You might not think a well-known Florida beach would need to do much marketing, especially during this cold winter of 2015.
But the professional tourism generators in St. Petersburg/Clearwater think otherwise.
For 2015, the team at Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC, part of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitor Bureau) has injected a healthy dose of creative street marketing.
They’ve launched a guerrilla marketing campaign to target young travelers in New York and Chicago.
Beginning in late January and continuing into February, hired crews built real snowmen around landmark New York City locales. The snowmen were outfitted with signs touting messages such as “Even I’ve had enough,” and “Get me outta here.”
The only identifier was the URL winterblows.com. That’s a landing page that directs visitors to a website titled liveamplified.com. The site has a contest for a free trip to St. Pete/Clearwater, plus info about vacationing in the area.
The marketing objective was to reach and engage a new group of potential visitors, according to VSPC’s Executive Director David Downing.
“We’ve done a marketing campaign in the New York for the last few years, but this year we wanted to take it to the next level,” he told the Tampa Bay Business Journal. “We asked, ‘Who are our future visitors?’ Millennials don’t like to be advertised to, so this is an engagement proposition.”
Downing elaborated on the guerilla marketing objectives in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
“Make no mistake, the over-arching bulk of this campaign is our beach and sun and brand messaging. The buses, the subway trains, the elevators.* We are not abandoning that. In effect, we have enhanced that.
This [snowmen – winterblows.com] is a second level. We thought it was time to take our message to a new level and start engaging a demographic we’ve never had a conversation with before.”
* Tactics in the base marketing plan include subway posters, screens in office-building elevators, coffee cup wrappers with witty phrases, and urban street panels.
Every business needs marketing, even a Florida beach during a brutal winter. Visit St. Pete/Clearwater created a clever guerrilla marketing program to target new millennial customers.
Harvey Chimoff is a marketing and business team leader who drives performance in consumer products and manufacturing companies.