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A Business Marketing Consortium?
June 13, 2013 - Ernest Hohmeyer
Do you want to help pull together a business development marketing message?
During this 6 part series we have discovered there exists bits and pieces and a slew of resources to help us pull one together.
We may need just to pull it together, develop a game plan and start one off – even if it is a pilot program. Of course the rub will be achieving consensus, establishing a working committee and developing a budget to implement it.
But we have the pieces and I believe a slew of fine organizations that could assist.
So how do we start?
I am not suggesting this is THE way to do it, but here is a conversation starter:
First, we must agree there is a need. Following along our journey these last several weeks it could go like this:
• Our Adirondack Park economy is made up of small independent “Mom & Pops.” They often do not have the resources both in time and money to take advantage of all the ways to get their name out.
• The Adirondack Park small business economy is competing with other regions that are often spearheaded by named properties that have a national and international marketing network.
• A growing customer segment is those seeking name brands.
• “Adirondack” is a world-wide recognized name that could be the foundation to a “product promise.” • Increasingly, marketing is becoming personal. Technology from cars to clothes to ordering food is making it possible to “customize” your purchase.
Our small businesses often built on servicing individual customer needs can be in a prime position to take advantage of this trend.
• Inc. Magazine in “How & Where to Make Money in 2013” talks about “Real stuff, made in the U.S.A.” is gaining in popularity – and feasibility. Adirondack made products should benefit by this.
• Inc. magazine also talks about the expanding interest in wellness and what better place than the Adirondacks with a rich history of “curing.”
• The green market. There is no doubt that the Adirondacks are a prime place to re-enforce this message.
Pull it Together
There is a host of efforts, organizations both within the region as well as national and international organizations that may be of assistance. These range on the international level from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to Audubon International. On the state and regional level there is Empire State Development, the regional councils and a slew of non-profit and community efforts.
The Ground Rules
Establishing ground rules will be important:
• An Adirondack Business Development marketing consortium may be an opportunity to move the discussion to the next level with an actual project – for all businesses not just tourism or craft based.
• First and foremost this is a marketing tool for small independent businesses to attract new customers. The goal is to create a “promise” that is recognized and is clearly understood what we stand for – and what we do not. The objective is to attract those customers who may want our personal and unique experience but have little frame of reference of what to expect.
This is where the rubber hits the road. To create a brand promise as Jim Anhut from the International Hotel Group described is to be “consistent.” He talked about the importance of a “strong vision that guides you” and “defines the brand vision.” The goal is to create a “…consistent guest experience in a clear framework…”
This does not have to be complicated and an initial framework to get started could simply be:
• Independently operated and • Adirondack owned • Employ local people • Use local products • Utilize sustainable practices • Etc.
These are just starting ideas. The beauty of this is that we do not have to re-invent the wheel. We can pick elements from diverse resources to mold the framework that “defines our vision.”
And if communities want to get involved these organizations have a host of programs for individual towns as well as those that want to create regional partnerships or “corridors.” They can help us establish “next generation solutions” to “gain a marketing advantage.”
We Have What They Want
Entrepreneur Magazine talks about how “…90% of the world’s digital information was produced over the last two years.” It is becoming more difficult for our small communities and smaller businesses to have our voices heard above the increasingly congested information highway.
In Entrepreneur magazine’s “The Balm of Trust” they talk about a growing trend where consumers are “simply seeking brands they can trust.” “It’s the emotional benefits that make you a brand and get you into people’s lives so they come back time and time again” according to Jim Joseph, branding expert and author of The Experience Effect for Small Business referenced by Entrepreneur.
Our independent small businesses are primed to earn the consumer’s trust as we can directly give that personable experience to the customer. Should We Try?
By working together can we attract these customers who really want our experience but may be hesitant because they may not know what to expect from us? Can this be a way for our individual messages to get above the internet chaos?
Perhaps the best way is to start small.
We may not have to re-invent the wheel.
Is there enough of us that want to try? Should we?
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