The Grow North project continues to brand and market five counties in northern Wisconsin with the help of a $39,550 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant from the Department of Tourism. Presented by Regional Tourism Specialist Sarah Pischer, this Year-2 Destination Marketing grant will implement a marketing strategy based on research uncovered from the Year-1 grant for $39,550.
Oneida, Vilas, Langlade, Lincoln, and Forest Counties have all banded under “The Northwoods of Wisconsin” brand, with an estimated economic impact of $6.65 million for the five-county region from traveler spending at area hotels, restaurants and stores.
“We’re thrilled with the outstanding collaboration among these five counties to build a lasting brand for their area in the minds of travelers,” said Secretary Stephanie Klett. “This is the perfect opportunity for the area to market its strengths, including the abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities, charming small towns and exceptional hospitality. By developing and marketing a brand based on strong research, they’re poised to attract more travelers to the area which will result in positive economic impact for the area.”
The Year-1 marketing grant allowed the Grow North project to identify their brand, “The Northwoods of Wisconsin,” based on research including business, lodging, and visitor surveys, and strategic planning. In addition, an interactive mobile phone App was developed that allows travelers to take a quiz to determine what their Northwoods personality is. The results of the quiz feature corresponding itineraries with suggestions of things to do, and where to eat and stay. Year-2 of the project focuses on implanting the brand in target markets, specifically the St. Paul/Minneapolis area. Marketing efforts include website development, online and social media advertising, and email marketing. All marketing efforts are being tracked with the goal of driving travelers to their website, thenorthwoodsofwisconsin.com.
In fiscal year 2012, the Department funded 53 Joint Effort Marketing projects, awarding a total of nearly $1.2 million dollars. Visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects will exceed $20 million.
“It has been the vision of several tourism leaders in the five counties to see this effort become a reality”, said Diane Geis Hapka, Oneida County Tourism President. “We realize our visitors are very savvy and look for many experiences when traveling. By pooling resources and promoting the variety of things to do in The Northwoods of Wisconsin, we can attract from a larger pool of potential travelers to the region. It is a Win-Win for all of us.”
JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund up to 75 percent of a project’s first-year advertising and marketing costs, and provide support for second- and third-year projects with decreasing amounts for funding until projects become self-sustaining. For information on the JEM Program and application materials, visit industry.travelwisconsin.com.
The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest’s premier travel destination by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at travelwisconsin.com.