This is an interview with Susan Estler, the Vice President of Marketing for the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Keeping consistent with our Optimism in PCB article series, we wanted to share with you some of the marketing genius that is behind putting Panama City Beach on the map. Susan has been with the PCB CVB almost as long as we’ve been blogging about Panama City Beach. We at PCBDaily have seen her help develop the marketing efforts from a tattered, inherited mess, to a decisive, calculated masterpiece. She’s done a great job with the CVB team and we’d like to offer her a warm welcome to the pages of PCBDaily.com.
J. How long have you been in marketing?
S. When I started selling crafts for a sidewalk stand in my neighborhood since I was 8.
J. What are some past accomplishments or accolades you have received in your field?
S. I attended Parsons School of Design in NYC. I have received numerous awards for my graphic design over the years and numerous awards for destination marketing. Some of those awards are Addy’s, Flaglers, given for marketing excellence by the Florida Commission on Tourism, HSMAI awards and others.
I was Addy Chair in Sarasota/Bradenton Area for several years, a member of the Florida Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau (FACVB) Board of Directors, Vice-Chair and Chair of the Advertising and Internet Committee for Visit Florida and am current Vice-Chair for the Promotions Committee with Visit Florida.
J. If you could explain the progression of PCB-awareness since you’ve been the Vice President of Marketing in three sentences how would you do it?
S. We have made some changes in our overall marketing program to meet the changes of the destination. Some of these have been in untraditional or new mediums that were not available several years ago. The use of immediate information and images has proved to be a challenge and an opportunity.
J. On average, what types of messaging on the PCB Facebook page have you found most engaging?
S. I love the dialog in general. Someone will throw out a question and an answer will come back from another fan, or many fans. The fact that we are at 125,000 fans and counting is just amazing! Mari will throw a topic out and it just goes. Both Hannah and Mari have done an excellent job in getting our Facebook to where it is today.
J. From a marketing perspective, what efforts do you believe have been the most effective in marketing Panama City Beach as a destination?
S. Certainly garnering year-round national and regional news attention for the airport opening and the destination in general would be a tremendous stride forward. Also, the launch of our new website and the momentum of our social marketing, namely Facebook, are pivotal in the promotion of Panama City Beach. Finally our branding—Real. Fun. Beach. It has legs!
J. What are some of the more controversial marketing campaigns you have run with the Panama City Beach CVB?
S. I wouldn’t say I have been involved in anything controversial during my tenure with the Panama City Beach CVB. Some decisions may generate dialog, but that is a good thing. Everything has been done with the best interests of the destination at heart.
J. If you had it all to do again over the last couple years, would you do anything different? And if so, what?
S. I would have spent more time in the community sooner getting to know the colorful, dynamic people in Panama City Beach.