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A New Dawn for the Tri-lakes?
January 20, 2012 - Ernest Hohmeyer
There appears to be a new dawn awakening in the Tri-lakes.
Each of our communities has been working on new projects. Each community should be proud of what it has accomplished.
Each community has its own position of strength.
When you feel strong – it’s a great time to work together. You feel you have something to contribute.
Can you imagine if we combined all of our new and historic resources as a Tri-lakes region? From the new trails in Wilmington, Whiteface Mountain, the sports center in Lake Placid, Tupper Lake revitalization, the Wild Center, Paul Smiths VIC, the arts in Saranac Lake – we would truly be the capital of the Adirondacks. Think of the 4 season packages we could offer: from hiking, biking, canoeing, skiing, lodging and dining. We could keep folks in the Tri-lakes for the whole month and they could not possibly do everything there is to do. The best is that there is such a diverse variety from the fitness buff to the family.
Some would say the projects in Tupper Lake whether it is the railroad or the Adirondack Club & Resort will never work. That Saranac Lake has no “big projects” and will be merely the “spill over town.”
Regardless of what anyone might think of these individual projects, there is an overall momentum in all of our communities and a great time to work together – to finally flex our commerce and tourism muscle.
To do so we may need to break old historic habits of doing business. Is it time to create a Tri-lakes partnership?
Sometimes the worst thing in life is vacillating with a decision – and never making one.
Once, you lay out your big dream, it’s really important to start to shape it.
Each step of the way on a good plan you begin to narrow down your objectives.
From a Dream....
Vision The Needs You Will Satisfy
Key Products & Services How will You Satisfy those Needs
Marketing Who is Your Target Audience? How will you get to them?
Operation How Will You Deliver?
....to making $$$
Likewise a good marketing plan – whether it is for the region or our organizations - should follow the same big dream to pointed financial return.
A Marketing Vision....
Satisfy a Need: “Activity in the Shoulder Season” Dream Big
Key Products/Services What will it take to draw People? What activities?
Marketing Who are we trying to draw? How? Where are they?
Operation How to Conduct Event?
.... From marketing plan to $$$
Time to think like Royalty? Working through promotion however on a local level does not seem to follow this same course or pointed conclusion.
The pyramid is reversed.
Your idea for an event seems like an end result not the beginning. In fact, by the time you go through the marketing pyramid you probably have forgotten who your event was targeting.
From an Event Marketing idea...
You begin with Local Markets....
Multiple Newspapers Online print Radio stations Multiple Event Calendars Local civic and municipal groups Local Social Media Fliers Web site Links
Then you target the region or Day Trippers Market....
Typically up to 2 hrs away Now multiply the above by each community you wish to reach: Syracuse, Watertown, Plattsburgh, etc.
And then the Visitor Market.... Repeat all the above again. This time add visitor marketing venues including local, county, regional, and state as well as customer social media channels
Each time you expand your marketing circle you expand the layers of marketing "hoops."
Yes, I know, we cannot control this entire marketing pyramid. But can we make it easier for small businesses? Besides money, what seems to be just as deadly is time and expertise in understanding today’s marketing jungle.
To get through this jungle we may need to work together. While we have great projects, we have little money and often not a dedicated marketing person. We need to buy expertise today not just brochures or someone to simply answer the phone.
Right now we all seem to be buying bits and pieces. There are too many who have an administrator or bookkeeper that is also their ‘marketing person,” multiple dues to organizations that have no marketing money and businesses that are struggling to figure out the marketing jungle.
We pay for a new web site and may think that is all there is to do. There may be inadequate thought on what to do with it or being proactive. We need to consider how we will go after folks to visit our web site. To follow-up and do what it takes to get more than “hits” but actual sales.
Small Marketing Steps Can this growing Tri-lakes energy result in taking these marketing bits and pieces and create something worthy of our destination capability?
Can we take at least small steps for our small businesses trying to take advantage of this local energy?
1. One regional master calendar instead of multiple ones all with their own criteria?
2. A marketing center where all the various marketing entities that cover our area can meet including local business groups, chambers, local government, county and regional tourism entities?
3. Co-op Marketing
4. Develop a marketing handbook to assist small businesses and event organizers?
5. Begin to develop an identity as a tourism destination region?
There is a marketing group that has been meeting since the fall.
It is not new group.
It is a stakeholder’s group is meant to bring all the marketing partners together into one room and help with this cumbersome marketing jungle. Partners include local government, the 2 counties, ROOST, the chamber and businesses. Each meeting starts with the latest in marketing trends and then how we can work together. Current ideas range from a Tri-lakes master calendar to co-op marketing to a marketing handbook. We are not governed by borders just an interest in regional marketing.
You’re invited. The next meeting is Wednesday, January 25th 3PM at the Saranac Lake Free Library.
We don’t know where this may lead. It will be contingent upon who participates. If we ever decide to market ourselves beyond borders – well, watch out.
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