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.
All components of the MPD application are required and segmented as such:
Completed applications are due at the MDT office in Jefferson City by the dates and times listed on the program calendar. Applications arriving late will not be considered for funding. The MPD opportunities will be made available on the website on the date listed in the fiscal year calendar.
Review and 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.
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.
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.
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 this creative and/or logo. Participants may contract with an agency to develop a logo or to design base creative ads.
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.
A strong marketing plan is crucial to running a successful marketing campaign. Participants may contract through an agency to layout 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.
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.
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.
MDT will assist industry partners in the funding of a Visitor Profile Study. This research provides you 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.
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.
Design or upgrade your tourism website to include focused calls-to-action, enhanced images and simplified navigation to allow your visitors to find the information quickly and easily. Participants may contract with a web designer to update their site.