Early in 2016 the Scottish Borders town of Coldstream announced that it would host the 22nd Scottish Borders Walking Festival during the first week of September.
The Festival was organised by a team of experienced walkers and local community members, but there was no one on board with a marketing background.
I felt that the Festival offered Coldstream a good opportunity to market itself to an audience that would appreciate what Coldstream has to offer, with the potential of return visits. I offered my services to develop a promotional plan for the event.
Actions and Results
The first step was to draw up a marketing plan outlining the importance of communicating the event both internally and externally. I felt it was key to get the local community as engaged as possible with the event, especially the retailers and hospitality venues, spelling out the advantages of a well attended and supported event.
The plan was based on what could be achieved with absolute minimum expenditure, within the resources available.
- Local retailers were leafleted with information and requests to ‘dress their windows’ with a walking theme. They were then reminded of this nearer the event and many of the retailers responded by creating window displays.
- A promotional flyer was created to support the main brochure, the flyer was aimed at a more local audience. As was a local advert.
- A social media campaign was undertaken with the existing Twitter and Facebook accounts taken over and developed extensively, the followers and engagement in both cases massively increased. A small ad campaign ran on Facebook that pushed the followers to over 500.
- For the walkers I organised a gift bag to be handed over as they registered, supplied by a local business, Bordefields Rapeseed Oil, along with their product samples as a form of sponsorship. The gift bag also included a specially created information flyer listing the shops and local restaurants, as well as a specially designed Coldstream postcard, a festival T-shirt and key ring.
- During the Festival I uploaded images daily to Facebook and asked for walkers to post their pictures, there was great engagement and lots of positive comments.
The target for walk bookings was 500 and the Festival achieved over 600. The local community engaged and supported the events. The organisers were praised for running a very enjoyable event, and the visitors commented on the great atmosphere.
The money raised by hosting the event exceeded the expected amount and goes directly to benefit the Coldstream community.