Carlsbad Talent Attraction Campaign Showcases the California City’s “Life in Action”

The city of Carlsbad’s “Life in Action” talent attraction campaign aims to share the untold stories of opportunity available for skilled professionals in this city that’s 35 miles north of San Diego and home to the second-largest life sciences cluster in the U.S.

City officials began work on the campaign in 2012, as they began exploring the launch of a talent initiative, website and brand that would promote the southern California city, that, like other West Coast cities, doesn’t always get as much exposure as well-known places like Silicon Valley – but has equally important talent stories to tell, and plenty of jobs to boast.

Through 18 months of extensive research, business surveys and stakeholder meetings, Carlsbad created a unified voice and produced a website that meets local industry needs and spreads the message of a coastal city that’s innovative, entrepreneurial and home to smart talent. As soon as the Carlsbad Life in Action website launched in June, the business community responded with an overwhelming, “Thanks for creating this. May we have more?”

So the city isn’t stopping here. It has plans to continually expand and evolve the website and overall talent campaign, including hosting face-to-face roundtables with business leaders to determine how the campaign can be more relevant, and how it can aide in recruiting talent.

DCI spoke with Christina Vincent, the city of Carlsbad’s economic development manager, to learn more about the recently launched campaign.

Launch Date: June 11, 2014

Budget: $80,000 for consultant work, website development and brochure printing. City economic development staff wrote the website copy themselves.

What DCI Loves about the Campaign:

Top 10 Reasons to Live in Carlsbad

Clever, creative copy artfully crafted to reach community’s target demographic: Carlsbad did its research to make certain it understood the city’s key audiences and tailored the copy accordingly. The witty content – written 100 percent in-house by the city’s small economic development staff of 1.5 people (these economic developers must have double majored in English literature, because they sure can write!) – serves its purpose to appropriately speak to 20-to-40-somethings, and the mid- and senior-level executives Carlsbad aims to reach.

The content doesn’t focus heavily on local government; rather, the site was created to be completely different from the city’s website and focus on local business assets, along with the reasons the city is a good place to work, live and learn.

The copy is concise and truly relevant to young professionals, getting many points across in just a few words. To wit, “Save lives or a birdie. Carlsbad has a strong life sciences cluster and is the golf capital of the world.” is just one of the site’s exceedingly fun “Top 10 Reasons to Work in Carlsbad.”

Live in Carlsbad, CA. (1)

Unique parallax scrolling platform sets Carlsbad apart: From the current surf conditions and local weather report, to the “Top 10 Reasons to Work in Carlsbad” mentioned in the previous slide, Carlsbad’s site delivers information in a way that’s fun and simple, and drives home the purpose of the campaign, which is to provide easily accessible facts and information on the community’s industries and companies.

Still, the city didn’t want to place too much emphasis on the beaches and the surfing, lest potential workers think the locale is largely for tourists or beach bums. The main focus is smart people and innovative business. A few images include beach pictures, or lagoon images, but the images always aim to show the true nature of the community and people who choose to call Carlsbad home.

Carlsbad California Twitter



Promoting jobs through social media: Carlsbad didn’t want its website to be a one-stop-shop for jobs, but rather, a relevant resource, especially for HR managers at local companies, for sharing information with prospective employees about what it’s like to live and work in the city, the strength of industries in the area, and how local businesses are growing and operating on a global scale. The site’s news section includes significant job announcements, and the city plans to use mediums such as Twitter and LinkedIn to promote specific jobs.

Carlsbad company

Plans for evolution of campaign based on business community feedback: Carlsbad is working to ensure that all of its content stays relevant and strikes a chord with its target audience, refusing to let the campaign get stagnant. After the site has been up for a few months, the city will analyze the pages that people are clicking on most, and determine which functions are being accessed most frequently – and then add to those sections.

Carlsbad is also planning another business survey at the end of this year, in an effort to get feedback on the talent attraction brand, how businesses are using it, and obtain additional suggestions for how the campaign can be even more successful, and deliver more jobs.

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Four Tips To Overcome The Digital Travel Marketing Disruptors

This article published on Skift one year ago, The Destination Marketing Organization Model in Tourism Is Broken, challenged DMOs to re-examine their marketing model to remain effective in the fast-evolving digital landscape. Skift identified four disruptors to DMOs: the rise of the collaborative economy, user generated content, OTAs and mobile platforms.

To not just survive, but to thrive in today’s destination and travel marketing environment, here are four actionable ways to overcome each disruptor.

1. Leveraging Aggregate Travel Audiences

  • Disruptor: The collaborative economy
  • Don’t view the peer-to-peer (P2P) movement as a threat, but as an expanded community with niche audiences to leverage. If AirBnB is becoming popular in your destination, what can your destination do to capitalize on the consumers visiting the site to book a place to stay? Explore advertising opportunities to push to your booking engine or accommodation partners. Participate in social media chats sponsored by other travel aggregators like the #Expediachat Twitter chat or the Travelocity Gnome’s #gosmelltheroses twitter chat. Show that your destination understands this new travel ecosystem and how to be an active player in this evolving space.

2. Instagram and Vine Are The Little Black Dress of Travel Marketing

  • Disruptor: The rising importance of UGC and social platforms
  • The ability to create and curate user generated content (UGC) is imperative for any destination’s marketing plan.  Research continues to show that consumers trust the opinions of other consumers, travel bloggers, friends and family over brand advertising. Work with popular digital influencers across Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to promote your destination. For DMOs, curating content is more valuable than creating content. So leveraging visually-driven  UGC on Instagram or Vine can be a time saving way to publish more personal content. Vine, the video-only social platform, is exploding right now. According to Mashable, five Vine videos are tweeted every second and the platform has 40 million users. DMOs can regram a picture or video on Instagram or revine a video on Vine to share third-party content with their followers.

3. Be Visual

  • Disruptor: The dominance of OTAs in the distribution system
  • DMO websites still play a vital role in inspirational travel, even though OTAs are dominating the consumer search and buying process.  OTAs are most often used to search for the best deals once a specific destination has been shortlisted. However, DMO digital platforms offer inspiration when consumers are still selecting which locations to shortlist. To be effective, make sure your website plays into the aspirational values and experiences for which your target audience is looking. Be visual!  For cost-effective imagery, create a promotion to drive image content creation. For example, HotelTonight created the “Snap Your Stay” campaign to encourage users to take pictures and upload shots of their hotel rooms to receive credits ranging from $5 to $10. As a DMO, you could partner with a hotel, city coupon service like CityPASS or Entertainment Book, attractions, or restaurants to encourage travelers to generate content using specific hashtags.

4. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

  • Disruptor: Mobile
  • By this time, responsive design in mobile is old news.  Your best bet to stand out from the clutter online is personalization. From touchdown to takeoff, every digital touch point you have should be mobile optimized. Whether you have a responsive design website, app, social channels or emails—personalize whenever possible. Personalization can be achieved on a website or in an email by asking consumers their interests in a pop-up, then customizing the content consumers receive. The more custom content you can deliver—the  better.

When mapping out your digital strategy, use the traveler expectation infographic to identify gaps in your current marketing and ways to optimize.

travel infographic3

What else have you done to ensure your DMO evolves with the dynamic travel marketing industry?

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BuzzLead: July Prospects for Your Lead Generation Program

Confusing directionsIn our busy lives, it is easy to accept things at face value. But in doing so, we can miss opportunities that otherwise are tailor made for our situation. Such is the case in lead generation, where companies may have multiple divisions hidden within their operations that seemingly have little to do with their perceived industry. Below we share some select prospects for economic development organizations based on recent developments, and the first three companies fit this deceptive mold:

  • Moline, IL-based Deere & Co. and St. Louis-based Monsanto are among the companies expanding their Big Data capabilities as tech works its way into agriculture. The data they own—which is causing concern among farmers with whom these corporations have partnered—could be worth billions of dollars. Monsanto acquired Climate Corp. in 2013, justifying the move by saying the ag-data market is potentially $20 billion. What does this mean for you? Well, that data needs to be stored somewhere…(hint: data centers)
  • The Bay Area’s InvenSense makes micro-electro-mechanical system gyroscopes for motion tracking-devices like smartphones and tablets. But there’s a new, high-growth industry that has come along where the same technology is applicable, reports MarketWatch—commercial drones. The company is projected to grow at 30 percent a year during the next several years. Of course, smartphones and tablets aren’t a bad primary market in which to be involved either.
  • Cincinnati-based E-Waste Systems recently announced an aggressive U.S. expansion strategy, which consisted of two new state-of-the-art facilities in Ohio and California, and a revamped one in New York. More could be on the way for the only pure-play public company in the emerging industry of electronic waste: “While we are planning to expand our reach globally to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities created through increased pressure worldwide to address electronic waste, the US is an enormous opportunity and focus for us,” said Martin Nielson, founder and CEO. “Our recent purchases position us for rapid growth.”
  • International investment promotion offices, take note: Norwalk, CT-based Priceline Group has seen a decade of quadruple-digit growth, and the quest is on to continue that pace through overseas expansion, according to a recent Q&A with the Wall Street Journal. Most of the company’s employees already work out of Europe, and company CEO Darren Houston notes that emerging markets in Asia and lack of competition for talent in Europe (as opposed to Silicon Valley) play into Priceline’s strategy overseas.

If you find yourself strapped for resources and time to proactively recruit companies like these, give us a call. We’d love to add some firepower to your lead generation initiatives.

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Top Eight Digital Influencers for Travel

We live in the era of digital influencers — individuals with loyal social media followings whose words and images can motivate an army of consumers to book a vacation. Travel is a visual experience, so photo-driven social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have become the perfect fit for showcasing a destination’s attributes.

For DMOs, creating relationships with these online opinion leaders has become one of the most effective ways to tell your destination’s authentic story and drive awareness as well as bookings. Influencer Marketing is now big business in North America, with the latest estimate valued at $240 million.

These personality powerhouses have established consumer followings in a broad range of niches including travel, diving, food and sailing to name a few.

So who are these elusive digital story tellers and how can DMOs reach them to leverage their influence on target audiences? Here are our recommended top eight that you should get to know…

For Pinterest

ordinary traveler3 Christy and Scott from Ordinary Traveler. These two photographers travel the world for a living and share stunning photography along the way to their 29,000 followers on Pinterest. They regularly partner with companies, hotels and destinations.
the cultureist2 The Cultureist is an online magazine that covers small businesses, food trends, travel and culture. This digital outlet has 2,016 engaged followers on Pinterest with 46 boards to browse. Much of the content is derived from its contributors taking assisted press trips from DMOs which is also featured on the outlet’s website.


For Instagram

Kirsten Alana3 Kirsten Alana is an Instagram influencerwith more than 42,000 followers.  She specializes in luxury travel, cultural aspects and green tourism on her blog. Visit her website to learn more how she works with destinations. 

cole rise3 Cole Rise’s Instagram account has 956,000 eager followers with an average of 9-12k likes for each picture. This self-professed ‘escape artist’ shoots dramatic landscapes taken on his global travels. He’s open to working with destinations on assisted visits. His recent travels have included Iceland, Norway and Mauritius. 

ken2 Ken Kaminesky’s 9,700 Instagram followers love his distinctive shots all taken and edited on an iPhone—not a professional camera. To find out how to work with Ken, visit his website.
zach glassman2 Zach Glassman shares his wonderful imagery with 128,000 followers in Instagram. He is open to working with destinations. For more details, email him at
colby brown2 Colby Brown is an international photographer specializing in landscape, travel and humanitarian photography with more than 39,800 Instagram followers. View his online portfolio on his website. More information is there on how to work with him.
Brendan van Son2 Brendan van Son has a sharp eye for photography that is appreciated by his 9,200 Instagram followers. He is open to taking assisted trips to assist in content creation for his blog and Instagram feed. Brandan’s areas of interest include adventure travel, solo travel, group travel, photography and luxury travel. Check out his website for more information and his travel schedule.

These are just a few of our favorites. Who has your DMO worked with recently that you can recommend?

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The New York Times Finds U.S. Drug Makers Seeking Overseas “Inversion Deals”

As U.S. health care companies continue to battle against stringent federal regulations and increasing global competition, businesses are finding new ways to boost their bottom line: avoiding the American tax regimen through inversion deals. The New York Times reports that U.S. drug firms and medical device companies are buying smaller overseas competitors and reincorporating abroad […]

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Call for Entries: Game-Changing Economic Developers Under Age 40

Are you a revolutionary economic developer under the age of 40 or do you know someone who is? Whether you or they are pushing the boundaries to build better communities, we want to know about young professionals with true grit for consideration for DCI’s 40 Under 40 awards. Nominees should be constantly and successfully overcoming […]

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More #TradeshowShoes From IMEX

After another successful seminar at IMEX Frankfurt last month and more recently, returning from PCMA’s Education Conference in Toronto, I wanted to present a second series of #Tradeshowshoes. Not only are shoes a great conversation starter, but it creates a memorable moment between industry peers, prospects and clients. Enjoy the meeting planner and MICE supplier […]

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PR Bulletin: Q2 Travel Media Outlet Updates

As a follow-up to our PR Bulletin Q1 updates blog post, I wanted to provide additional updates from April through June 2014. Many staff transitions have taken place within key US and Canadian outlets, from a new Travel Editor at the Boston Globe to a new Editor-in-Chief at Ebony. Also, Metro in Canada is embracing augmented […]

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Boise Valley Economic Partnership: Recruiting Talent with Real Stories, Vivid Imagery

If you’ve ever been to Boise Valley, Idaho, you probably love it. If you haven’t been there yet, you just don’t understand how much you will love it. That’s the message that Boise Valley Economic Partnership’s (BVEP) talent campaign aims to share, making potential workers and residents fall in love with what the valley has […]

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The Wall Street Journal Looks at the Dark Side of Reshoring

Tim Aeppel is one of my favorite reporters at The Wall Street Journal and his story on the reshoring trend is a gem that every economic developer should read. “Bringing Jobs Back to the U.S. is a Bruising Task” takes a close look at two mid-sized companies, Stanley Furniture and Chesapeake Bay Candle, which have […]

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