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The Roswell Experience - Small Town Tourism Marketing Example


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Using Conducttr, local production company Airhart Media created a location-based experience that told Roswell's secret history of how aliens influenced the work of Goddard, Oppenheimer and others.

32 businesses and points-of-interest around the town held story segments that were unlocked by tweeting or texting the code found at the location. Each story segment was piece of a bigger puzzle that revealed the GPS coordinates of an alien landing.

In addition to the "grid game" there were several other text-based casual games for those less inclined to travel around the town.

The experience started with a crop circle and finished with an alien landing in Roswell's Spring River Park & Zoo

Published in: Travel, Spiritual, Business

The Roswell Experience - Small Town Tourism Marketing Example

  1. 1. The Roswell ExperienceTransmedia storytelling for America’s small towns Robert Pratten CEO & Founder, Transmedia Storyteller Ltd @robpratten
  2. 2. The Roswell Experience• The Brief – create a pilot experience for 2013 UFO festival• Goals – introduce visitors to wider local history – incentivize visitors to visit local businesses – discover critical success factors
  3. 3. Overview• True history of town told through the lens of a fictional alien from outer space• 2-week game based on location check-ins• Simple (5min) SMS-based casual games• Conducttr managed all sign-ups, publication and interactivity… and kept local retailers informed
  4. 4. Experience components• Live activities: – crop circle – UFO sightings – radio station interruption – prize draw• Conducttr: – range of casual and deeper interactive games – story publication to social media – personalized content – points-based leaderboards – merchant outreach & notification – marketing contact list – mobile app
  5. 5. Audience acquisition & entry points• Local flyers & check-in notices• Noticeboards at certain locations (mall, stores)• Website sign-up (via Conducttr)• Mobile app (Conducttr)• Local word-of-mouth• Local media (TV & radio) and social media
  6. 6. Crop circle
  7. 7. Mall noticeboard
  8. 8. Location flyers
  9. 9. 3-fold flyer
  10. 10. In-world (e.g. fake) newspaper (flyer)
  11. 11. Give-aways
  12. 12. Mobile app
  13. 13. 2-week game Find GPS coordinates of alien landing. Daily question emailed to subscribers for 14 days. Answers unlocked via check- in at local stores and points- of-interest
  14. 14. Example casual SMS games• Alien encounter readiness (on next slides)• (more challenging) Hidden message – Reply with the hidden msg to win Oppenheimer badge: hygpkijhgvgtfrthUm&nszw1LLzb3zr3pl&c3dz6yzm&chin3sy h76deswnhyga• (more challenging) Anagram – Reply with the answer to this anagram to win the Billy the Kid badge (5/8/6/6) ONSLNCRIFTGICDAYAIEINBEFL
  15. 15. Alien encounter readiness (SMS)TEST your readiness for alien encounters!Reply TEST to answer two questions that willreveal more about yourself than you knew! – Q1: You suffer an alien abduction but are returned to Earth. What do you do? Reply keep SECRET or GO PUBLIC – Q2: You find yourself impregnated with an an alien child. What do you do? Reply give BIRTH or KILL it.
  16. 16. Results create personalizeexperience SECRET PUBLIC You are a PERFECT HOST for alien You are an EXHIBITIONIST whoBIRTH explorers. Your willingness to seeks celebrity in two solar keep an alien lovechild and tell systems. We are wary of you but nobody has been noted and will we may use you if it suits our be rewarded. cause. You are an EARTH WARRIOR - KILL You are a SILENT RECLUSE. You ready to make a stand against crave alien attention but are alien invasion and exploration. afraid to show your affection. You are not to be trusted.
  17. 17. Results of last 4 days(following several iterations)• 30% of target demographic in daily visitors• 3.9 interactions per visitor
  18. 18. Critical Success Factors
  19. 19. Engage, don’t explain.• Design story to be location-aware but not location- dependent – requiring physical travel creates big barrier to adoption – represent stores “virtually” on online platform and entice journey to real store (not the other way around)• Assume nobody wants to read a set of rules. Start with direct call-to-action (“do this!”) and have visitors discover the “rules” as they explore• Give rewards early and frequently – make it fun and surprising• Keep it simple, frictionless and fun – minimum intellectual demands, physical demands, time commitment, technology demands
  20. 20. Planning• Design for existing behaviors – What do visitors already enjoy?… enhance it• Understand visitor dynamics, demographics, habits – public transport vs driving? Open road or gridlocked? – visitor metrics – age, size, income, education, volume, frequency, occupancy – technographics – familiarity with social media, smartphones etc.• Know the geography – foot traffic/pedestrian friendly? – wifi? 3G? – hot climate? rainy climate?
  21. 21. Business as usual?• Local retailers must help with audience acquisition (discovery), not solely expect to benefit from it: – in-store staff involved in call-to-action – consistent and clear presentation (e.g. flyers displayed in window, not inside store e.g. like “wifi inside”)• Integrate the experience with town website & marketing materials with early audience capture during vacation- planning stage• Use interactivity to capture “visitor heat maps” and other market research• Integrate with the town’s social media strategy• Iterate
  22. 22. Transmedia Storyteller Ltd USA: +1 415 287 4150 Europe: +44 207 193 4567