Digital Tools for the Smart Place Marketer

March 01, 2022

Twenty years ago, if an economic development organization (EDO) or destination marketing organization (DMO) wanted to market their region it was common to take out an advertisement in the newspaper, TV, radio or billboard, secure earned coverage and pick up the phone for “old fashioned” cold calls or word-of-mouth conversations.

Now, marketing has become digital-first. While this theoretically levels the playing field for place marketers, the sheer number of mediums and endless opportunities for content creations across web, social and more can result in overwhelm.

Thankfully, there are tools to help make our lives easier as digital communicators. Read on to learn about a few of our favorites.

Bynder: Manage your digital assets

A well-integrated digital asset manager (DAM) allows you to think less about all of the different ways you may need to manually resize and repurpose assets, and instead focus on the “digital supply chain” that leads to a well-rounded content marketing strategy and efficient digital experience for your audience.

Bynder is a DAM that works to maximize the impact of marketing assets by minimizing back and forth with templates, content, video and files. The platform integrates securely with other tools organizations use to manage their social, web and digital advertising.

While potentially more advanced than may be needed for smaller EDOs and DMOs, Bynder has the ability to reduce manual work, increase consistency, and automate repetitive processes. What’s not to love? If nothing else, this is a good reminder to get your digital assets in order and make sure your team isn’t siloing where it saves content for social, web, and paid campaigns – save it all in one place.

Klear: Find influencers that can authentically share your region’s story 

Cutting through the clutter to attract visitors to your destination and locating and attracting the right talent to move to your region, is more competitive than ever before. One digital tool helping to reduce the strain on finding and vetting influencers is Klear: a one-stop-shop for influencer discovery, management and measurement. Klear allows destinations marketers to find influencers that are local–or have a connection to–the place you’re marketing, as well as consider their audience demographics and interests to find like-minded people to get the word out about a place.

For state-level organizations or larger DMOs frequently managing influencer partnerships, a Klear subscription is a no-brainer. For smaller DMOs or EDOs, partnering with DCI is an opportunity to learn about influencer marketing campaigns and how they may be a fit for your region and goals.

Bandwango: Engaging experiences from the palm of your hand

Local deals and discounts not only satisfy a visitor’s sense of accomplishment for bargain hunting but can provide extra exposure to lesser-known activities in your community. Enter, Bandwango. The company’s destination experience engine (DXE) allows place marketers to build itineraries and curate passes, create mobile savings programs and passes in lieu of physical coupons, and more, across attractions, events, food and beverage and retail.

The opportunities go beyond tourism, too. EDOs and conventions and visitors’ bureaus can use Bandwango to create itineraries for site selectors or corporate executives visiting your region, or curate hot spots nearby a central point during a conference or meeting.

Threshold 360: Almost as good as being there

Virtual reality is becoming less of an abstract technology and more prevalent in daily life, especially driven by the gaming industry. Now, visitors, talent, site selectors and corporate executives can view a location (as well as its accommodations, attractions and available sites) in 4K resolution directly from their smartphones before ever stepping foot in destination.

How? Threshold 360 leverages local videographers and equips them with the technology to record a 360-degree virtual representation. The tool is a leading provider of interactive 360° virtual tours platform for destinations, hotels and commercial real estate.

Brazen: Connect virtually with talent

Let’s face it: remote work is not going anywhere, but top talent is on the move. Upwork’s 2021 Future Workforce Report noted that within the next five years, 40.7 million American professionals will be fully remote.

Which brings us to Brazen: a virtual career fair and networking tool embracing this new reality. The virtual event platform boasts seamless in-app video interviewing, advanced scheduling, instant messaging, and provides the event organizer with recruiter notes, candidate rankings and link tracking. Whether your region is working with local employers to fill jobs, or more broadly marketing the destination as a place to live (and work remotely), Brazen could be a fit.

Localintel: A deeper visualization of data

Storytelling through numbers can be tricky. EDOs want to provide a clear picture of an area, while not overwhelming the user.

Localintel is a data provider that focuses on big storytelling. Its engagement tools aggregate data into a visually compelling and interactive manner. Graphics are automatically updated from the source, eliminating the need for continual maintenance. When thinking about finding a balance between show-and-tell, Localintel helps your region do both, directly embedded on your own website.

TINT: Legally collect and share user-generated content

Every marketer understands the content curation conundrum: continually finding new and exciting content to share with audiences that have ever-shortening attention spans. A traveler or local small business owner snaps a photo and tags you on it on social media. To snag, or not to snag?

Well, to answer the first question – do not snag until taking the proper steps for not only attribution, but obtaining written permission to use in your marketing materials. Beyond people tagging your account though, there is a wealth of additional content from people geotagging locations in your region that need to be manually sourced and vetted. To ease the time-intensive practice, TINT allows users to collect, curate and legally secure rights to user-generated content (UGC) for use social, web and other marketing initiatives. This allows your brand to showcase a raw, authentic vision of your location, more regularly than formal photoshoots (which have a time-and-place but simply aren’t realistic on a monthly basis).

Looking to think more up leveling your organization’s presence online? At DCI we have more than 60 years of experience working with destinations on doing just that. Get in touch with Hanna Gbordzoe at [email protected] to learn about how DCI can support your content marketing and website needs.