The Iowa Tourism Grant (ITG) program promotes tourism in Iowa by funding tourism-related marketing initiatives, events and meetings that benefit both local economies and the state's economy. Applications are available annually, and preference will be given to those that support the overall marketing plan of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) in terms of its target audiences and messaging.
IEDA/Iowa Tourism Office Marketing Plan
When people from other states see Iowa on TV or online, they want to visit. When they visit, they are more likely to stay. This is why IEDA’s visitor and talent attraction strategies fit hand in glove through its This is Iowa initiative.
IEDA’s marketing is helping Iowa address one of its major challenges: population. Slow population growth has not kept pace with a wave of retiring Baby Boomers. The state must attract more people – visitors and residents – from other states.
This is Iowa was built on a significant research study, with two key findings:
- Most people simply don’t know enough about the state to form an accurate opinion.
- Tourism is critical: two-thirds of U.S. adults say they have seriously considered moving somewhere after visiting.
Following a pandemic-fueled pause in out-of-state marketing, IEDA leveraged a one-time infusion of federal COVID-19 recovery funds in FY2022 to take its marketing to places it had never been, including:
- Introducing Iowa to the nation for the first time through a national television ad that gave viewers a glimpse of Iowa’s beauty and lifestyle.
- A tourism campaign that showcases the state from an entirely fresh perspective – that of a drone camera – and sets Iowa’s tourism efforts apart from others.
- Investing in more everyday marketing tools that Iowa needs to stay competitive, including a refreshed digital presence and an inventory of photography and video that brings Iowa to life for prospective visitors.
Results show the investment is paying off: About one-quarter of U.S. travelers and one-third of U.S. job seekers saw Iowa advertising in the first half of 2022, according to a survey. Of those, 80% of travelers and 83% of job seekers said the advertising made them more likely to consider Iowa.
IEDA/Iowa Tourism Office Target Audiences
Primary Target: Adults in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Secondary Target: Adults in Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Texas with ties to Iowa.
Tertiary Target: Adults living in-state.
Research shows that people within different age groups have different priorities and different media consumption preferences. Consideration of these priorities and consumption preferences has been proven to increase marketing success.
- Young adults (Gen Z and Millennials ages 22-29) are looking to start and/or grow a career and gain new experiences. They are tech inate, use multiple screens, communicate with text and images.
- Young families (Millennials and Gen X ages 30-39) want to make family memories and discover a work/life balance. They enjoy traditional media but access it differently (e.g., podcasts, Hulu)
- Middle-aged adults (Gen X and Boomers ages 40-55) with disposable income who may recommend Iowa to younger generations are most likely to use Facebook as their go-to social media outlet.
IEDA/Iowa Tourism Office Messaging
- Affordability of travel and cost of living/doing business
- Economic viability of communities and careers
- Natural beauty for visiting and quality of life
- Culture and lifestyle from art to festivals, breweries and restaurants
Read an overview of IEDA’s marketing plan here.