For Immediate Release: Nov. 9, 2016
Contact: Mary Cohen – (802) 773-2747
RFP issued for regional marketing plan
Organizations looking to rebrand the greater-Rutland region and put to bed myths about a lack of local jobs today issued a request for proposals for a digital marketing campaign unlike any contemplated in Rutland County before.
With funds donated by more than a dozen local businesses, communities and organizations, the campaign will have three key focuses – population growth; improved tourism marketing; and an intensive effort to retain more local students and young professionals.
“The greater Rutland region has seen dramatic improvements in quality of life, business growth, unemployment and collaboration in recent years, and we have an incredible opportunity to rebrand the region to appeal to young families, outdoor enthusiasts and our own students,” said Mary Ann Goulette and Steve Costello, who co-chair the committee that issued the RFP. “With more than $200,000 donated and pledged so far and others voicing interest in supporting this effort, the marketing initiative will have a significant, positive impact and help continue the progress of the past few years.”
The effort is a collaboration of Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, Rutland Economic Development Corp., Rutland Redevelopment Authority, the Downtown Rutland Partnership, Killington-Pico Area Association, and Killington Resort. Funding has come from those organizations, the City of Rutland, and Carpenter and Costin, Casella, Foley Family of Businesses, Green Mountain Power, Heritage Family Credit Union, The Mountain Times, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Castleton University, VELCO and Russell Construction Services. REDC and RRCC are also reaching out to communities across the region to solicit their support.
Stopping and reversing Rutland County’s population declines is critical to the economic health of the state and the Rutland/Killington region and is at the heart of the effort. While Rutland City and the region have made significant strides toward revitalization, growing our population and visitation are vital to the region’s future, organizers said.
The RFP issued today seeks a detailed marketing plan focused in large part on rebuilding the regional population to fill existing and new jobs that are created, and destroying the myth that no jobs are available. Unemployment is at about 3.5 percent in the region, a level most economists consider to be full employment. REDC Executive Director Lyle Jepson said lack of qualified employees is the number one challenge voiced by local business owners and managers.
“For our economy to prosper and employers to grow, it is imperative that we draw new people to the region, and destroy the myth that there are no jobs,” Jepson said. “We offer an amazing quality of life, low-cost housing and world-class outdoor recreation opportunities, and we need to make that known to a broad audience, both locally and regionally.”
“We envision a fundamental shift in focus, in how we talk about the region and how we spend limited marketing dollars,’ RRCC Executive Director Mary Cohen said. “The plan includes a new primary audience, new messaging and a targeted, well-financed campaign, including a central focus on digital marketing, to attract an attractive, mobile audience: Young professionals living in the northeast.”
The focus on outdoor recreation will be on the Killington Valley, and will demonstrate the wide variety of opportunities, including skiing, mountain biking, hiking and fishing across the county.
“In addition to seeking people interested in a weekend visit or a weeklong getaway, we will seek people who want a completely new way of life – a lifestyle where work, fun and family are in better balance than in the big cities a short drive away,” said Mike Coppinger, executive director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership.
“We envision a hip, fun series of campaigns produced by top-notch professionals – something different than anything produced in Vermont until now,” said Brennan Duffy, executive director of the RRA.
Creative agencies have about three weeks to submit questions about the RFP, with proposals due Dec. 21. Anyone with questions may email Cohen at email@example.com or call (802) 773-2747.