After realizing the economy had regained some stability, business owners remembered to return to marketing, finding creative ways to promote their services and products.
Clever marketing first defines core values
Marketing needs to start internally, first, before one ever goes public with a message. And that impetus should come from the top.
A CEO or owner needs to know why the company exists — before he or she can share a core message, which goes far beyond a mission statement saying that Company XYZ intends to make the best widget or offer the best service on the planet. Anyone can say that.
Yet answer “why” the CEO and employees should be motivated to come to work, and then true marketing begins. In his book, “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” Simon Sinek wrote, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
Once a business owner understands the why, then he or she can share that enthusiasm and belief with colleagues and employees. They, in turn, can help with the marketing, once they embrace that message.
“Make sure that your staff are your biggest ambassadors and lead generators,” said Brittany Bermensolo, media and special events director for Red Energy Public Relations, Advertising & Events.
If your own employees aren’t sold on the future of your business — why should anyone else be?
“Most people get into business because it’s something they love to do,” said Dave Thomason, owner of Dave Thomason Marketing in Manitou Springs. “But if you want to stabilize or grow, you need to work on your business — not in it.”
Thomason’s specialty involves using “The Connecting Point”— a structured session with clients to facilitate branding by distilling ideas into a clear message for audiences and gatekeepers.
A restaurateur, for instance, may think he or she sells pizza.
“But what you’re really selling is time around the table with your family,” he said, which dramatically changes the messaging in ads, social media and marketing.
Ideally, a team should spend time together, before launching a business to answer core questions about the company and craft internal and external messages.
Morrison heads iManitou marketing
As the former Colorado insurance commissioner and mayor of Manitou Springs, Marcy Morrison is no stranger to tough jobs, and her current position is no exception.
She is CEO of iManitou, a multifaceted organization that combines the chamber of commerce, visitors bureau and economic development office for the city of Manitou Springs, a tourist town filled with opportunity – and these days, challenges.
It’s Morrison’s job to represent the business owners harmed by natural disasters — and market the town and keep the crowds coming.
In an interview with the Business Journal, Morrison spoke about Manitou’s past and future.
How did Manitou’s summer season shape up? How much effect did the flooding have on tourism overall?
“The summer season definitely started well. Our merchants saw an increase in visitors from last year and our hopes were definitely high. However, for the second straight summer Mother Nature dealt Manitou a tough hand, and the floods definitely took a toll on our visitor traffic. Manitou is a great day-trip for our neighbors in the Denver metro area and the Pikes Peak area and we rely on them to support our merchants and attractions. Denver media, especially TV, gave Manitou quite a bit of exposure during the July/August flooding, and that was both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the coverage demonstrated the severity and challenges that our community was, and is, continuing to face, but it also discouraged visitors.”
How have the city’s marketing efforts changed during the last two years? Are they likely to change moving forward?
“Manitou has and will continue to ramp up its marketing efforts. We are a jewel that is easy to access from both Highway 24 and Interstate 25. However, we acknowledge that Manitou competes with other communities throughout the state for in-state and out-of-state visitors who have a finite amount of time and resources and so make strategic choices about where to visit. iManitou recently contracted with a local PR agency to assist us in recovering from the flood/fire messages that have dominated the media. Because it is a local firm, they understand how important it is to our community that Manitou has strong fall and holiday seasons. In our crystal ball, we would like our city to be a year-round destination for both residents and visitors.”