Visit Jackson has provided answers to questions received for the Advertising Agency Services - Tourism Industry Recovery II RFP.


For meetings marketing/meetings projects, do you have an estimated percentage of the overall budget you would like to devote to this segment?

Great question. We are open to recommendations. Our meetings, conventions, and group markets goal is to establish qualified prospects for our sales team to follow up with a sales call.

Are printing/production costs for guides, brochures, and items like in-market signage included in the noted budget?  Or is additional funding available for these costs?

If there is an opportunity for new guides or brochures, then yes, they would be included in this budget. But we will use our standard budget to pay for our annual guides and brochures. In-market signage would all be new projects, so those would need to be executed with these funds.

Are there any existing media contracts currently in place that will extend past the launch of this agreement?


Should influencer and writer trips be included in the pricing for public relations strategies?  


How will you measure success?

For leisure travel, we will focus on these three metrics - increase in visitation, visitor spending, and tax receivables. We will evaluate those metrics against the previous year’s figures and our three- and five-year averages.

What are the KPIs?

Website traffic and social engagement have always been reported as KPIs. We will pay attention to those; however, new metrics will be our KPIs for this campaign. Visitation, visitor spending, and tax receivables will be most important.

Is the market for this only within a certain travel distance, or is there a desire to play to a broader regional or even national audience?

Our focus area for this campaign will include markets outside of Mississippi and within 400 miles.

Historically, does Jackson have a good read on who their target audience is?

Yes, but we hope to do additional research before launching this campaign.

The RFP states the need for “creative strategy(...) including destination marketing and messaging. Does the creation of the messaging and materials involve the creation of an entirely new campaign to replace “The City With Soul” or to continue the campaign with new materials in the allotted time? 

We are not changing our brand, “City With Soul.” Our goal is to introduce our brand to new markets and reinforce our brand in our primary markets with new creative executions.

Are there any opportunities to do co-branded marketing with notable destinations within the city (EG museums) in order to help bolster the overall marketing budget?

We do not plan on specific co-branded campaigns to bolster the budget. However, we work hand in hand with our attractions to drive visitation.

Has Visit Jackson engaged an external communications partner in the past? If so, what was the experience/success?

Visit Jackson has worked with local agencies for brand strategy, graphic design support, and video production (to name a few). We currently staff through a creative design manager, communications director, and content marketing manager. Since this team was hired, we have done less work with agencies. The hope of this RFP is that we hire an agency to be an extension of our in-house team.

How do you feel Jackson is perceived nationally as a tourism destination? Was that perception different before COVID?

There are a lot of factors, good and bad, that have affected Jackson’s perception since COVID. Good – Coach Prime at Jackson State University, James Beard Award winners and nominess, and our Civil Rights story. Bad – our recent water crisis, crime statistics, and political infighting.

Is there a city/region that Jackson sees as a comp to how it would like to be perceived and/or mirror its success? 

On a larger scale, we see Memphis and New Orleans as destinations that mirror our product.

Your marketing plan states that Visit Jackson is striving to become a more quantitative, data-driven organization. In addition to the partnerships with Tourism Economics and Longwoods, what other initiatives have you implemented toward that goal?

We also utilize Madden Voyage visitor intelligence platform and consistently partner with Epsilon to measure community ROI and economic impact.

Are you able to provide any data from your research partners, such as visitor profile and visitor demographics research, perception studies, brand awareness, etc.?

Yes, upon request. Please send a separate email requesting specific studies.

What is the percentage of leisure vs. meetings and group visitation?

14% Meetings & Group; 86% Leisure (Longwoods)

Please share your thoughts on the political realities that any new brand campaign may face in gaining acceptance, adoption, and implementation. 

One of the main initiatives for our RFP is to build upon our brand, City With Soul. Research indicates that our brand is strong, so we plan to develop new campaigns that reinforce our messaging through unique channels.

With JMAA reporting passenger numbers not seen in a decade for 2022, what partnerships does Visit Jackson have to drive visitation in the flight markets?

With the recent “re” addition of Southwest Airlines to JAN, passenger numbers are at an all-time high. Visit Jackson has also made considerable marketing efforts in Atlanta, Dallas, and seasonally in Chicago. The goal is to continue working those markets but placing more PR resources and efforts to gain continued share. Additionally, Visit Jackson will partner with Visit MS in those markets through consumer shows and media visits.

What are your strongest initiatives with Visit Mississippi?

Visit Mississippi continues to be a strong partner with Visit Jackson. In addition to advertising co-ops, we partner with their PR firm for media and influencer campaigns. We partner on consumer shows focused on our strong culinary and music heritage and continue to support the growth of major annual events and festivals.

Mr. Thigpen has noted the need to create partnerships to more aggressively promote the colleges and universities in Jackson - which initiatives have proved most successful in that endeavor?

Visit Jackson’s relationship with all our universities has significantly grown over the last few years. Our partnership with Jackson State University is one to mention. We’ve built a strong rapport with their athletic, admissions, and marketing/communication departments. We’ve developed programs and campaigns to support each department in order to increase visitation to the city. Additionally, we work towards a common goal of making game days, move-in days, orientations, etc., a better experience for students, alumni, and fans.

From a paid media perspective, what types of co-ops have proven most successful for you?

The visitor intelligence platform, search engine marketing support, and programmatic campaigns.

It has been noted within your research that the locals are your greatest asset. In addition to Soul Sessions and blog content, how have you most successfully highlighted those locals in your marketing campaigns?

Our My City brand is built around highlighting locals. We’ve developed many initiatives since that brand launched in 2017 – music videos, commercials, and Facebook programming (My City TV) have all contributed to the growth of that brand. Additionally, in 2022 we partnered with JXN Bicentennial in support of featuring locals.

What other DMO campaigns do you most admire?

This one from New Orleans:

Which of your previous campaigns would you say was the most innovative?

The JXN Icons campaign, the Discover Our Soul TV campaign (especially the “Food” spot), and My City.

Can you identify any key elements, capabilities, or characteristics in an advertising agency you seek?

Visit Jackson’s in-house marketing team is made up of professionals with a love for Jackson and a wide array of marketing experience who are committed to our mission. Our hope is that our agency will listen, be open to new ways of working with a client and be an extension of our team. Let’s break down the client/agency wall.

The RFP states that the "budget will be implemented in phases up to three years," but then later states that we should base our proposed budget for two 12-month periods starting June 1, 2023, through May 31, 2025, ... for a total of $2 million. Will you please clarify whether the budget should be spread across 2 or 3 years? 

We apologize for the confusion. Monies can be spent through the end of 2025. However, we want to keep this as a two-year project to maximize efforts during that timeframe.