Episode 150: Driving Curiosity Using Marketing Technologies, with Dan Janes


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Dan Janes is the CEO of Madden Media, a destination marketing agency focused on increasing tourism and workforce attraction for communities across the country. Like many in this industry, Dan comes from a unique background, having been a successful entrepreneur in a big data and analytics company and having served as an Army officer and West Point graduate.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Dan Janes of Madden Media about the evolving world of tourism marketing and his company’s activities related to inclusivity, marketing technology, and “schema disruption”.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Dan’s path from the Army to his position as CEO of destination marketing agency Madden Media
  • What makes Madden Media stand out in the competitive tourism marketing industry
  • How Madden Media creates curiosity in their consumers
  • Madden Media’s view of “schemas” and how their marketing disrupts those schemas and exposes consumers to new things
  • Madden Media’s destination marketing efforts in the inclusivity space
  • How Dan and his company evolve with the consumers in the area of marketing technology and websites
  • Madden Media’s approach to partnerships, planning, and cooperating on projects by adding more minds
The Winding, Weaving Path

Dan Janes’s goal as a young kid growing up in Nebraska was to get out of Nebraska and explore. He realized this goal when he bravely joined the United States Army. After graduating from West Point, Dan was exposed to outstanding leadership and teamwork while serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. When he returned home, Dan used his experience working with data in the Army to start his own successful data analytics firm. He got his MBA and began teaching at the University of Arizona before meeting Kevin Madden, the founder of Madden Media.

Kevin and Dan bonded over the future of marketing technology and the use of data in the field. Since then, Dan has taken on the role of CEO of Madden Media and has continuously strived to evolve the company with the changing face of the industry and the changing needs of its consumers. One of their biggest game-changing themes? The idea of schema disruption.

Schema disruption stems from the psychology concept of schemas, which are mental models and images of things based on our assumptions and experiences with them. Madden Media’s goal is to disrupt people’s preconceived notions of destinations by showcasing the best-kept secrets and best possible sides of all different locations. Dan offers up the example of West Virginia. While many think of the state as only coal mines and dirty smokestacks, it’s actually a vibrant and growing state with lots of natural beauty and appealing attractions for a variety of ages. Disrupting those schemas and biases creates one of tourism marketing’s most useful tools: curiosity.

Future Projects and Creating Curiosity

Madden Media continues to move forward and adapt as society evolves and the desires of the consumer change. One exciting way they’ve done this is through their focus on inclusivity in travel and destinations. Through its internal platforms Vacationist USA and Visit Gay USA, Madden Media displays popular destinations for the LGBTQ community alongside lesser-known destinations with similar characteristics and attractions. They also put destinations like Wyoming on the map for inclusivity by highlighting its status as the birthplace of women’s suffrage.

Madden Media creates curiosity and is always learning more about its clients through partnerships, data analysis, marketing technologies, and more. Possessing an agile management philosophy and flexibility in marketing approaches, Madden Media has delved into the deeper aspects of marketing technology, web development, search engine optimization, and so much more. Dan’s team and network of partnerships at Madden Media is a great example of creativity and co-opetition in action. The tourism market is only going to continue to evolve and change. It’s up to you to evolve with it!


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