Marketing Planning 101: Three Tips to Stay Open for Business

Dream Bend Yesterday, I was intrigued by the business headline story in my local Bend Bulletin. It said “Bend is Open for Business: City hopes to lure businesses with new campaign focusing on outdoor lifestyle.” As a conscious capitalist with a passion for work/life balance, I was inspired to read further.

Visit Bend, our well-intended local tourism promotion agency, just launched a marketing strategy to promote more in-migration and job growth by showcasing the active outdoor lifestyle this region offers. This is a noble effort, given the reported 14% regional unemployment rate and heavy dependency on room tax revenues to keep our economy on life support.

It sounded like a good idea at the time. Then the campaign details began to border on the absurd.

Top Ten Reasons Bend Here’s how: the Visit Bend PR team launched a Top Ten list of reasons why CEOs should relocate to Bend. One of the reasons was: “A good powder day is a perfectly acceptable excuse to miss work.”

Clearly I was hallucinating.

The Visit Bend campaign highlights what mistakes to avoid with your marketing planning…like belittling the work ethic in the midst of 14+% unemployment.

It also sends a strong warning to business owners who excel in one area, and choose to replicate those skills in a completely different market, expecting the same results. Although Visit Bend’s heart is in the right place, they clearly did not test their messaging with CEO’s who actually want to grow their business and attract dedicated, passionate employees.

The campaign will backfire and will perpetuate the casual lifestyle that Bend is best known to promote. For many residents, work is merely a way to earn enough money to pay for your annual ski pass. Tell that message to your private investors, venture capitalists, and family members who expect and deserve to eventually enjoy the fruits of their labor. This Top Ten list is a surefire strategy for business shrinkage and fosters a culture of mediocrity.

Watch my latest YouTube video to hear three essential things you can do to avoid these mistakes and stay open for business (5 minutes, 51 seconds).

Here’s my unsolicited advice to the Visit Bend marketing team. Get back to basics. Focus on your strengths: promoting tourism. And next time, ask a seasoned CEO how happy she will be about her relocation to Bend when half of their workforce does a “no show” on a good powder day.

This article originally appeared on

[Photos courtesy of Visit Bend]

Copyright 2010, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

Comments open: True

Related Posts

As marketing leaders, you know that a strong company culture cultivates a workforce of powerful brand advocates who enhance marketing efforts. What can marketing do to navigate the culture war that ensues in the face of increased M&A activity? Here are three rules of thumb to consider as you evaluate an M&A deal on the horizon, and when you are in the throes of a post-deal journey.

Read More

With the holidays approaching, it’s easy to let things slip. A cookie here, a late weeknight there. That extra shot of bourbon over dinner. Before you know it, ten pounds and ten percent more body fat surreptitiously appear.
Several of my clients have asked what life habits I’ve accumulated over the past decade—a decade that has proven to be transformational for me.
Without healthy leadership habits, I simply don’t know how I would have transitioned to a new home and adapted to living on my own for the first time in 30 years.
I sincerely hope you find solace and an extra shot of productivity from my list.

Read More