Fort Mill had enjoyed both success and failure through the years with local annual festivals operated by independent organizations; however, they never attracted more than a few thousand attendees and did not draw visitors from the larger regional market surrounding Fort Mill.
After a two-year break to reorganize, rebrand and revitalize the festival, town officials transformed the local event into the South Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2010. The town formed a marketing team to develop a comprehensive strategy to pursue new promotional opportunities, develop partnerships, and engage local businesses and organizations.
With greater regional appeal and revitalized activities, festival organizers marketed the four-day festival beyond the local Fort Mill-Rock Hill area to the major metropolitan market of Charlotte, NC.
The town began with a new festival website listing all of the festival events and contests. The site received more than 30,000 hits from all 50 states. Festival organizers connected with online visitors with a Strawberry Festival Facebook page. Friends of the festival participated in photo contests, received updates on the strawberry crop and learned more about the festival strawberry recipe contest.
The marketing team also used more traditional advertising tools to reach York County and the Charlotte metro area. Organizers relied on direct mail, billboards, display posters, brochures, festival merchandise, and newspaper, magazine, television and radio ads to spread awareness of the event.
Thanks to a comprehensive marketing plan, the festival has grown from a small community event into a major regional attraction drawing nearly 50,000 visitors.
Contact Joe Cronin at email@example.com or 803.547.2116.