Talking Tourism: The Super Bowl of Marketing | by Maggie Barnard

Talking Tourism Monthly Column in the Cook County News Herald.

Originally published: November 2017

Talking Tourism: The Super Bowl of Marketing | by Maggie Barnard

My background is 28 years in the hotel business working for a national hotel chain starting as an on-call banquet server and working up to Roving Corporate Director of Catering & Convention Services. During those years I enjoyed being a resident of six different states and two Caribbean islands. My roving assignments were two to three months long. I took the opportunity to be familiar in a destination, getting to know people and places beyond the tourist highlights.

I’m a football fan so I was thrilled to be working in two cities that hosted the NFL’s Super Bowl: Tampa in Jan. 1991, and Miami in Feb. 2007. It was impressive to see the evolution of the festivities from 1991 to 2007. In 1991 the focus was predominantly the game and the weekend. In 2007 it was now Super Bowl week with multiple parties, fundraisers and the NFL Experience set up as a daily fan destination. The year-end player awards became a televised gala with red carpet coverage. There was such great energy walking around both cities interacting with fans and visitors. It was special to have access to peek ‘behind the curtain’ and see the plans for the pageantry and production.

The Super Bowl is the year end celebration and pinnacle of a season. In comparison, our annual Fall Gala celebration is teeny tiny but feels the same for us. We look back on our campaigns like Storm Season and Hygge as well as letting the world know we are looking out for our moose. The Chamber of Commerce honors the accomplishments of our local businesses and leaders. Like the NFL, Visit Cook County is passionate about our organization and product, we love what we celebrate and invite everyone to join in.

As the tourism destination management organization for Cook County, MN we care about the success of our communities. We dedicate ourselves to telling the stories of our destination because we love the people we live with and where we live. We understand our responsibility to make our destination as successful as possible. We are happy to be a marketing asset for our Cook County businesses and organizations that want to take advantage of our outreach. One of my responsibilities with Visit Cook County is communicating these marketing opportunities.

We launched a new, beautiful, second version of our website this past August. We investigate and invest in new advertising mediums and social media channels. We make marketing access very affordable: our Basic Level costs a little over $20/month. This level includes a website listing with a photo, contact info, short description and a business listing in the 15,000 printed annual Visitor Guides. Throughout the year we communicate new marketing opportunities such as contests, feature stories or seasonal and event promotions that involve larger media markets. To all of our dedicated, hardworking business owners and organization leaders, we invite you to buy-in and celebrate our little Super Bowl of marketing every year.

Cook County News Herald by Maggie Barnard, communications manager at Visit Cook County MN Maggie Barnard