KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) has launched Make It Main Street, a robust and targeted consumer marketing campaign that puts the spotlight on small, local businesses impacted by COVID-19 – a first for the organization.
The initiative highlights unique visitor experiences throughout the suburban county’s hundreds of local, family-owned businesses across dozens of small, quaint downtowns, and beyond.
The goal of the effort is to help the once vigorous hospitality industry bounce back by inspiring consumer behavior, invigorating economic recovery for a strong impact that benefits the entire region, driving results for tourism entities, and stimulating jobs.
The VFTCB has partnered with Montgomery County and the Commerce Department on the $300,000 project, which is being funding by the county through CARES Act monies, and will continue through the first quarter of 2021.
With the tagline, “Made Strong in Montco,” the project speaks to the fact that Montco was one of the first – and hardest hit – areas in the state by COVID, and the ripple effects of hundreds of canceled events, thousands of lost room nights, and jobs, hurt a lot of people.
Tourism is normally a key economic driver in Montco, contributing $1.65 billion in positive impact, and more than 20,000 jobs. This industry stimulates, and benefits, many businesses, towns, and communities right here in the third largest county in the Commonwealth.
However, while the tourism industry has been bent, it’s certainly not broken, and that tagline also signifies the strength and resiliency of these small, local businesses to endure hardship, and overcome adversity.
Also, despite its moniker, Main Street doesn’t just mean a business’s actual physical location, but rather a variety of businesses representing some of the county’s 80 hotels, retail stores and boutiques, 1,600 restaurants and cafes, 30 award-winning Montco Makers (breweries, wineries, and distilleries), and 200 arts and culture venues.
The VFTCB worked with 20/20 Visual Media to film multiple videos across the county. From Ambler to Pottstown, and everywhere in between, businesses have been working around the clock with limited resources, and new restrictions, to adjust their business models to stay afloat, while keeping employees, and customers safe.
The call to action in the video sends traffic to the webpage and the free Visit Valley Forge mobile app, where people can learn more on how to “Make It Local, Make It Main Street, Make It Montco.”
“Small, local businesses are the heart of the tourism and hospitality industry,” said Justine Garbarino, Director of Business Development. “Many of them have been there for us during some of the most important moments of our lives. Now, it’s our turn to be there for them. Sadly, some run the risk of having to permanently close their doors, forever changing the landscape of their towns, and communities. They need our help. This is about breathing life back into these places and entrepreneurs, investing in people, and supporting families.”
The VFTCB also worked with MayoSeitz Media on the marketing plan, Simpleview on the website design, and Geiger & Executive Promotions on t-shirts.
The aggressive media buy strategy includes cross-channel platforms through partnerships with data-driven leaders to reach potential visitors. The plan targets consumers, specifically families, living within 100 miles, or a three to four-hour drive from Montgomery County through various mediums:
- Broadcast/TV – CBS, CW Philly, and EffecTV (Comcast)
- Radio – Beasley Media Group (WXTU, BEN-FM, WMMR, 97.5 The Fanatic, and WMGK)
- Regional billboards
- Social media promotion/influencers
“When we choose to shop local, we support a friend, a neighbor, and our community as a whole,” said David Zellers, Jr., Director of Commerce. “One of the greatest strengths of Montgomery County is our incredible diversity of place represented throughout our Main Streets. Local businesses are part of the fabric of each community, and an indelible part of the authenticity that makes Montgomery County the place to live, work, learn, and invest. Now, more than ever, we want to be the champion for these businesses, and all of our communities. We need everyone to join us in this effort, and make supporting local business a part of your life through the end of this year, and in the year to come more than ever before.”
The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that actively promotes Valley Forge and Montgomery County, PA as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 500+ member hotels, restaurants, attractions, and services. The award-winning website links visitors, meeting planners, tour operators, and residents to a diverse portfolio of brands focused on reasons to visit the region.