Evergreen focus group explores marketing strategies

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By Sandy Barnes

Developing a common “language” that speaks to residents and visitors surfaced as a possible strategy for promoting Evergreen during the Feb. 13 meeting of a community focus group.

“There’s a lack of common jargon,” said Ron Issacson, an Evergreen art developer and entrepreneur. “When I’m talking to people, the disconnect comes in.”

Issacson suggested developing a “cheat sheet” highlighting positive aspects of the community.

“This is how you can talk about Evergreen,” he said. 

“It’s important to know everything people do,” added Steve Sumner, director of the Center for the Arts.  “I think we are looking to encourage our own residents.” 

“I think Evergreen is the finest, most embedded community,” said resident Russ Campbell.

Campbell said that by marketing Evergreen as a premier community and also promoting nearby attractions, it could be established as a cornerstone.

“If you use the centerpiece as Evergreen, the possibilities are marvelous,” said Campbell, who has a professional background in marketing and town administration. “I’m frustrated that we’re not promoting Evergreen,” he remarked. 

“People need a reason to stay more than a couple of hours,” said Yvonne Newnan, a relatively new resident with marketing experience. “You have so much potential here.”

When she and her family first moved to Evergreen, the main thing she noticed was the lack of restaurants, Newnan said.

“The Evergreen community has restaurants with good and poor service,” remarked Scott Robson, executive director of the Evergreen Park and Recreation District.

Robson also said some problems need to be addressed, such as limited parking. 

Evergreen Lake, where people come to ice skate in the winter and boat in the summer, is an asset that can be marketed more strongly, he added.

“We can package it better,” Robson said.

“I recommend pitching in some dough and hiring an outside person to assess what’s going on,” said Carole Lomond, publisher of City and Mountain Views magazine.

In Golden an ad agency was hired, Lomond said. Golden has a visitor center, an “exciting” chamber of commerce and three museums, she noted.

“We’re at a disadvantage,” Lomond said. “There are people who come here to hide out.”

Lomond also said that heritage tourism is among the most profitable ways to draw visitors to a community. Using a combination of print and the Internet for promotional purposes could be an effective marketing strategy, she said.

“Our original goal was to develop pride in the community,” said Lin Browning, president of the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce. “It takes time to educate.”

“We’re looking at resources to use: Facebook, e-blasts … We are building momentum, have made some progress.”