It was marketing 101 during a Warren County Visitors Bureau planning session held at the Hampton Inn in North Warren on Thursday.
Representatives from more than 10 events from throughout the county participated in the session that was designed to "share a lot of information" and discuss strategies to overcome potential problems, according to WCVB President Cora Lee Wenzel.
David Brooks, the executive director of the Potter County Visitors Association, as well as the president of the board for the PA Wilds Marketing Corp. and the Pa. Route 6 Alliance, spoke to the group about marketing strategies and approaches to develop and grow their events.
He explained that one of the most important steps is developing broad goals that can be tracked over time. Part of the marketing process, he said, is to recognize who the perfect customer is for your event and taylor not only events but also efforts to communicate with those customers in relevant ways. To be able to more effectively monitor those efforts, Brooks cited internet-based advertising as a good option. "The beauty of that is that it is 100 percent trackable," he said.
Brooks added the importance of evaluating your return on investment as an event organizer, and suggested developing partnerships as a way of growing exposure at a reduced cost. "We'll give you our flyer, you give us ours. Let's work," he said as an example.
Each event organizer in attendance then explained their event, including dates, and a discussion commenced with tips and strategies each organizer might be able to utilize.
At the conclusion of the event, the WCVB offered a total of $5,000 in event sponsorships to the entities on hand.
WCVB Board member Karen Sobkowski said that "we require that you use the money to promote your event" to people outside the area. That means "50 miles and out," she said.
The Downtown Warren Partnership and CCC Statue Reunion were each awarded $1,000 and the Pa. State Fishing Tournament, Scandia VFD, Cherry Grove Old Home Community Day, Struthers Library Theatre, Johnny Appleseed Festival and the SGC Hometown Heroes Fund were each awarded $500.
Sobkowski asked that each of the entities provide copies of invoices to detail how the money was spent, per an agreement presented to each groups.
She said to the groups that the WCVB is "asking you to reach out" and bring people into Warren County.