Cooperative Marketing Grants

Overview

Missouri Division of Tourism’s (MDT) cooperative marketing programs represent a significant investment, second only to its general domestic marketing budget. The programs are available each fiscal year and funding is determined by the MDT budget.

The cooperative marketing funds are distributed among three separate industry programs that are designed to maximize the resources of MDT and its partners. Funding is based on a county’s tourism level and specific program. The programs are designed to build upon underused resources/assets of MDT, build partnerships within the industry and eliminate excessive administrative requirements.

The cooperative marketing opportunities are:

  • Marketing Matching Grant
  • Supporting DMO Grant
  • Marketing Platform Development
  • Search Engine Marketing Partnership

Program Objectives

  • Support and further MDT’s overall annual marketing strategy as outlined in the annual marketing plan and position Missouri to compete more effectively for travel and tourism market share.
  • Create programs based on the common marketing goals of MDT and the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), thereby creating mutually beneficial marketing executions.
  • Maintain programs that are efficient to implement for both MDT and its partners.

Marketing Matching Grant

The Marketing Matching Grant (MMG) program is designed to increase visitation and tourism spending in Missouri. Approved DMO media advertisement placements are reimbursed at 50% up to the approved application amount. Funding is determined by a DMO’s county tourism level and this program is available to all certified DMOs. With the match of state and local funds, MMG provides meaningful financial incentive to participants and a significant economic benefit to the state of Missouri. The Supporting DMO Grant is a program similar to MMG in all ways EXCEPT the ‘certification process’.

Applications

Before completing the MMG application, a DMO must first complete the DMO certification process. This application is open from September 1st to the first Friday in November each year. To apply for DMO certification, please visit the Submittable website and complete the application.

The MMG application opens the first Friday of May and closes the last Friday in May each year. To apply for the MMG (after DMO certification is complete), please visit the Submittable website and complete the application.

The Supporting DMO application follows the same timeline as the MMG.

The grant applications require several pieces of information, including a Budget Grid detailing all planned media activities. The budget grid is an Excel-formatted workbook (provided within the application) consisting of state and matching local funds information in addition to the year’s media plan broken out by advertising platforms. Advertisement placements must be selected from an approved list of media found in the MMG Guidelines. Both the application and budget grid will close on the date listed on the program calendar. MDT reviews the grant applications on a pass/fail basis for completeness and program compliance. The DMO will be awarded or denied the grant by the last Friday of June. The program then begins on July 1st.

Artwork Approval Process

Every advertisement funded by MDT requires pre-approval from Co-op staff before being published. The Artwork Approval Form is to be completed on the Submittable website. Any changes to the approved and funded artwork must be requested in writing and approved by MDT prior to the placement of ads. All funded marketing activities must display the official tourism logo and any other specifications required, according to the MMG Guidelines.

Quarterly Reporting & Reimbursement

Quarterly reporting of marketing activities is required for all MMG and Supporting DMO contracts. The Excel-formatted workbook auto-populates totals based on your budget grid information and the summary of activities and expenses recorded during the quarter. The DMO is to pay at least one-half of each invoice amount prior to submitting the expense to MDT for reimbursement. This should be completed on the Submittable website.

All reimbursements must include a proof of expense, proof of payment and proof of performance. The reporting/reimbursement packets must be completed and filed with MDT within 60 days following the end of each fiscal quarter. Please see the Program Calendar for specific dates.

Project Summary Reporting

All MMG participants are required to submit the Project Summary Report (PSR) assessing the success of the funded project. Following the receipt of the PSR, each contract is reviewed for completeness and recorded for future MMG applications.

Resources


Marketing Platform Development Program

The Marketing Platform Development (MPD) is designed for marketing investments that will be utilized beyond the fiscal year of the initial investment and reimbursed at 50% up to the approved application amount. The total for all grants under this program differ by program year; however, each grant awarded shall be limited to no more than $5,000 and shall be matched by non-state dollars. This program is available to DMOs with a county tourism level of 4 or less, certified and non-certified. 

Eligible projects include those that provide for development, improvement or expansion of tourism marketing programs and products designed to increase tourism from outside the area for greater economic impact. Each year, MDT will develop a list of platform project opportunities available for the current fiscal year. However, other platform requests can be submitted for review to be included in the next fiscal year.

Application

The MPD application opens the first Friday of April and closes the last Friday in April in each year. To apply for the MPD, please visit the Submittable website and complete the application. 

The grant applications require several pieces of information, including vendor bids or a scope of work. The application will close on the date listed on the program calendar.

Review & Selection Process

The MPD program has a limited amount of funding available. MDT and the Cooperative Marketing Program Advisory Committee (CMPAC) will review the applications on a pass/fail basis for completeness and program compliance. Amounts of match will be awarded based on the available budget, number of partners applying and quality of the application.

At this time, no applicant may receive more than one MPD grant per fiscal year; no applicant may receive funding for a platform for which they received funding in the past five years. The DMO will be awarded or denied the grant by the last Friday of June. The program then begins on July 1st.

Reimbursement Request/Project Summary Report

The reimbursement request/project summary report and copies of the grant project (example: social media strategic plan, creative strategy, profile study) must be submitted 60 days following the completion of the project. The participant must first incur the approved expense and pay at least one-half of each invoice amount prior to submitting the expense to MDT for reimbursement. Only one request for reimbursement is allowed per DMO under the MPD grant program. All reimbursements must include a proof of expense, proof of payment and proof of performance. The Reimbursement Request should be completed on the Submittable website.

Eligible Platforms

Brand Awareness Study

MDT will assist industry partners in the funding of a Brand Awareness Study. A brand awareness study (and analysis) can give a measurement of which consumers are familiar with the brand and product. How much of the target market is aware of the brand? Understanding this information can enable you to market more efficiently and effectively.

Creative Design

It is important that tourism industry organizations have a strong, memorable identity for the brand through image marketing. Much of the advertising communication is centered on the brand’s creative and/or logo. Participants may contract with an agency to develop a logo or to design base creative ads.

Creative Strategy

Participants may contract with an ad agency or marketing communication agency to develop a creative strategy. The contracted agency will evaluate the marketing and promotional situation to determine what needs to be communicated to the marketer’s target audience. A strong, memorable identity for the brand through image marketing communication will be developed.

Marketing Plan Development

A strong marketing plan is crucial to running a successful marketing campaign. Participants may contract through an agency to lay out the advertising and marketing objectives specific to the needs of the organization. A marketing plan must be clear before the creative strategy can be determined.

Mobile Optimization

If your website is not yet optimized for mobile, consider a responsive web design. A responsive web design enables your website to react to a user’s actions and detects the medium where the site is currently being watched in order to provide the best experience possible to the user in terms of navigability and readability.

Social Media Strategy

Develop a social media strategic plan to determine which social network connects you with your target audience, determine best content types and outreach tactics, and reach targeted followers that generate more qualified leads for your organization. Participants may contract with a social media strategist to develop a strategy that includes: research and discovery, strategy development, implementation planning and measurement.

Visitor Profile Study

MDT will assist industry partners in the funding of a visitor profile study. This research provides a profile of your visitor based on demographic and behavioral characteristics such as age, income, size of travel party, activities and expenditures. Understanding this information will enable you to target your audience more efficiently and effectively.

Visual Asset Procurement

Strong visuals in marketing are vital. Because of this, MDT will assist industry partners in procuring visual assets. Participants may contract with a professional photographer and/or a videographer to build your visual asset library for marketing purposes.

Website Development

Design or upgrade your tourism website to include focused calls-to-action, enhanced images and simplified navigation to allow your visitors to find information quickly and easily. Participants may contract with a web designer to update their site.


SEM Partnership

This search engine marketing (SEM) partnership is a unified, coordinated effort that drives traffic to your site and ensures you are not in competition with MDT or other Missouri participants. Unlike the MMG and MPD programs, the SEM Partnership does not reimburse participants; rather, MDT will pay for 50% of the cost, and the vendor, Madden Media, will bill the DMO for the other 50% of the cost. This plan is on a first-come, first-served basis and the applicant must meet the criteria for participation.

Madden Media’s SEM program participants receive custom-written ads, hands-on optimization, and monthly reporting of all key indicators. Madden Media performs an individualized website review and provides a keyword strategy for each partner. Campaigns will be established, monitored and optimized continuously to ensure fair and equitable exposure. Limited spaces are available. For additional information, contact the Madden Media Regional Account Manager for your area, maddenmedia.com.


Program Reports

After the completion of each fiscal year, MDT will compile the year’s cooperative marketing financial data to produce the Financial Report and Co-op Summary for the public to view. See below for past cooperative marketing results.