Ever heard the phrase, What Happens Here, Stays Here? You may not realize it was R&R Partners who coined it back in the day for their largest client, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), and my primary client at this prestigious Vegas-based agency.
There are many components to this client, including visitors and meetings and travel planners. Aside from day-to-day project management and operations, a significant contribution to R&R was to identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on the consumer/customer journey and correlating marketing channels. I had exposure to all accounts, though, and provided competitive analysis to key business stakeholders for new business and expanding business. While R&R has significant investment in a large-scale SEM program, using Omniture for analytics and the Google Advertising Program, including AdWords and AdSense for paid search, natural search was also used. For budget-conscious projects, we used Google Analytics, since obtaining the tracking code and metrics is virtually free. Implementation and analysis relies on substantial skill, however.
For the LVCVA tourism site, the customer journey is Awareness, Engagement, Planning, Conversion, and Retention. Various marketing channels and components comprised these categories. A monthly scorecard was created to monitor year over year, month over month and, ultimately, a campaign scorecard for the Vegas Bound project, which comprised virtually all components involving any monetary investment. Its purpose was to validate to the client during extremely tough economic times the return on that total investment, broken down by online components, such as Pay Per Click (PPC) paid search, natural search, traffic, site and gadget engagement, as well as out of home, print, and broadcast advertising. To balance the scorecard, earned media was calculated and applied to the various markets, which helped vindicate the agency and the LVCVA’s decisions on marketing mix and spend.
Project highlight – Vegas Bound. The most comprehensive project managed at R&R was the master plan development and production management of Vegas Bound, a multi-channeled campaign, with heavy emphasis on social media. Following consumer research and hearing that people wanted to take a break versus a vacation, dedicated teams at R&R scouted for the ultimate small town, and eventually identified Cranfills Gap, Texas. Virtually the entire town of approximately 350 was flown in to Vegas, and the adventure was documented and promoted virally in a fun, interactive way to show the small town’s and its participants’ personal transformation, while promoting the participating Las Vegas venues, thus stimulating a troubled economy.
Primary elements. This fully-integrated campaign consisted of a series of television and radio spots, full-page print ads, a first-ever YouTube travel destination channel, Webisodes, YouTube home-page takeovers, Web-banner advertising, a promotion with the late night TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live that integrated the show’s characters with Gap citizens, aggressive PR featuring Gap spokespersons, and the marketing program’s anchor – the Vegas Bound microsite, VisitLasVegas.com/SmallTown – designed to engage potential visitors through various Gap getaway highlights and then convert their engagement into active Las Vegas trip planning.
The results: Just as the campaign was designed to do, Vegas Bound broke through on all levels. Novelty and human interest merged to create buzz that resonated across media channels. The PR program alone garnered approximately $5 million worth of earned media, while clicks to VisitLasVegas.com increased by 6 percent, and resulting online referrals to resort properties shot up 36 percent. In addition, Web metrics revealed 70 percent of visitors to the microsite spent five minutes plus, interacting – a clear indication that the Vegas Bound campaign resonated with LVCVA’s audience.