The idea for this niche marketing campaign grew from VisitCasper’s desire to focus on world-class leisure opportunities in Natrona County. Among these activities, fishing stood out as one of the more marketable ones, since Casper had already been recognized by American Angler magazine as a top destination. The goal, therefore, was to attract more out-of-town anglers to Natrona County.
To attract more anglers, Adbay and the CACVB needed to develop a comprehensive understanding of our customer base. Where do they live? How many are there? What motivates them to fish in Casper? Where else do they fish? What tools to they use to plan their trips?
In order to obtain answers to these questions, Adbay designed a three phase study. For the first phase, we submitted a request to the Wyoming Game and Fish Office, seeking the zip codes of all non-resident license holders in Natrona County for a one year period. The next phase of the research involved developing an electronic survey for local fishing guides to send out to previous customers. And finally, a focus group was conducted with local guides to get their input on our preliminary findings.
The results of the research were quite helpful in developing a marketing strategy. As it turns out, nearly half of all non-resident fishing licenses were issued to Colorado residents who live between Colorado Springs and the Wyoming border. This gave us a tidy geographic region in which to focus our marketing efforts. From the survey responses, we learned that target audience was composed of men ages 49 and up who rated the “size and quantity of fish” as the best reason to fish Casper. The survey also indicated that our customers were likely to prefer outdoors-related programming and football programming.
It became clear that our strategy should be to launch a television campaign in Colorado that featured middle aged men catching large fish. We knew that if the campaign were successful, we’d see an overall increase in the number of non-resident fishing licenses issued in Natrona County to Colorado residents. But since the Game and Fish data can be delayed by as much as six months, we decided that monitoring and developing a new FishCasper.com website would enable us to measure our impact in real time while also offering us the ability to make timely adjustments when necessary.
The creative materials developed for the Fish Casper campaign are among our agency’s favorites. The television script and cinematography emphasize the excitement of a day out on the water catching “big fish and lots of ‘em.” The website also uses a variety of “grip and grin” photos to convey the idea of an abundance of large fish. This theme is even carried through the Facebook ads, which invite users to “come see why Casper was rated #1 Big Fish destination in the world and prepare to tell the story of the one that DIDN’T get away.”
Purchasing television advertising space along the Front Range can chew through a small budget in no time. Luckily, outdoor-oriented programming on Denver’s regional cable system is relatively inexpensive and reaches a large portion of our target audience. We improved placement in this programming by adding some of the more high profile local sports, such as Denver Broncos football and Colorado Avalanche games. A six week fall campaign and an eight week Spring campaign were planned, with ads running every other day on all networks.
Conducting a social media campaign via Facebook allowed us to really customize the placement of our advertisements. We are able to pinpoint a user base of just 21,540 men who live along the Front Range, are older than 45 and who self identify as anglers. This means that every impression generated by this campaign is a seen by someone who is likely to be interested in our product.
From the beginning, we felt it was important for our customers to feel like they were part of the campaign. Giving them the ability to share photos of their catches via the FishCasper website enabled them to promote their accomplishments AND our industry to their friends and family. We also ran a sweepstakes in print and on FishCasper.com to add more interest and data capturing capabilities to the campaign. Last but not least, we developed a special flyer that educated anglers about the “Top Five Fishing Secrets That Only The Locals Know.” This publication is only available to those anglers who share their zip codes online or request a hard copy of the CVB visitors guide.
The FishCasper campaign is a great example of a sensible marketing partnership. We truly could not conduct this campaign without the guidance, support and participation of the local industry. Local fishing guides were invited to pre-campaign and post-campaign planning sessions to offer their input on everything from creative materials development to target audience analysis. They star in the television commercials and print ads. They even keep the FishCasper.com website up-to-date by submitting photos of their clients’ big fish and allowing us to post their Facebook content on our homepage.
After a full year of measuring the FishCasper campaign, we have seen some fantastic results. Non-resident fishing licenses were up sharply in the months immediately following both the fall and spring campaign, with an increase of more than 5,000 non-resident fishing licenses issued in Natrona County from July of 2011 through June 2012. That’s a 35% increase! This campaign was also featured at the 2013 Governor’s Conference on Tourism.