EC’s New Marketing Tool

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

The dream kitchen. The perfect wedding dress. That batch of organic vanilla-blood orange marmalade you’ll someday get around to making.

Pinterest has become the go-to place for users to organize, or “pin” inspiring ideas from all over the Web to a home page. By January, Pinterest—part social network, part virtual bulletin board—had topped YouTube, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace for referrals, according to digital culture news site Mashable.

The folks at Experience Columbus have taken notice. Joe Vargo, interactive marketing strategist for Experience Columbus, first encountered the site via his wife, who “was spending hours and hours a day on it.” He soon realized it wasn’t just useful for planning his own vacation, but also for showing visitors things to do in Columbus.

“Travel is one of those things where it is sort of a product, but it is also an aspiration, and I think that’s where Pinterest really makes sense,” Vargo says. Pinterest’s core users (56 percent are ages 25-44; 80 percent are women, according to doubleclick, Google’s ad planner) are just the audience Experience Columbus is trying to reach.

“You see a lot of things about places people want to go, inspirational pictures, things like that, and I think with a destination like Columbus, we are that affordable aspiration for a lot of people,” Vargo says.

The site also provides a way for Experience Columbus to brag about its media coverage, including last summer’s visit by a group of food bloggers. “They produced some awesome content for us, just talking about how great the food scene is here. Pinterest gives us a way to kind of remarket those stories,” Vargo says.

Check the site out for yourself at

Reprinted from the March 2012 issue of Columbus C.E.O. Copyright © Columbus C.E.O.