Episode 256: How DMOs Can Engage with Their Audience

By on May 05, 2023

Destination marketing organizations (DMOs) face the challenge of effectively engaging with their audiences amidst the ever-evolving media landscape. Traditional marketing methods alone are no longer sufficient. As Stuart Butler and I have discussed in our owned media series, DMOs need to adapt and embrace owned media to build stronger connections with their target audience. Owned media refers to the content channels that organizations have complete control over, such as websites, blogs, podcasts and email newsletters. Being able to engage directly with your audience is crucial to cultivating a community. Here are five ways that DMOs can engage with their audience.

Establishing Authenticity and Trust:

Owned media provides an invaluable opportunity for DMOs to showcase their authenticity and build trust with their audience. Instead of static and opaque ads, owned media can give destinations the chance to be creative and establish a likable voice and personality. By creating and curating content that reflects the unique essence of their destination, DMOs can establish themselves as the go-to source of vacation information. A well-maintained website or a regularly updated blog that offers insider tips, local stories and engaging visuals can help create an emotional connection with potential visitors. By delivering valuable and authentic content, DMOs can position themselves as experts, fostering trust and encouraging audience engagement.

Enabling Direct Communication:

Owned media platforms enable DMOs to establish direct lines of communication with their audience. Social media channels, for instance, provide a two-way interaction where DMOs can actively respond to comments, inquiries and feedback from users. As discussed on our newest podcast episode, some successful podcasts are able to include sections to include fanmail or fan call-in questions. This direct communication also allows DMOs to gather insights into audience preferences, interests and expectations, enabling them to tailor their marketing efforts more effectively.

Creating a Fan Group:

One of the most powerful ways DMOs can engage with their audience through owned media is by leveraging user-generated content (UGC). Encouraging visitors to share their experiences and stories using branded hashtags or participating in contests allows DMOs to showcase authentic content created by their audience. A great way to do this is to create and run a Facebook or LinkedIn group for fans to discuss your branded media. For example, the Destination Marketing Podcast has its own LinkedIn group where any group member can post their own insights and content based on the podcast. An owned community not only amplifies the reach of the DMO’s message but also provides social proof and credibility. Sharing these stories on DMO-owned platforms further strengthens the connection between the destination, the visitors, and the DMO, fostering a sense of community and belonging.

Tailoring Content for Diverse Audiences:

Owned media platforms grant DMOs the flexibility to create and distribute content tailored to different audience segments. With the help of analytics and audience insights, DMOs can identify specific demographics, interests and preferences. Armed with this information, they can curate content that resonates with each audience segment, ensuring relevance and engagement. By addressing the unique needs and interests of various demographics, DMOs can capture the attention of a broader range of potential visitors, thereby expanding their reach and impact.

Building Long-Term Relationships:

Owned media provides DMOs with the opportunity to establish long-term relationships with their audience. By consistently delivering valuable and engaging content, DMOs can cultivate loyalty and encourage repeat visits. They can also utilize email newsletters to nurture relationships and provide personalized recommendations based on previous interactions. By staying top-of-mind and continuously engaging with their audience through owned media channels, DMOs can build a community of loyal advocates who actively promote the destination.

In a time when traditional advertising methods struggle to capture the attention of modern consumers, owned media emerges as a powerful tool for DMOs to directly engage with their audiences. By leveraging owned media channels such as websites, blogs, social media accounts and email newsletters, DMOs can establish authenticity, foster trust and create lasting relationships with their target audience.