Community Marketing Tactic


While out to dinner with the family, we ran across a ‘boat map’ which suggested we find the 30 boats in the city of St. Joseph. It’s a beautiful little town, trying it’s best to bring in tourists considering the rather large number of Lake Michigan harbor towns along Michigan’s west coast.

We decided it would be a great photo hunt for the boys and planned a day trip. I took my family for the afternoon and preceeded to located the boats marked on the map of downtown St. Joseph Michigan. I have included the photo link to Flickr.com

Boats 'n Beaches Hunt

http://www.flickr.com/photos/timrueb/sets/72157606401535328/

Not Bad – Could be better

As I was traversing the 8 block area the street art had been placed in this picturesque downtown, it occurred to me that this could have been planned out better. I’m sure the “Mommy, Mommy, we need to go to St. Joe and find all the boats” drove some families into the heart of the tourist town and thus into stores located near the displayed boats. But with a little more thought, we believe we could come up with some better ways to drive people into the stores.

Some Possible Variations:

  • Photo Scavenger Hunt – images would need to be posted on a campaign blog. No worries, a local photo store would help those that didn’t have the computer handy (in the photo store next to all the impulse items of course)
  • Best Community Fact – Each street art piece would require the contestant to find an interesting artifact or piece of knowledge about the art work or author or sponsor. Of course, there would be plenty of material in the shops near the street art work. Entries would be placed on the campaign BLOG.
  • Best Costume – contestants would dress up in something which complements the street art work and have their photos taken. The entries would be posted on the campaign BLOG. Bonus if you are using something purchased from the stores nearby. (not sure I like this one, but didn’t want to lose the thought)
  • Crossword Puzzle Drawing – Each week of the campaign, the contestants would be asked to find words on the street art plaques or displays and posters within the stores nearby the street art work to fill in a crossword puzzle. Persons submitting a correctly completed crossword would be entered into a drawing. A new drawing with a new set of words could be created each week, possibly around a theme or set of stores.
  • Stamp Collecting – contestants would collect a clue sheet and a stamp card from the city welcome center and search for street art based on the clues. Once found, they would enter the nearby shops to get stamped, thus showing they found the correct art item based on the stamp. Each week could be a different set of clues when a different set of winners.

We like the idea of using BLOGS in this case. People can post their submissions. The contest rules would state the ‘right to use’ of the city conducting the contest, which is important for future marketing materials. Who doesn’t have a digital camera, or who wouldn’t love to sell some cheap digitals in a tourist town.

Guerrilla Marketing at it’s best

Since the goal is to drive more visitors to your tourist town from the other nearby tourist towns, you are conducting a guerrilla campaign. Your ability to start or stop the campaigns are very flexible and have little or no overhead because the street art work is already being sponsored by local organizations or companies. With some minor adjustments to prizes and reach, you could push your campaigns into the other nearby towns with little or no cost.

It was a great time for our family and we actually did visit some stores. With a little more campaign effort, I bet we would have visited many more stores.

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  1. #1 by Todd Wright on July 29, 2008 - 10:53 am

    Tim – love the idea of the photo scavenger hunt. We have a large tourism event in Canberra – Australia called floriade (http://www.floriadeaustralia.com.au) and we were toying with the blog photo idea and also combining this with a youtube contest to get some cross platform promotions happening. Only stumbling block now is the fact that the government promotes the event and to date they are very guerilla about their approach to tourism marketing.

    Cheers,
    Todd

  2. #2 by Tim Rueb on July 29, 2008 - 11:16 am

    Todd, thanks for the reply. I understand the problem. The trick here would be to have the local shop owners come together and build on what is already planned by the tourism board. In this case, they would provide the prises and thus could also control the traffic with the scavenger hunt or the cross-word idea. Depending on the number of weeks, they would create weekly or monthly prize drawings and also make those special events in different establishments.

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