The Treasure State has kicked off a review of its tourism marketing and communications efforts with an RFP process through October that includes its first search for a digital agency of record.

get lostThe Montana Office of Tourism is on the hunt for a single or multiple firms to tout the state as a year-round travel destination to national, regional and global audiences.

The office attracted unwanted national attention last year when a staffer from its agency of record, MercuryCSC, posted a message on the state's official tourism Facebook page, "F this job … Thanks for the good times MercuryCSC." While the staffer mistakenly though she posting on her private FV page, the incident led to the firm's loss of social media duties on the account. 

The review kicked off Sept. 11 covers marketing, PR and publications across paid, earned, social and owned media. That includes an overhaul of visitmt.com.

Fiscal year 2014 ad budget is $8.1M (including placement and all other costs), while PR agency fees are $300K on a PR budget of $500K, and social media is tagged at around $400K. Digital marketing is budgeted at $800K.

New York-based MMGY produced a usability study on its digital efforts last year while MercuryCSC has handled PR in recent years as well as the last overhaul of visitmt.com in 2008.

Montana lured 10.8M out-of-state visitors who registered a $3.3B economic impact last year. Its two national parks -- Yellowstone and Glacier – drew six out of 10 visitors.

The tourism office has implemented a restructuring intended to integrate its PR and marketing efforts that were previously "siloed." The work for review is broken down into two components. The first encompasses digital strategy, design and development. The second is the traditional brand strategy, PR, social media and creative work. Firms or teams of firms can pitch both components or a single unit.

The tourism office is funded by a tax on lodging in the state.

A one-year contract with options up to seven total years is expected. View the RFP (link).