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Mark Lapidus
Brand USA

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Mark Lapidus, Director of Digital Development at Brand USA, will be joining us on stage at #DTTTGlobal - Disrupting the Future Destination, on the 1st & 2nd of December in Brussels. Mark's presentation at #DTTTGlobal will show how their new strategy and website, launched this September, is embracing the seismic shifts happening in digital.

We met him for an interview and he told us more about Brand USA and their main focus as a really results-focused organisation.

Quick introduction to yourself and the work you do at Brand USA.

We “Market The Welcome” to encourage international tourists to Visit The USA.  I direct development and content for Brand USA’s 15 consumer websites.  I also work with Influencer programs and participate in social media platform strategy.  I have been creating websites since 1994 (remember dial-up?).  Prior to Brand USA, I built websites and produced content for broadcast properties. Previously, I worked at NBC Universal and Clear Channel Worldwide.

What is the main focus of your organisation?

Brand USA is the destination marketing organization for the United States with the mission of increasing incremental international visitation, spend, and market share to fuel the nation's economy and enhance the image of the USA worldwide.  We work in close partnership with the travel industry to maximize the economic and social benefits of travel. These benefits include fostering understanding between people and cultures and creating jobs essential to the economy.

Tell us a little bit more about your new website and how you have responded to consumer needs and latest trends?

Our new sites present fresh immersive imagery, compelling stories and Interactive Maps.  User generated content is utilized to feature authentic experiences.  We’ve built in a personalization layer, which will re-format what’s served to a user, based on clicking behavior. The VisitTheUSA.com websites are built with a modular design, which enables us to turn features on or off - and to easily adjust the order of pages.  Filters enable relevant content to be more easily discovered. The sites are geo-targeted by language and country and accelerated through a content delivery network.

Brand USA has also worked on a new strategy. How is the new strategy embracing the seismic shift that is happening in digital?

The ability to reach potential travelers via digital, rather than traditional media has enabled brands to be more efficient.  The line between content and advertising has blurred, which means we must present authentic content that pays off with every click.

 How has global digital and content marketing trends impacted on the process of developing your new strategy and website? 

The global trend of mobile adoption – plus less time on-site and fewer pageviews per visit –- means capturing attention faster and delivering an interesting, entertaining experience.

Brand USA is a results-focused organisation. How is this impacting on the work you do across departments? 

Focus is always the key to success and metrics are necessary for measurement of that success.  This is just part of working in digital today.

In your opinion, what can other destinations learn from Brand USA having adapted your strategy to global digital and content marketing trends?

Researching trends and behavior  - then properly interpreting the result,  is vital to success.  It also helps to hire great people and work with smart agencies!

Why should DMOs not miss your talk at #DTTT Global? 

Because it will be the only presentation I do in Brussels this year. Plus, I tell great Dad jokes.  If that isn’t enough, you may actually learn how to most efficiently build your next cutting edge website.

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