The Power of Proximity Campaigns, with Karyn Gruenberg

Episode 130:

Karyn Gruenberg is senior vice president of partner marketing and strategic alliances at Brand USA, the public/private partnership whose mission is to increase international visitation spend and market share in order to fuel the nation’s economy and enhance the image of the USA worldwide.

In this position, Karen is responsible for leading partner marketing efforts as well as building global strategic alliances to leverage the combined resources and expertise of the industry. Her leadership includes development and oversight of all partner-driven marketing programs and key global media alliances that add and create value for partners, amplify partners, international reach and drive, inbound visitor travel and tourism dollars to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five territories. Among her many accomplishments at Brand USA, Karen established a core partner program strategy that today includes more than 100 programs and 200 opportunities and key media partnerships with BBC, National Geographic, Bloomberg, and Your Own News and Alibaba to name a few.

Prior to joining brand USA, Karen led the marketing effort for Meet Minneapolis, the premier Tourism and Convention Marketing Organization of the Greater Minneapolis region. As part of the leadership team, she was instrumental in securing major sponsorships for the city as well as directing all advertising, public relations, digital development, and creative services to market the city. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota and pursued a Master in Business Communications at the University of Saint Thomas, Minnesota.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I ask Karyn to walk us through the many programs available through Brand USA, and how local attractions and destinations can take full advantage of them. We talk co-op marketing, storytelling, and much more – all geared toward the international visitor.


What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How Brand USA uses co-op marketing to bring large-scale messages down to the local level
  • Why storytelling is such a powerful tool in our industry
  • How affordable marketing to international visitors can be
  • The power of proximity campaigns
  • Why coopetition is one of your best tools to bring international visitors to your region

Finding The Difference

How do you market an entire nation? Karyn and I talk about how Brand USA takes a larger message like “Enjoy the Great Outdoors” and helps local destinations craft a message for international audiences.

This happens in many different ways. There are fairly traditional co-op campaigns and there are new and exciting storytelling programs, like the one that Brand USA is rolling out with partner Beautiful Destinations called United Stories. And if you haven’t utilized Brand USA’s Inspiration Guide, now is your chance to learn more about it and put it to use for your destination.

Bang for Your Buck

The value of the dollar is a key advantage for international travelers. Even though over the past year value has dropped a little bit, it’s still a good buy.

Karyn talks about proximity campaigns being developed by Brand USA. Proximity campaigns give regions dollars and ideas to use in order to market to international visitors. You can experience Niagara Falls, the Finger Lakes, and New York City, all within a short drive. Karyn talks with me about how proximity marketing is being used all around the country to highlight the amazing sights and activities available in a given region.


Episode Transcript

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