By Erica Bray
Mya Surrency’s job is a virtual merry-go-round of travel. Over the course of her career, she’s produced marketing programs and events for tourism boards across the country, inspiring people to travel to destinations as diverse as San Francisco, Park City and Tampa.
It’s a job that demands innovation and creativity. Unfortunately, the name of the marketing agency she co-founded — Smith & Surrency — didn’t quite capture this creative spirit.
“Whenever we told people that we were Smith & Surrency, they were like, ‘What is that? Is that a law firm?’” Surrency recalls. “It wasn’t clear who we were.”
Surrency founded the agency in 2011 with her colleague Shirley Smith. The pair previously had worked together at Visit Jacksonville, the tourism board for Jacksonville, Fla., where Surrency was the Vice President of Marketing and Smith was the Vice President of Sales. For obvious reasons, the name “Smith & Surrency” made sense at the birth of their new agency. But, within four years, the company had expanded to 10 employees. The name no longer felt inclusive and had lost luster with potential clients.
“We outgrew the name,” says Surrency.
So in 2015, the agency decided to pick a new name. The team wanted one that would immediately position it as an agency with a sharp expertise in digital marketing, web development and online media management.
The new name: Digital Edge.
The Digital Edge team hard at work. (Photo courtesy of Mya Surrency)
Surrency says the name gives them a “catchiness” and immediate “digital focus” that is attractive to destination marketing organizations, or DMOs, a travel industry community that includes tourism boards and visitor & convention bureaus.
DMOs represent a multibillion-dollar industry, and more and more of these budgets in recent years have shifted to digital marketing, as opposed to funding TV commercials, billboards and brochures. In fact, Indianapolis tourism group Visit Indy recently made industry headlines for allocating itsentire marketing budget to digital.
Hence the value of having “digital” in the agency’s new name, Digital Edge.
Along with this new company name, the team chose a unique URL that further positions them as a leader in the digital space: www.digitaledge.marketing.
“DigitalEdge.marketing made the most sense to our business, and our name,” says Surrency. “It was right to the point of the new brand of who we are, and .marketing is representative of what we do.”
That’s a ‘dot-marketing’ (.marketing), instead of a ‘dot-com’ (.com). It’s one of hundreds of new domain options available to help create a URL that is creative, memorable and meaningful. And it’s just another way the agency hopes to stands out with current and prospective clients, says Surrency.
The ‘DigitalEdge.marketing’ website.
The agency also secured URLs such as digitaledge.rocks, digitaledge.news and digitaledge.media — for future use and promotion of its services, blogs and accolades.
“We wanted to own those so that anything related to our brand in the future, we would have ownership of them already,” Surrency says of the strategy.
Strategic thinking extends to Digital Edge’s clients, as well. While marketing travel destinations might, at first, seem like all fun and games — travel is a serious business, with hundreds of destinations competing for valuable tourist dollars. Sophistication in marketing is key to capturing the attention of these tourists and inspiring them to book their flights, hotels and activities in a destination. Much of this activity has gravitated online, as that’s where people are researching and ultimately booking. Plus, a big bonus is that (nearly) everything is track-able and measurable.
Atop its digital-first approach with clients, what separates Digital Edge from many other agencies that service tourism boards is the background of its leaders: Both Surrency and Smith led a tourism board (Visit Jacksonville) and understand the challenges, opportunities and politics that come with marketing a destination.
“Typically, DMOs are short-staffed and have a lot of pressure to create these really big ideas and big concepts and campaigns with limited resources and lot of pressure to show results,” Surrency says. “That’s one of the benefits of my background and my business partner — we both worked for destination marketing organizations in the past. A lot of agencies don’t really have that skillset or background. ”
This nuanced understanding of their clients makes them a strong partner. And the agency’s knowledge of how to navigate the digital space is paying off for those they take on as clients.
For instance, Digital Edge crafted an online promotion for Amelia Island that’s become a big hit. The All Day Amelia quiz asks users 12 questions about what might comprise their “perfect day” on the Florida island. It provides a fun online experience, serving up beautiful photos of the destination with activity choices for each hour, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. To have a personalized itinerary delivered, the quiz taker enters his or her email at the end of the quiz — which has helped to increase the tourism board’s email marketing database. But the intelligence gathering doesn’t end there.
“On the backend, we’ve also saved all of their choices and selections,” explains Surrency. “That way, we can then re-market to them. ‘OK, this person is interested in outdoors and nature; this person is a spa person; this is more of an arts and culture lover.’ And then we can create digital campaigns to match those interests.”
Looking ahead, Surrency is excited to apply not-com domains for her clients’ online promotions and contests. Among the travel-specific options now available: ‘dot-guide'( .guide), ‘dot-vacations’ (.vacations) and ‘dot-tours’ (.tours).
“You could create some really cool and fun landing pages using something besides .com,” Surrency says.
As leaders in online marketing, Digital Edge recognizes the value in the not-com domain options transforming the Internet as we know it. After all, it was part of what allowed this team to successfully rebrand and better position itself as a digitally-savvy agency — all in the span of a URL.
Learn more about this business by visiting www.digitaledge.marketing.