Sure, big numbers in your marketing budget can help, but not everyone has that luxury. By numbers, I’m referring to your organization and those around you — peers in your industry, in your neighborhood, in your target market. By identifying others who share something in common with your business and creating opportunities to work together for your mutual benefit, everyone wins.
I recently had an opportunity to do some writing for a print publication promoting a Santa Rosa County, Fla., tourism program, the Beaches to Woodlands Tour. The Beaches to Woodlands Tour encompasses more than 40 events taking place across this Northwest Florida county along the Gulf Coast. It offers something for everyone — locals and tourists alike — every weekend in October. There are marine life encounters, running and cycling events, a golf tournament, hay rides and a corn maze, tiki carving, an automobile show, and dozens more activities. There is even a fox hunt (a subject of which I’d have no knowledge without the Beaches to Woodlands Tour).
Many of the events are fundraisers for local non-profit organizations. Individually they might not garner the publicity that a county-wide program with a concentrated marketing effort is able to achieve. Tour coordinator Karen Harrell does a great job of organizing and marketing the Tour for the Santa Rosa County Tourism Development Council. She utilizes traditional media, the Tour website and social media. You’ll find information here on Facebook, for example.
The organizations’ collective participation makes it a low-cost, high impact strategy to raise awareness for their individual businesses and events, while also promoting the diverse geography and cultural opportunities of the area.
So what does this mean for you? If you want to stretch your marketing and PR dollars, look for opportunities to come together with those around you. Businesses can join with other merchants nearby to lure current and potential customers to a special event. Your local Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development Council may offer these avenues. Conferences and festivals need vendors and sponsors, and they often provide an affordable way to get in front of your target customer base and showcase your organization alongside others in your community. If it’s a cause you’re advocating for, find others who share your position and team up to spread the message. Industry associations and lobbying groups do this daily on the federal and state levels. Whether it is sales you’re after or the hearts and minds of your stakeholders, you never have to go it alone.
How has your business or organization taken advantage of joint marketing or public relations opportunities? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.