In 2013, a Downtown Vitalization Action Plan was put together and recommended attracting businesses and consumers to Downtown Cobourg. Although a number of initiatives have been completed (see links below) the marketing portion has been in preparation for over a year. The plan is going before council once again on November 13 with a request for the expenditure of $40K to be approved. The plan includes a large amount of research and facts – some of which was published November 10 on Cobourg News Blog here (Downtown Vacancies). It’s also clear what the objective is – to get more businesses in Downtown Cobourg. But although the Town, the Chamber of Commerce and the DBIA are united in their intent to work together towards this goal, there does not seem to be any magic bullet which will make this happen.
Based on surveys of the public and some data that supports the surveys, the effort will focus on attracting businesses in these categories:
- Supermarkets and other grocery stores
- Clothing accessories stores.
- Women’s clothing stores
- All other specialty food stores
- All other clothing stores
- Full service restaurant – with preference being a “mid-scale family restaurant”;
The idea is that some or all of these should make use of vacant properties as listed in the earlier post.
The following plan has an estimated cost of $39,600
Phase I – Preparation (2 months)
- A half day brainstorming session with all 3 partners to determine the focus and theme of the advertising campaign to be undertaken.
- Economic Development, Communications and DBIA staff will hire and coordinate the activities of a creative writer, photographer and videographer.
Phase II – Research (1 Month)
Internet research in two areas:
- On-line advertising venues and timelines
- Potential businesses to target for a second location in Cobourg.
Information gathered will be used to personally connect with potential target businesses.
Phase III – Implementation (6 Months)
Organizing and host an “Explore The Core” event, preparing client packages in both digital and print, commencing social media posts, completing the content and launching the web page, creating on-line ads through the services of a graphic designer and attending four trade shows.
Phase IV – Tracking Progress/Goals
Monthly progress reports will be provided to the Downtown Coalition and adjustments to the plan may be made.
Or to put it very succinctly, do some Internet Research, attend some Trade Shows and sell prospects on why they should come to set up business in Cobourg. Do this with a web site, social media and promotional graphics and videos.
The benefits of Cobourg will be promoted – these are seen to be:
- Small town atmosphere/streetscape
- Easy access
- Opportunities driven from tourism, walk-ins, close proximity to the beach
- Proximity to other services, including parking
Key marketing messages:
- Downtown Cobourg is known as the “gem of Lake Ontario” for its prime location on the lakeshore between Toronto and Kingston, and its beautiful waterfront.
- A consistent strategy, tone of voice and emotional content that will get prospective businesses to set up or relocate their business in Downtown Cobourg!
- Open a business in a vibrant, active downtown atmosphere with high sales opportunities, accessible parking and outstanding marketing support services.
- Downtown Cobourg has a dynamic approach to business with its prime location close to Lake Ontario between Toronto and Kingston, and 500 metres of pristine waterfront.
- Downtown Cobourg is home to a number of anchor businesses including multiple financial institutions, healthcare practices, restaurants and coffee shops that promote consumer traffic to this area.
- Downtown Cobourg is a four season tourism destination that attracts thousands of visitors each year looking to enjoy our local shops and services.
While most of us would agree with the objective, not all would agree that this plan will make any significant difference. It seems to be more of the same. I hope I’m wrong.
Update – Council approved this at their Committee of the Whole meeting on November 13.
Update 20 November 2017
This has now been fully approved at the regular council meeting.
- Download full plan
- Vitalization Update – 23 October 2017
- Yet Another Vitalization plan – 10 August 2017
- Downtown Marketing Plan – Take 2 – 3 December 2016
- Downtown Marketing Plan – 5 June 2016