Boats, Inner Tubes, and Flip Flops! Oh my!

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This summer we could see a record number of visitors to our area. The Colorado River continues to offer a reprieve from not only the triple digit temperatures, but also the traffic-jammed roadways and pollution-filled skies of the big city. The task of continually attracting an increasing number of visitors to the Parker area will only be assisted by a slowly, but steadily growing economy. This helps to instill a sense of confidence in the consumer base which in turn promotes an increase in interest to spend money. Thanks to warmer than usual temperatures over the past few weeks we have already seen a steady flux of visitors to the refreshing waters of the Colorado River here in the Parker area. We now more than ever have something to offer eager-to-travel individuals and families. However, we cannot simply rely on consumer confidence to grow our tourism industry. We must be proactive and educated in our approach to win the attention of potential visitors.

How is it Done?

Your mission, should you accept it, is to increase the number of visitors to the area and do so in the most cost effective and productive manner as possible.

What do you do?
What tools do you use?
Which methods are the most effective and efficient?

“ADVERTISE” is the simplest answer, but in today’s world that falls short of what it takes to grab the attention from an ever changing dynamic of consumers. An approach that includes the use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Vine, etc.), AND traditional media (newspaper, radio, billboard, etc.) is not only needed, but is required in today’s world. Our market can’t afford to let any potential consumers slip through the cracks. If an individual has any type of watercraft or just simply enjoys the on-the-water lifestyle, they need to know about Parker, Arizona. This is accomplished through broad-spectrum advertising.

Local Radio & TV Application

We need to properly use studio on-air visits and the individual radio station’s public service programming responsibilities to their local communities. Locally we have two radio stations that have on-air community calendars which have been used to highlight upcoming events in the community. One of these stations, KLPZ 1380am, continues to be an excellent source for educating and informing the public regarding events, workshops, and other resources available to not only the community, but also the entire region. Informing the public LIVE and on-air is immeasurably valuable and we’re grateful for this ability at KLPZ. Another excellent source of promotion within our community is Arizona Western College. The ITN and TV Services at the Parker campus includes a professional studio that can be used for the broadcast of community related events and activities of interest. These informative shows are recorded and made available to viewers on the AWC-TV channel. Using both television and radio will maximize our exposure in both the area and region. I’m fortunate to have over 10 years experience working in radio, including the past two and a half years at the aforementioned station. I bring with me to this tourism position ample experience in ad writing and business marketing. Today’s consumer wants more than just information. They want that information delivered in a creative and entertaining manner. Most successful marketing campaigns use this approach. I plan on not only continuing the creative mindset that currently exists among the Chamber of Commerce/Tourism office, but also bring it to a completely new level.

Social Media Integration

With an ever increasing number of platforms, Social Media is becoming just as diluted as print media has already become. The question isn’t “Does Social Media work?” it should be, “Which social media platform is the best for the marketing goals we have as an organization?”
Social Media covers a very wide spectrum of individuals. Some are an excellent source for networking, while others are more designed for promotion. The key to using Social Media effectively is not only knowing what works in the immediate area, but also knowing what platforms work in your target areas. Take our community of Parker as an example; the average person/business here uses Facebook either personally or for business promotion. However, Twitter is not widely used in our market. In fact, market studies have shown that Twitter is a much more widely used platform in metropolitan areas than rural ones. Knowing this information we now must prioritize and maximize our use of Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube have now been linked in order to efficiently promote events and information in the Tourism office.

Campaigns and Marketing Approach

When it comes to drawing crowds to the river, our annual tube float is number one. Unlike other large events, such as the Parker 425, the Tube Float is 100% promoted by the community, more specifically the Tourism and Chamber offices. We do not have the financial backing of large corporations who pour millions upon millions of dollars into marketing, but just because we don’t have deep pockets doesn’t mean we can’t effectively promote our product.

I have begun creating a series of marketing videos that highlight the 37th Annual Parker Tube Float. These videos will focus on various aspects of the tube float, from registration and safety tips to must-know information regarding proper tube float etiquette. These videos will be posted and shared on both Tourism and Chamber social network platforms. This past week I produced a video titled “Tube Float teaser” that was designed to be a “teaser” preview of this summer’s biggest event. As of this morning we’ve had 27,376 individuals see the post in their personal Newsfeed. This has been accomplished by using the “Boost” option that Facebook offers. When you Boost either an ad or a post on your page Facebook allows you to select which regions your event will be promoted to. Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, and Lake Havasu City; these are all important markets for our area events, especially for the Tube Float. It also allows us to receive current info regarding our effectiveness.

According to the information provided by Facebook (above), our efforts have effectively reached the Male 35-44 demographic the greatest, followed by the female 45-64 demographic. This helps us in many ways to know what works marketing-wise for our target audiences.

These tools will continue to be used not only for the Parker Tube Float, but for any event that seeks to attract large numbers of visitors to the Parker area.

Things to Come

Along with the online videos that are currently being produced I am creating a radio ad campaign that will be airing on our local stations. These sixty second ads will be an entertaining and humorous, yet informative marketing approach to help meet my goal of taking a much broader approach to marketing in the Tourism office.

I am excited to be in a position where I can play a key role in the exposure of this amazing area that we are fortunate to call home.

Let’s take things to the next level.

Josh Savino

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