DCI’s September Breakthrough Contest

October 16, 2015

Every month, DCI engages staff in a friendly competition known as the “Breakthrough Contest” to reveal the latest and greatest examples of economic development and tourism marketing. Three to four contenders face off, showing off their creativity in a two-minute presentation. A staff poll determines the winning team.

Making it to the Breakthrough Contest is no easy feat. Teams’ marketing results must meet at least one of the following requirements to enter the ring:

  • Build strong brand awareness through media relations, social media, content marketing and additional marketing tactics.
  • Generate leads through investment or visitor attraction.
  • Significantly boost the value of the client organization and its leaders in the eyes of key shareholders.

These three teams recently competed to demonstrate their skills in the place marketing arena, outlining the following results for their clients:

Team #1

As part of a new venture for the state of North Carolina, Maureen Haley created a digital influencer campaign using LandLopers, a popular travel site that includes reviews and tips, to create a major buzz across a variety of social media channels. As a result of working with the LandLopers digital influencer, during an event across the state of North Carolina, the campaign generated 16 website posts, more than 100 tweets, 19 Facebook posts, plus information on GooglePlus and Instagram. The resulting total impression and total media value are equivalent to four pages in American Way, two pages in Travel & Leisure, or one page in TIME Magazine.



This month, the results were so stellar, that the following two teams tied for the win:

Team #2

After working for the past five years to tell the biggest stories of Columbus, Ohio, Judy Lee, Keegan Calligar and Kristyna Bronner recently secured a placement in Fortune titled “How Columbus Managed to Record the Nation’s Highest Wage Growth.” The story touts 10 important key messages in one article, and includes information on how Columbus has had the nation’s highest wage growth. It’s a big win that reached more than 12 million unique monthly visitors for an advertising equivalency of more than $94,000.

Fortune Highlighting Columbus OH

Team #3

In an effort to confirm appointments between Promperu and qualified meeting planners, Stella Tsitsipatis and Pam Balakian organized a five-day sales mission to the Northeast region of the U.S. The team confirmed appointments with 17 organizations and met with 26 meeting planners, which resulted in receiving an RFP and two pending programs for Lima, for a total economic impact of $935,640. And, the Northeast mission was so successful, the team has since added another five-day sales mission for California this winter.


Sarah Reinecke

Written by Sarah Reinecke

Sarah Reinecke is a Senior Account Executive at DCI. Since joining the staff in 2013, she’s worked to tell the economic development stories of places that span from Salinas, Calif., to Wake County, N.C., and Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to the state of Indiana.

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