Debuted on October 2020, Make It Main Street campaign is a robust and targeted consumer marketing campaign that puts the spotlight on small, local businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Launched by the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB), the initiative highlights unique visitor experiences throughout the suburban county’s hundreds of local, family-owned businesses across dozens of small, quaint downtowns, and beyond.
The goal of the effort is to help the once vigorous hospitality industry bounce back by inspiring consumer behavior, invigorating economic recovery for a strong impact that benefits the entire region, driving results for tourism entities, and stimulating jobs.
The VFTCB has partnered with Montgomery County and the Commerce Department on the $300,000 project, which is being funding by the county through CARES Act monies.
With the tagline, “Made Strong in Montco,” the project speaks to the fact that Montco was one of the first – and hardest hit – areas in the state by COVID, and the ripple effects of hundreds of canceled events, thousands of lost room nights, and jobs, hurt a lot of people.
Tourism is normally a key economic driver in Montco, contributing $1.65 billion in positive impact, and more than 20,000 jobs. This industry stimulates, and benefits, many businesses, towns, and communities right here in the third largest county in the Commonwealth.
However, while the tourism industry has been bent, it’s certainly not broken, and that tagline also signifies the strength and resiliency of these small, local businesses to endure hardship, and overcome adversity.
Also, despite its moniker, Main Street doesn’t just mean a business’s actual physical location, but rather a variety of businesses representing some of the county’s 80 hotels, retail stores and boutiques, 1,600 restaurants and cafes, 30 award-winning Montco Makers (breweries, wineries, and distilleries), and 200 arts and culture venues.
The VFTCB worked with 20/20 Visual Media to film multiple videos across the county. From Ambler to Pottstown, and everywhere in between, businesses have been working around the clock with limited resources, and new restrictions, to adjust their business models to stay afloat, while keeping employees, and customers safe.
The call to action in the video sends traffic to the webpage and the free Visit Valley Forge mobile app, where people can learn more on how to “Make It Local, Make It Main Street, Make It Montco.”
The aggressive media buy strategy includes cross-channel platforms through partnerships with data-driven leaders to reach potential visitors. The plan targets consumers, specifically families, living within 100 miles, or a three to four-hour drive from Montgomery County through various mediums.
On January 2021, to provide continued support to the county’s business community, the local legislators updated an existing agreement with the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board by transferring $400,000 for the established Make It Main Street program.
The funding, which was covered by the county’s proceeds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, would provide for marketing and advertising expenses, according to the contract.