Case Study: San Diego Scottish Highland Games

The Client

Long-established, but wanting to break the plateau

The San Diego Scottish Highland Games are a Scottish cultural festival, founded in 1974. They had already been very well established and respected within their community, however, had been stuck on a plateau. In 2016 Thistle & Rose was contracted to first start by managing their website. By 2019, that role grew to handling their marketing, public relations, and digital/tech matters. The goals were to ultimately increase attendance, but in a way that would be sustainable for future years. In particular, this meant bringing in younger generations and more families.

The Process

Rooted by data, driven by passion

The first steps involved research and analysis. This involved creating a survey which was sent to newsletter subscribers, and followers of the client's Facebook page. From this, we were given a better understanding of who our customer is, what they enjoy, and where we can do better. Next came analysis and overhaul of the previous marketing methods and budget, as well as previous website & sales data.

From there, a strategy came to light, which has been all-encompassing: website rebuild, new graphic assets and branding, social media, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), paid ads (PPC), in person events, partnership building, securing $10,000/month in Google Ad Credit, and beyond.

Data reported from 2018-2022, Including Time Off From The Pandemic

Fiscal Responsibility

100% on budget, 100% of the time! With clearly outlined spending plan and documented records.

Diversified Approach

Built a well rounded marketing plan based on print, web, in-person, and broadcast media.

$120k Grant Award

Applied for and got organization approved for Google for Non-Profits, including $10,000/month in ad credit.

Doubled website Traffic

Increased average website page views from 93,131/year to 194,467/year with Google Analytics tracking.

155% Facebook Increase

Increased Facebook followers 155%, from 3,335 to 8,528, and mostly through organic (free) means.

Effective Facebook Ads

While the Facebook average for Cost Per Click (CPC) ads is $1.86, our campaigns were well below that at $0.21.

Skyrocketed Engagement

Increased engagement averages (things like "likes" and comments on Facebook Posts) from 42,233 actions/year to a whopping 212,797.

Ticket Sales

Marketing efforts contributed to revenue from Scottish Highland Games ticket sales increasing by 53%.

Beer & Spirits Sales Increase

Marketing efforts contributed to increase of whisky tasting revenue by 160%, and beer sales by 65%.

Doubled Festival Attendance

Estimated increase in attendance, from all sources, of 10,000 over the weekend, to 20,000.

Community Partnering

Established new partnerships with MLB team, local pubs & other businesses -- creating new events and brand exposure opportunities

Revenue Opportunities

Found other opportunities such as educational presentations, merchandise sales, and a fundraising partnership with the San Diego Padres.

Navigating the Covid-19 Pandemic

Effectively kept followers engaged during 3-year hiatus of in-person events. Found creative and innovative ways to offer digital content and virtual events.

Despite the lack of traditional activity, social media presence continued to increase, and even found a few opportunities to make revenue for the organization still.

Launched aggressive, and effective 2022 "resurgence" campaign, blowing previous numbers out of the water.