Social Marketing, Web 2.0, Digital Recruitment Campaign for Failte Ireland with EPiServer at the Heart
Pick Tourism is an innovative Web 2.0 initiative conceived by Fáilte Ireland and created by the team at biznet IIS to complement and support their National Promotional Campaign on careers, training and education opportunities in tourism. The solution was delivered in December 2008 and went live in January.
The core objectives of the initial brief for Pick Tourism campaign were:
- To increase awareness and the take-up of tourism education with particular emphasis on work based learning programmes.
- To support the tourism recruitment drive of 15 – 18 yr olds.
- To provide a dedicated website to support the Pick Tourism campaign and provide information to specified target audiences.
- To promote the campaign through a mixture of multi-channel elements
Multi channel elements that needed to be delivered included.
- Campaign website
- Ultimate destination through multi-channel engagement
- Main activity area and repository for information, action and community
- Social networking widget game:
- Viral marketing tool to direct traffic to the campaign website and promote messaging to audiences
- Brand awareness and equity builder
- Creation of social networking pages, Bebo skins & icons
- Allows personalisation of social networking pages and promotion of the Pick Tourism brand across third party media
The Strategic Thinking
In common with most industries, the tourism sector faces particular challenges in attracting young people to train and work in the industry. There is increased competition from other sectors for the reducing numbers of young people applying for training programmes plus a tarnished perception exists of the viability and longevity of a career in Tourism. Failte Ireland decided that they needed to be innovative and engage with the target audience via the media and forum that has become second nature to them i.e. the Internet and the Social Networking Arena.
An innovative company was sought to help guide and advice them on how to best meet their objectives. The Consultancy and creative team at biznet IIS worked in tandem with the Failte Ireland team advising, challenging and guiding to deliver a very successful online marketing solution. The approach of strategic workshops and feedback from selected focus and user groups helped shape the project and the solution that would be delivered. The overall strategic aim of the Pick Tourism project is to motivate 15 – 18 year old students to investigate and consider a career in Tourism and Hospitality in Ireland. It is an educational and discussion platform where peers are utilised to stimulate and educate the site visitor to dig deeper into the potential of Tourism. Viral marketing, social networking, course searching, permission based marketing elements and interactive games are all used within the project to help achieve Pick Tourism’s strategic aims and objectives.
Careful consideration was given to the sensitivities of teenager’s and guidance was sought and given by a selected focus group of teenagers who were avid internet and social networking users. At all time we were continually made aware of not invading their online space or peer networks. This was paramount to the project and had to be kept at the fore throughout the development and delivery process.
The Creative Response
A highly creative and targeted response was required and was delivered for this project. The project had to focus strongly on establishing a credible and quality profile in the on-line social networking facilities used by younger people. This presence had to appeal to their tastes but ultimately be geared towards raising Pick Tourism brand awareness through a cost effective, targeted and appropriate marketing medium. The networks especially Bebo were seen as the launch pad for directing users to the main information portal and call to action resource which is the campaign website.
The innovative Pick Tourism project contains the following four key core components delivered by biznet IIS:
- Dynamic Customisable and Content Managed Campaign Website (www.picktourism.ie) delivered on a robust enterprise level .Net 2.0 platform
- XML integration to Qualifax Course Search System
- Downloadable promotional Bebo Skins with associated Profile
- Interactive Widget Game
A synergistic approach was required between all these components to make this project a success. The careful execution and subtle embedding of the Pick Tourism Brand in the personalised Bebo skin designs and Widget game created subtle but strong brand awareness. This in turn created the desired effect of launching visitors to the campaign web site. The campaign web site was also developed as a complete self-service environment meeting all of Failte Irelands objectives.
The campaign website www.picktourism.ie is the focal point of the project as this is where users have the opportunity to investigate, self inform and apply for Tourism and Hospitality related courses. Whilst there are several multi-channel marketing strategies in place to raise brand awareness and increase acquisition, the ultimate aim is to direct traffic to the central information hub. All off-line activity leads to www.picktourism.com.
In order to make the website a success, biznet IIS developed a design which would appeal to the 15 – 18 year old target audience, but which also presented users with an intuitive self service environment. Following intensive research, it was decided that a radical Web 2.0 and social networking style design should be implemented to achieve initial aesthetic engagement. The rationale for this was based on user research but also biznet IIS’ observation that the target audience spent a great deal of time on websites such as Bebo and MySpace, meaning that a particular genre of design would be most appropriate. Best practice based navigation and information architecture systems were also implemented to make sure the website catered for users with different levels of Internet experience.
Core website components are:
- Intuitive and Creative Design
- Deployment and Customisation of Episerver (Enterprise Level .Net CMS)
- XML Integration to Qualifax Course Search Database
- Career and Student Profiles supported by VodCasts
- Online Competitions
- Web 2.0 technology integration
- Tailored Bebo Skin Library
- Conceptualisation and development of a promotional Widget Game
- Information Personalisation via My Account
The solution is hosted in the biznet IIS dedicated data centre on one of biznet’s virtualised server environments running on Windows Net and Microsoft IIS. Complete solution is delivered on a MS .NET 2.0 platform.
This project allowed the team at biznet IIS to embrace and utilise some of the latest web 2.0 and social networking environments and would be one of the first integrated web campaign solutions delivered on the island of Ireland. Key innovations have been:
Bebo Skin Library
The Campaign website also included a Bebo Skin library. This library enabled users to download and attach a number of different skins onto their Bebo profile, hence increasing visibility and the likelihood of users navigating to the Campaign Website.
Bebo was identified as the primary marketing channel for the 15 – 18 year old target audience and as such, a Pick Tourism profile was designed and developed as a core part of the project. This profile gave an extraordinary amount of information on the campaign itself, but also supported the social networking and marketing element of the project. From a strategic point of view, this medium was identified as the most valid in terms of directing users to the Campaign Website which in turn motivates the calls to action and course database interrogation.
Interactive Widget Game
As part of the Bebo profile, biznet IIS developed a tailored PacMan widget. This game was designed to be consistent with the Campaign Website and also to represent different Tourism and Hospitality themes. As with all of the Bebo activity, the main aim was to increase exposure and invite the users to visit the central Campaign Website. Users were also able to invite friends to play the game, hence supporting the viral element.
As biznet IIS are ISO9001:2008 and ISO 27001 certified we have stringent processes in place for delivery and management of all projects. All clients and projects have a dedicated team assigned for the complete duration of the project. An account manager and project manager work in tandem to meet and fulfil the client’s needs. Where required depending on complexity and level of customised functionality a Business Analyst plus Lead Technical Architect will be assigned. All project management aspects are managed by certified Prince II practitioners’. A full overview has been provided in the Quality Management response document.
Post delivery a dedicated team is on hand to support the existing system. We operate a dedicated support and maintenance desk manned by 3 full-time members of staff. Ongoing consultancy and strategic advice is also available at quarterly review and strategy session meetings.
Results & Evaluation
After only being online three months Pick Tourism have already had a 20% increase in enquiries and the site has proven to hit the mark with the average visitor spending 114% longer on the site compared to the norm. This proves that the solution retains, stimulates and calls the target audience to action. The following statistics substantiate this.
In the main, these are website and social networking statistics which include:
- Site visits
- Site visitors
- Page Views
- Game deployments
- Comparisons to other sector recruitment drives
- Newsletter sign-ups
- Searches on Course Database
The Consultancy and Digital Marketing team at biznet IIS have a strong background and track record of integrating and utilising Google Analytics. It is seen as being the industry standard and provides a comprehensive range of statistics, data and reporting functionality. To measure website success, biznet IIS integrated Google Analytics into the website. Upon registration with Google, Google automatically compared www.picktourism.ie with other sites of a similar size and nature. All visitor statistics for these sites are monitored and a Benchmarking value is created, which is similar to an average figure for the different statistics. As can be seen Pick Tourism is well above average on all aspects please review table below.
View the Website