“It is critical that the michigan.org website echoes to the emotional appeal of the Pure Michigan advertising campaign, while offering visitors the tools to move from inspiration to execution and plan a trip to Michigan,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan. “This michigan.org redesign will play a key role in our continued efforts to drive awareness and grow the number of visitors to our state.”
This is the opening line to the RFP for a new website for Michigan.Org. And I wholeheartedly agree. It’s a fact that the Pure Michigan campaign has been one of the most successful tourism campaigns ever. The breathtaking seasonal imagery…..the trustworthy Michigan Man (Tim Allen) voice, describing all that awaits you…..It’s pure genius. We as an audience are emotionally compelled to spend our vacation budgets on changing colors and cider mills; on bed and breakfast getaways with perfect powdery ski slopes….. We are compelled to visit Michigan if we are from out of state, and staycation in Michigan if we are residents.
But what if all that perfectly packaged marketing didn’t have Michigan’s back? What if I told you that the michigan.org website was going to be redesigned and built by a company in another state? What if I told you it was going to be outsourced to India? Would you care? Would it bother you that the entire premise of the Pure Michigan campaign is flawed?? Come visit us in Michigan, spend your hard earned money here on our tourist attractions and experiences, while we ship the creation of everything that emotionally compelled you to visit straight out of here. Does it emotionally compel you now??
Local businesses thrive when their own communities support them. Michigan economy thrives when we keep jobs and business spending here. There are countless web design and development firms in Michigan. Some of them big and some of them small. There are no shortage of options here in the mitten state. Yet for some reason, michigan.org has released a public request for proposal available not just to local companies, but to out of state companies and out of country companies alike.
Why would they do that you might ask? Isn’t it just good sense to keep Pure Michigan IN Michigan?? We can take a guess as to the why. It’s not a talent scarcity in Michigan. It’s a matter of money. Web design and development gets outsourced to out-of-state vendors and companies in India every day, just like plenty of work everywhere. The rub here is that of all the things to keep IN Michigan….of all the projects and jobs you effect with this campaign….you are going to even CONSIDER an outside vendor?? Have Michigan business’ back! Close the opportunity for Michigan based web shops to be overlooked and undercut by companies where the Michigan dollar goes further (see India). Give a Michigan creative talent the chance to convey who Michigan really is through your online presence without having to undervalue themselves because they can’t compete with outsourced labor. Support the very place that you are selling!!!
I challenge Michigan.org to show just how Pure Michigan they really are. Put your money right where your mouth is. Choose from the many talented web companies in this state to help you tell the story of Michigan. Be. Pure. Michigan.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Visual Compass. Visual Compass has declined to submit a response to the Pure Michigan RFP.