This is the first time that two groups that should theoretically be competing against each other were nominated together because both are deploying very proactive marketing strategies to communicate the assets of Tama County outside the county with the goal of growing the economy by bringing dollars into our communities. Traer’s marketing portfolio includes programs like Traer Temptation Tuesdays and a KWWL-TV ad campaign. Dysart’s marketing portfolio includes programs like promotional booths at Home Shows in metro markets, sponsoring regional nonprofit functions as well as TV marketing campaigns. Remind me – what are the EDIES.
HOW WE GOT THE IDEA: With the support of the Dysart Development Corporation the Dysart Business Builders were able to bring local business people together. As businesses developed and grew there was both a need and desire for the customer base to expand. A goal was established by the Business Builders to attract customers to our businesses and services who lived outside of Dysart.
OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE: Working together to develop ideas and then follow through to promote a regional recognition that Dysart businesses and services existed.
HOW WE OVERCAME IT: The Dysart Business Builders communicate with each other. They share ideas, listen and make a commitment through their actions to work together. We did not do everything at the same time. Our strategy has grown. Success certainly helps and it began with the annual Iowa Wine and Beer Tasting Fall Festival. The Soiree in the City came next and then the Chocolate Walk two years ago. Each of these events brings people from a wide area of Iowa to Dysart and they are hosted in the local business buildings. This gives hundreds of people for each event the opportunity to see what Dysart businesses and services have to offer. The Dysart Business Builders work with the Dysart Development Corporation and the H.A.T. (Hospitality and Tour) Team at local and regional promotional booths. Television advertising through KCRG and KWWL is now part of the marketing strategy. Web sites, newspapers and the Tama County Economic Development Commission play important roles in marketing businesses and services in Dysart to a large region of Iowa.
ADVICE TO OTHERS: Communication is the key along with a commitment to follow through.
WHAT IS NEXT: Expanded marketing plans are in the development stage.
HOW THE TRAER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE DID IT: Traer Chamber of Commerce formed a new marketing team for businesses and the community, and explored new ideas for promoting ourselves. We were willing to try some new creative ideas, added to some established and popular promotions.
HOW WE GOT THE IDEA: Our Chamber has always been an active group, but we realized the need for more promotional ideas for the business community. We got a group together and started brainstorming ideas.
OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE: It’s a challenge to find time to work together on developing promotions, then following through on the work involved in those promotions, and communicating with each business.
HOW WE OVERCAME IT: We do try to communicate better with each other, using email for most contacts. We are communicating with customers throughout northeast Iowa by promoting ourselves on television commercials, and also by using social media outlets to promote ourselves. We are hosting several new promotional ideas, including being open some evenings, which we had not previously done, and trying some other new ideas.
ADVICE TO OTHERS: Together you are stronger! Communicate! Share ideas, share concerns, share advertising dollars.
WHAT IS NEXT: Several new ideas have been generated for 2012, and established promotions are being revisited for improvements.
Photo by Ellen Young [Russ Grimm, Dysart Business Builders, Wendy Barnes, Traer Chamber].