Friday, December 6, 2013

Marketing Alliance plots its course

Organization plans to focus on 3 primary markets

Express Staff Writer

Leaders of the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance on Wednesday said reaching out to three primary target markets is its first priority for the winter season.
    “Our target markets for winter are the direct air markets of Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco,” Marketing Alliance President Arlene Schieven said in an annual meeting at The Community Library in Ketchum. “We will also have a portion of our budget go towards advertising in Powder magazine, and there will be no paid media presence in Boise.”
    Alliance Co-chair Marty Albertson hailed the approval last month of a 1 percent local option tax to support commercial air service in the valley. He said it will allow the Marketing Alliance to do a better job at bringing tourists to the Sun Valley area.
    “With the passage of the local option tax, the people of the Wood River Valley are overwhelmingly in favor of a strong marketing initiative,” Albertson said. “We now have the people, the tools and resources to make Sun Valley the preferred resort destination.”
    Albertson also talked about what limitations the organization is facing, and how it plans on tackling them.
    “We’re trying to determine the competitive differentiators from what sets Sun Valley [apart] from its competitors,” Albertson said. “If you look at the nature of what Sun Valley is and how it’s developed, we’re more of a boutique resort. We’re not a be-all-to-everyone resort. We have a unique set of competitive advantages, and it’s extremely important that in the markets we’re approaching that we create a brand for the Sun Valley resort that highly distinguishes it from our competitors.”
    Albertson said Sun Valley cannot compete with other resorts on simply a dollar-for-dollar level, but there are still other ways to set it apart from the competition.

 “We now have the people,
the tools and resources to make Sun Valley the preferred resort destination.”

Marty Albertson
SVMA co-chairman

   “We don’t have the same marketing budget or minimum-revenue-guarantee budget as everyone else,” he said. “We have a unique culture and our job is to distinguish ourselves. Once we put the brand differentiators of what sets us apart out here, then we can put the offering out there that now has a higher interest level to come out and experience what we have. It’s a very difficult approach and it’s an isolated strategy.”
    Schieven said Marketing Alliance membership has increased, with 304 members this year after having 242 last year. As of Wednesday, 171 members paid their dues; members have until the end of the month to pay.
    Public Relations and Social Media Director Greg Randolph told the audience about the organization’s plans to grow its social-media presence in order to drive traffic to the website.
    “We’re going to focus on creating and curating more content on social media,” he said. “Nobody spent in a larger sense on content creation, so now we’re trying to dedicate more of our budget to content creation. To get more people involved, we’re going to be working on creating more video, photography and blog content while taking a more formal approach. We’re going to use our social media increasingly to drive traffic back to”
    In terms of specific platforms, he said he would primarily focus on utilizing Facebook and Twitter because he sees those as the best platforms to put content in.
    Schieven said she would like to see the organization’s advisory committee have five members who represent the local economy. She hopes to have representatives from the lodging, retail and recreation, arts, restaurant and bar, and commercial business sector. All four members of the committee will be up for election next year, and are not sector-specific members.

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