDS — The Pure Michigan tourism campaign had its strongest returns and paid its greatest dividends in 2011, as the brand gained further traction nationally and drew more people to the state.

New data from travel consulting firm Longwoods International shows a $10.5 million national cable television ad campaign drove 1.2 million visits to Michigan in 2011 by out-of-state travelers who spent an estimated $465.5 million and generated a $3.11 return on investment for every dollar spent.

That compares with about 900,000 out-of-state visitors who spent $313.0 million in 2010 from a national cable TV campaign using the Pure Michigan brand.

When the national campaign’s results are coupled with data from a regional promotion, Pure Michigan generated nearly $1 billion in spending by visitors last year.

“The Pure Michigan campaign is delivering impressive results for our state, bringing millions of new visitors and their dollars to Michigan,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in announcing the Longwoods International data during last week’s Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Grand Rapids. Gov. Snyder said he wants funding Pure Michigan to be a top priority.

The Longwoods International data clearly shows that Michigan is branding itself as a national vacation destination, said George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan.

“You can see what’s happening. We are becoming this national destination, even if five years ago we didn’t think we were or we didn’t think we could be one,” Zimmermann said.

As the state now enters another year of a national campaign using Pure Michigan, and as it begins to craft a new strategic plan for 2012-17, Zimmermann believes the brand can generate even greater results in the future, perhaps even making Michigan a top national travel destination in the U.S.

“We can do better than this. We just have to keep the pedal to the metal,” he said. “We are at the beginning still of this journey. We are just getting going. So what can we be?”

Michigan ranked 14th nationally with $12.7 billion in tourism spending by travelers in 2010. Florida was first at $57.7 billion and California was second at $51.5 billion.

Launched in 2006, the Pure Michigan campaign initially sought to promote Michigan as a travel destination within the Great Lakes region. The first year featured a single ad that ran regionally in Milwaukee, Wisc., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada. The campaign, even as it struggled for a secure funding source that finally came a year ago, has extended to other markets in the Great Lakes region and went national in 2009.

Travel Michigan spent $10.5 million on its 2011 national campaign and $3.8 million regionally. The regional campaign generated an estimated 2.0 million trips, $531.0 million in new visitor spending and a $9.85 return on investment, according to Longwoods International.

Since 2006, the Pure Michigan campaign overall has generated 10.4 million trips to the state, $2.97 billion in visitor spending, $208.1 million in state sales tax revenue and an ROI of $3.70, the Toronto-based Longwoods International estimates.

Pure Michigan has value beyond the pure economic results, Zimmermann said. The Longwoods International data, based on interviews with travelers to the state, has improved Michigan’s image across the nation. People who visited Michigan for leisure travel “have a much better impression of the state than people who never have,” he said.

Improvements in how people view the state transcend tourism and can help to attract talent and business investments, he said. That’s one reason why the Michigan Economic Development Corp. now uses Pure Michigan is its business development efforts.

“When a place is popular for visitors, all those other things happen,” Zimmermann said. “It’s not just for tourism. It’s for everything.”

Travel Michigan launched its $12 million 2012 national campaign March 19 that will feature more than 5,000 ads running over 25 cable television networks.

The state has a new partner for 2012: Coca-Cola. The soft drink maker is giving away four Michigan vacations this year through its website that has 7 million members and is using the brand on its trucks, vending machines and billboard ads in the state.

Zimmermann sees the Coca-Cola partnership as a “coming of age” of the Pure Michigan brand.

“We have been asked to dance with one of the iconic brands in the world,” he said.

And if the ROI data and the Coca-Cola partnership are not enough of an indicator of the campaign’s success, then there are the spoof ads that run on that parody the campaign. As Zimmermann points out, “People don’t do parodies of things that don’t resonate. They parody things that do resonate.”

“It’s another example of how Pure Michigan is in the public consciousness,” he said.

Read 4574 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 August 2012 10:02

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