It’s hard to believe that I’ve been at my job now for nearly six months. Wow. I’ve learned a lot and I continue to learn about the publishing and tourism industries, about what it means to be a state employee and work for the greater good, about how to effectively squeeze every last penny out of the 43rd largest state tourism budget in the country, and about my adopted state of Indiana.
One perk to being a state employee, specifically one working for the tourism office, is that I get to go on “field trips”. Well, they’re actually FAM (familiarization) trips, but Lindsay likes to call them “field trips”. Then she reminds me that she’s a teacher and she hasn’t even been on a field trip yet. So, anyway, field trips. Today I went down to Southern Indiana–Santa Claus, Indiana, in fact–for a regional marketing meeting at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, the world’s first theme park. It was a very cool place.
Growing up in Cincinnati, I went to King’s Island all the time, and KI definitely has more rides, but there was something special about Holiday World. For one, it’s a family-run business and it has been since it was started. The Koch’s have done such a great job of creating a family-oriented and fun theme park. And, since it’s just three hours from Indy, it’s not that much further than KI. It felt much more manageable and way more clean than KI and it just made me want to come back. It was quite a trip but I really enjoyed it, even though I left at 6:30 AM and spent about 6 1/2 hours in the car today.
In addition to today’s trip to Holiday World, our office has also done two other FAMs. One to Wayne and Henry counties (in East Central Indiana, right along I-70) and to Fair Oaks Farms (off I-65 about half-way between Indy and Chicago) and each of those have been really great too. It makes all the difference in the world when you can promote a product you’ve experienced. I could tell people how great a place Holiday World was, but since I had never been there (until today), I wouldn’t really have that true experience that I could relate to them. I wouldn’t be able to tell them a story…and that’s what people want now. They want a story. They want to emotionally connect with what you’re selling them.
I’m sure I’ve blogged about Lovemarks before, but I need to reiterate what a great book it is. Kevin Roberts really hits the new wave of marketing spot on. It’s truly about telling the consumer a story that engages them and creates a love in them for your product. In my case, this is the State of Indiana.
This is true for any state/city/region, but it impacts me when talking about Indiana. How many times have you heard someone say “There’s nothing to do in XXX”? It happens all the time in Indiana and it’s frustrating. There really is so much out there to do, wherever you live. You just need to know where to find it. That’s where I come in…
Not bad for my first post in a while. I’ll try to be back more frequently.