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Marketing Your Trail

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Presentation on "Marketing Your Trail" given at the CT Forest and Park Association's (CFPA) Winter Trail Workshop, February 2, 2014 by Carolyn Hughes of Intent Design Group. Uses examples from a …

Presentation on "Marketing Your Trail" given at the CT Forest and Park Association's (CFPA) Winter Trail Workshop, February 2, 2014 by Carolyn Hughes of Intent Design Group. Uses examples from a Marketing Plan developed for the State of Connecticut's four State Park Rail Trails.

Published in Marketing , Travel , Sports
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  • 1. Lyman Viaduct, Airline Trail South Marketing Your Trail CFPA Winter Trail Workshop February 1, 2014 Carolyn Hughes © 2014
  • 2. Marketing Your Trail Overview of Today’s Presentation ›  Pre-planning ›  Develop assessment your marketing plan ›  Implement ›  Measure ›  Review plan progress and revise plan ›  Examples: CT DEEP Trail Marketing Plan © Intent Design Group 2014 Bridge out; Farmington Canal Rail Trail
  • 3. Pre-planning Assessment Current Conditions? ›  On the trail itself ›  How is trail perceived? ›  Online research ›  Opinion survey ›  Big picture (statewide, regionally, nationally) ›  Within the local community Colchester Spur, Airline Trail South © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 4. Pre-Planning Assessment Current Conditions: On the trail Example: State Park Rail Trails Ø  Underutilized Ø  New users confused Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  where are trails? how to access them? Where does trail continue at road crossings? where am I on the trail right now? where to park? © Intent Design Group 2014 Where the heck is the trail? Road Crossing, Larkin State Park Trail
  • 5. Pre-Planning Assessment Current Conditions Big Picture ›  Economic ›  Demographic ›  Cultural ›  Technology ›  Political Wetland, Airline Trail North © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 6. Pre-planning Assessment Current Conditions: Big Picture Example: State Park Rail Trails Economic Ø  Ø  Ø  Economic engines Stay-cations Good gym alternative($$) Demographics Ø  Active Boomers retiring Cultural Ø  Ø  Ø  Eco-tourism Healthy living Alternate transportation networks Technological Ø  Ø  Ø  GPS Mobile Devices There’s an APP for that! © Intent Design Group 2014 Sometimes the best things in life really are free!
  • 7. Current Conditions: Big Picture How people Learn about Outdoor Recreation Opportunities Source: CT SCORP 2005-2010 Pre-planning Assessment
  • 8. Current Conditions: Big Picture Reasons why people don’t use recreation facilities Source: CT SCORP 2005-2010 Pre-planning Assessment
  • 9. Pre-planning Assessment Current Conditions: Locally Assessment: S.W.O.T. (brainstorming exercise) ›  Strengths ›  Weaknesses ›  Opportunities ›  Threats Lyman Viaduct, Airline Trail South © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 10. Pre-planning Assessment Current Conditions: Locally Examples: State Rail Trail S.W.O.T. Strengths ›  ›  Tremendous resource-all ages Attract people from all over the world Weaknesses ›  ›  Lack of visibility Lack of info, signs Opportunities ›  ›  ›  Parking Amenities linkages Threats ›  ›  Information kiosk/picnic area/trailhead Airline Trail North, Pomfret Illegal uses Insufficient funds for maintenance © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 11. Pre-planning Assessment Current Conditions: Locally What can people do on your trail? © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 12. Pre-planning Assessment Current Conditions: Locally What can people do on your trail? © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 13. Develop Your Plan Developing a Plan ›  What is your (geographic) market? ›  Who is your competition? ›  What is your audience? ›  What does your target audience need? © Intent Design Group 2014 Shooting a promotional video, Airline Trail North
  • 14. Develop Your Plan Geographic Market* Examples: State Park Rail Trails Airline Trail: Official Rail to Trail designation means this has a national and potentially global market Larkin Trail: Primarily in-state; also NY-CT-Mass for weekend getaways Moosup: Multi-state and regional; Part of National Heritage Corridor Hop River: in-state; pending links with Airline Trail will make it of broader interest *Will help determine how broadly you will need to advertise © Intent Design Group 2014 Airline Trail South, Colchester
  • 15. Develop Your Plan Audience Example: State Park Rail Trails State Residents Residents who live near trails—daily or weekly use year round. Can include teens and adults of varying fitness levels and activity types including those interested in handicap accessible outdoor recreation opportunities, and families with children State residents in general—as a destination for weekend or vacation use; may use only a short section of a trail at a time for day use. Whole-Trail Users: People interested in using the trail as the main route for their itinerary to knit together a rich experience taking advantage of historical and natural resources and cultural opportunities along the route. Day, weekend or longer excursions possible. © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 16. Develop Your Plan Audience Example: State Park Rail Trails Visitors from Out of State Tourists: Destination for weekend or vacation use, who may use only a short section of the trail for day use; Whole-Route Users: People interested in using the trail as the main route for their itinerary to knit together a rich experience taking advantage of historical and natural resources and cultural opportunities along the route. © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 17. Develop Your Plan Audience Needs Example: State Park Rail Trails All users 1.  Safe, clean, well maintained trails 2.  Adequate, identifiable parking with signage 3.  Information Kiosks, including trail map, who to call if there is a problem, information on nearest aid stations for help and other support services. Desirable Amenities 1.  Sanitary facilities, especially in areas that are far from services 2.  Benches at regular intervals to rest upon © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 18. Develop Your Plan Message Develop Marketing Messages Targeted to specific audiences Different audiences require different messages depending on: Age Ø  Physical fitness levels Ø  Family versus individuals Ø  Type of activity Ø  Length and type of trip they are interested in Ø  How much time they have to spend Ø  © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 19. Develop Your Plan A Brand is a Promise Branding consistent use of branding materials ›  Marketing NN AR statement O AC ›  Brand K ›  Clear, ECT ICUT E S TAT P messages This new logo will establish the look and feel for all State Park Rail Trail marketing materials. © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 20. Develop Your Plan A Brand is a Promise Sample Brand Statement Connecticut's State Park Rail Trails are: Ø  a network of multi-use trails for non-motorized recreational activities Ø  that link together diverse communities, Ø  providing endless opportunities for year-round use, Ø  whether it is a half hour walk or an intense training run, a halfday bike ride, or a leisurely weekend- or week-long tour from end to end, Ø  with plenty of stops along the way to savor all that the state has to offer. © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 21. Develop Your Plan Marketing Messages Developing Effective Messages Professional marketers conduct: ›  Extensive original market research ›  Focus Groups for each stage of process ›  A/B testing You can: ›  Test with your own employees, volunteers, friends who don't typically use trails ›  Adjust based on feedback before launching marketing efforts DEEP: ›  Showing rough cut of new promotional video as it evolves to whoever comes into the studio. About 20 - 30 people have seen it to date. ›  The reactions of early viewers are telling us we are achieving what we set out to do: promote the trail, inspire people to visit. © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 22. Develop Your Plan The Devil is in the Details Developing a plan ›  Goals ›  Objectives ›  Strategies—be sure to address the issues, challenges & opportunities identified in your pre-planning assessment View from Airline Trail © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 23. Develop Your Plan Goals and Objectives Example: State Park Rail Trails Goal Increase awareness and use of State Park Rail Trails; deliver high quality user experience. Objectives ›  Inform citizens how to find and safely use State Park Rail Trails. ›  Protect the environment in which state park rail trails are located ›  Inspire outdoor activity ›  Increase support for and encourage stewardship of state park rail trails © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 24. Develop Your Plan Objectives and Strategies Example: State Park Rail Trails Objective 1: ›  Inform citizens how to find and safely use State Park Rail Trails. Strategies ALL written and visual design elements; colors, ›  Branding: fonts, materials, etc…. ›  Mapping ›  Signage ›  Web Portal ›  Safety S.M.A.R.T. Specific~Measurable~Action-oriented~Realistic~Time-sensitive © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 25. Develop Your Plan Strategies Example: State Park Rail Trails Maps Ø  Printed Ø  Information kiosks at trail-heads Ø  Electronic/online Ø  APPs for trip planning; send to device Ø  QR codes to access info from trail Ø  Interactive kiosks © Intent Design Group 2014 Map/Kiosk, Airline Trail South
  • 26. Develop Your Plan Strategies Example: State Park Rail Trails Parking What to avoid--if at all possible © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 27. Develop Your Plan Strategies Example: State Park Rail Trails Signage Ø  Signage plan Ø  Avoid sign pollution © Intent Design Group 2014 Highly visible sign; shows allowable uses
  • 28. Develop Your Plan Strategies Examples: State Park Rail Trails Signage Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  Direct people from roads to trail Visible locational Signs Parking/No parking Map/information kiosk Gateway Trail etiquette Allowable uses What’s not allowed Mile markers Mileage from one access point to the next Pedestrian crossing From trail to nearby attractions Names of roads trails cross Interpretive educational Exercise stations © Intent Design Group 2014 Interpretive sign, Airline Trail South The Air Line Trail The Lyman Viaduct A Connecticut Greenway, State Linear Park and Multipurpose Trail for non-motorized users In 1912, in order to support the increased weight of more modern trains, the Lyman and Rapallo trestle bridges were filled to create the viaducts that still stand today. Highly visible; shows allowable uses Culverts were constructed beneath the bridges to carry the river's waters, and then hopper car after hopper car full of fine sand were pulled on to the structures and their contents dumped. Over 20 months, two massive ridges of sand were built up from the floor of the valleys until the iron bridges disappeared under the fill. When the iron work was covered, another foot of cinders was laid and compacted on to the surface of the fill to hold it in place. New tracks were then placed over the final layer. The iron work was covered on both viaducts until the early 1980s when a sewer line was laid along the route, exposing it for the first time in 70 years.
  • 29. Develop Your Plan Strategies Examples: State Park Rail Trails Website Ø  Maps Ø  Trail description Ø  Virtual tour Ø  Trip planning information Ø  Interactive tools Ø  Videos © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 30. Develop Your Plan Strategies Examples: State Park Rail Trails Web Portal Ø  Mix of large to small-scale maps Ø  Interactive tools (trip planning, audio tours, videos etc…) Ø  Up to date info on trail status/surfaces Ø  Trail news/events Ø  How to get involved Ø  Safety info Bridge out; Farmington Canal Rail Trail © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 31. Develop Your Plan Strategies Examples: State Park Rail Trails Media Outlets Ø  T.V./Radio Ø  Newspapers/magazines Ø  Books/guides Ø  Brochures Ø  Mail inserts Ø  Posters Ø  Social Media: Facebook, Pinterest, Blog, YouTube, local online news sites, etc… Ø  Community Centers Ø  Sporting goods stores Ø  Newsletters of affinity groups Farmington Canal Rail Trail © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 32. Develop Your Plan Strategies Social Media Ø  Research what outlets your target audiences use Ø  Start with only one or two outlets that make sense for your target market (e.g. Facebook, YouTube) Ø  Commit to your Social Media efforts; use it consistently. Ø  Create an annual Social Media marketing calendar. Ø  Ø  Ø  Ø  when will you advertise events? what seasonal changes will you highlight and when? what messages are most appropriate/needed and when? e.g. safety messages at the change of season, when various hunting seasons begin, etc… will you post about wildlife sightings? peak leaf viewing? salamander migration? © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 33. Develop Your Plan Strategies Social Media Ø  Map out your strategy. Ø  Stick to it. You won’t look professional if your page posts are 2 years old. Ø  If not using it, take it down. Ø  Better to do a few things well than try to be all things to all people. © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 34. Develop Your Plan Strategies Example: State Park Rail Trails Ø  Contests/competitions Ø  Adopt-a-spot Ø  Geo-caching Ø  Trail passport Ø  Events Ø  Collaboration © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 35. Develop Your Plan Strategies Examples: Various Trail Organizations ›  CFPA: Video series—Tales from the Trail and other promotional videos. ›  NET: Facebook page; virtual tour through Google Maps, artist in residence. ›  State Park Rail Trails: Beginning a series of marketing videos ›  ECG: Requires you to sign in to access cue sheets, then uses the email addresses to send an e-newsletter © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 36. Develop Your Plan Objectives and Strategies = the “What” How will it all get done? › Who? › When? › Where? › Funding source(s)? Be as specific as possible. Specific strategies are much more likely to get implemented than vague ones. © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 37. Measure Success Develop Your Plan How will you know you are making progress? Develop a set of metrics to help measure the success of your marketing efforts: Ø  Website hits Ø  # active volunteers Ø  # people attending events Ø  Media hits (traditional and “new” media) Ø  Survey responses Ø  # trail users Ø  Other? Include the measurement indicators in your written marketing plan. © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 38. Implementation Implement Your Plan © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 39. Marketing Your Trail Review/Revise Marketing Plans Every three to five years Ø  Quick review of what’s changed since the last plan Ø  New opportunities? Ø  New issues/challenges? Ø  New communications/marketing tools available Ø  New partners © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 40. Thank you! Happy Trails! Hop River State Park Trail © Intent Design Group 2014
  • 41. Thank You! Need help? Contact us about developing your marketing plan or any of your other planning and communications needs Strategy ~ Facilitation ~ Branding ~ Design ~ Content Website: www.intentdesigngroup.com Email: carolyn@intentdesigngroup.com Look for us on Facebook! © Intent Design Group 2014