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Strengthening Southern Vermont
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Strengthening Southern Vermont


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Strengthening Southern Vermont is a campaign to drive tourism, visitation and ultimately, economic vitality in the Windham and Bennington Counties.

Strengthening Southern Vermont is a campaign to drive tourism, visitation and ultimately, economic vitality in the Windham and Bennington Counties.

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  • If it’s not existing ties – it’s the VT experience, and the closeness to other locations/marketsYour top advantages are highly sought after by your audiences
  • It’s not just physical accessibility – it’s full access to the total VT experience
  • Resources are limited and attention of audiences is fragmentedSo a regional brand is imperativeSpeaking in one consistent voice can work exponentially harder than marketing $$$
  • Transcript

    • 1. Collaborative Marketing Program Vermont Travel Industry Conference, April 3, 2014
    • 2. 1. What we are doing 2. Why are we doing it 3. How we are doing it 4. What we have learned on the way 5. Our creative strategy – 6. What are we asking
    • 3. But first… grab your smart phone, and tell us about you
    • 4. Which celebrity does Steve Cook remind you most of?
    • 5. What part of Vermont are you from?
    • 6. What do you do professionally?
    • 7. How important is travel and tourism in Southern Vermont to your business?
    • 8. What We are Doing 1. Bringing the communities of Southern Vermont together 2. To tell a story 3. About a part of the state that has battled… • Division within its cities and towns • A love/hate relationship with visitors and outsiders • A devastating flood • Bad press
    • 9. What geography do we represent?
    • 10. Why We are Doing This Our hoteliers, attractions, restaurants, and cities and towns are: 2. Getting back on their feet 3. Worth knowing about 1. Proud
    • 11. What we hope to gain for the region 1. Increased awareness of the region 2. Click through to a regional website 3. Additional visitation to the region 4. Growth in the working population of the region
    • 12. How we will measure our success Ad impressions: Click through to website: Site Conversions: Email registration, newsletter sign up, travel guide requests 8,000,000 in year 1 15,000,000 per year 12,000 in year 1 (Total annual website traffic 36,000) 22,500 per year (Total annual website traffic 67,500) 240 in year 1 (Total annual site conversions 720) 450 per year (Total annual site conversions 1,350)
    • 13. How are we doing this?
    • 14. 1. We secured a grant to provide seed funding for Phase 1 marketing 1. Provide one on one business assistance recovery 2. Partner with the State of Vermont on an immediate short term marketing effort coordinated through the Southern Vermont Chambers 3. Develop a logo and marketing strategy and lay the foundation for a Southern Vermont marketing collaboration to Strengthen Southern Vermont’s tourism businesses and employers recruitment efforts As a result of economic recovery needs from Tropical Storm Irene - the Windham and Bennington Regional Planning Commissions secured a federal grant to:
    • 15. 2. We worked with private and public sector partners, all of whom want the same thing
    • 16. 3. We got to work •Internal •External •Competition •Insights Research •Audience(s) •Positioning •Benefits •USP Brand Strategy •Logo •Tagline •Messaging •Concepts Creative •Campaigns •Tactics •Timeline •Budgets Marketing Plan •Website •Advertising •Collateral •Events, etc. Execution
    • 17. What we learned along the way
    • 18. Mature demographic: Above average income: Employed full-time or retired/self-employed: Coming from: Most not traveling with children: Outdoors-y and adventurous: Current Audience
    • 19. Top Assets • Quality of life – a top driver for both business and workforce • Tourism assets (for both quality of life and visitor impact) • Access to local/state government • Higher education • Industry clusters – tourism, energy, agriculture, precision manufacturing, education, healthcare, and some biotech emerging • High speed internet/power costs at or below regional rates • Proximity to NYC, Boston, I-91 border
    • 20. Biggest Challenges to the Region • Workforce • Career opportunities • Recruiting Companies • State taxation rate • Isolated – access to cities via rail, airport (too remote) • Competition in neighboring regions • Historic resistance to growth • Closure of Vermont Yankee • No available properties (need businesses willing to build) • We focus a lot on tourism, but not enough on ED or things to sustain residents • Colleges – we don’t engage the students • We have an awareness issue – the jobs are here, we just need the people
    • 21. Opportunities to the Region • Broadband – huge implications • Ski areas – the marketing arm of our businesses • Higher ed – Education of existing talent – UVM is setting up programs in SoVT – 2 state colleges moving to downtown Brattleboro – Work with high-schools to prepare students, as well as colleges to build the talent pipeline locally • Tourism – Need the visitors for the businesses here – These visitors are the ones who have had the VT experience and move here to work or start a business – Events bring people here – one of our greatest recruiting tools is the Strolling of the Heifers! – The sales pitch for most employers is the lifestyle (and accessibility to Boston, NY, etc.) – The draw for many businesses is the association with the Vermont image
    • 22. Differentiators • We have a business counter-culture • Socially responsible companies (VBSR – largest in U.S.) • More employee-owned businesses per capita than anywhere else in the world • Owners are passionate about keeping their companies here
    • 23. Disadvantages • Diversity and volume of industry • Minimal manufacturing opportunities • VT income taxes • Lacks the offerings of bigger cities – hard to attract high-tech employees • Lack of security (not many alternative options if you lose your job or want to find something else) • Lack of affordable housing, high cost of living • No public transportation • Wages are not competitive • Lack of publicity about what opportunities are available • Not much to do for young professionals (and most live elsewhere)
    • 24. Visitors Friends/family The people Outdoor recreation Proximity to other locations and experiences The Vermont experience Own a vacation home The unique towns/villages Workforce Family ties The people Outdoor recreation Proximity to major markets The Vermont lifestyle Top drivers are consistent:
    • 25. A product labeled "Made in Vermont“…is worth 10 percent more than the same product made elsewhere. - Paul Greenberg, The Boston Globe Vermont-branded products command a "10-15 percent" premium in markets. - Glenn Ravdin, Brand Consultant My business is here because of the Vermont image association. - Thomas Moffitt, Commonwealth Dairy I wanted to live, work, and start a business in the Vermont counter-culture. - Paul Millman, Chroma Co-Founder
    • 26. “Southern Vermont offers the full Vermont experience.” “From one side of the region to the other, you can experience the full beauty of the state.” “Anyone can be a Vermonter…Vermont is a mindset.”
    • 27. The purpose of this brand: Bringing people here.
    • 28. Fierce independence and individual identities… But “we cannot market our small towns against bigger competitors.” The primary dynamics of the brand
    • 29. “So Vermont” Geography that drove our campaigns:
    • 30. Brand concept that drove our campaigns
    • 31. Insert girl in climbing the waterfall concept
    • 32. Insert Olga concept
    • 33. Outdoor and print advertising executions
    • 34. Road Block Digital Banner Ads Display advertising
    • 35. Facebook Feed Ad Facebook Column Ad Google PPC ad Facebook and Google PPC Advertising
    • 36. Website
    • 37. • Work with the state communications team to pitch story ideas that are centered in Southern Vermont. • Ensure that Southern Vermont is included in all available media FAM tours • Develop Southern Vermont pitch calendar Co-Op Public Relations Tactics for this campaign
    • 38. Marketing/Media Mix Photo Shoot 7% Campaign Launch Materials 3% Direct Marketing 3% Event Marketing 10% Website 10% Email Marketing and Blog 3% Digital and Content Advertising/Social Marketing 34% Print Advertising 7% Outdoor Advertising 17% Jobs Portal 3% Travel 3%
    • 39. Do you believe that a regional marketing approach is more or less effective in attracting visitors to the State?
    • 40. Do you think this campaign will drive visitation to Southern Vermont?
    • 41. What we are asking you: • Help us Strengthen Southern Vermont • By investing in our cooperative program • Alongside the State of Vermont Contact: Laura Sibilia Phone: 802-257-7731 x 217 Email:
    • 42. Questions