I talked about this briefly last month, but I wanted to go into more detail here.
Angie Morelock, the Downtown Director for Downtown Fremont, Inc. in Fremont, Ohio, has wanted to bring a group of business owners to my 2 ½ day Destination Business BootCamp for years. She’s applied for grants to help fund the trip, but the grants never materialized.
But towards the end of last year, Michelle McGovern, the Marketing Director for the Croghan Colonial Bank called me, and we talked about the value of bringing a group of business owners to the BootCamp. Michelle’s bank office is located in downtown Fremont, and she was considering using part of her bank’s marketing funds to sponsor a group of business owners to attend my 2010 Destination BootCamp. I told her about cities that had sent groups of business owners, like Hanford, California (that sent their first group in 2009); Rockwall, Texas (that had sent 2 groups), and Lafayette, Indiana (which has sent 3 groups of businesses over the years). We’ve had groups attend from small cities, like Arkansas City, Kansas; Skowhegan, Maine; and Worland, Wyoming, and from large cities like Seattle, Washington.
You might wonder why communities keep sponsoring and paying for independent business owners to attend a workshop that will improve their businesses? It is because when those businesses improve, their improvements impact the entire marketplace where they reside. Plus, when a group of business owners return from over 20-hours of learning, they share their ideas with their neighbors and help them improve. Financially, it’s a great deal for a community because they receive extra services that we don’t otherwise provide for small business owners, including a free workshop in the sponsoring community and onsite visits with all the businesses that attended the BootCamp. When I go and speak in the city, more business owners are educated, and some communities end up turning that small group of six owners into a group of hundreds of owners, learning together, changing all of their businesses using what they learned at the BootCamp.
You might know where this story is going. Michelle went to Angie and decided to pay for the costs to send a group to our March BootCamp. When I asked Michelle what convinced her to take some of her bank’s marketing dollars towards this cause, here’s what she told me:
“The Croghan Colonial Bank is a recognized leader in community banking throughout Northwest Ohio. Their business model is based on the understanding that when the company’s clients, employees and communities are financially strong, the company is too.
As the Marketing Director for a small regional bank, I have the responsibility to make sure everything we do measures up to the mission of the bank. That includes how we spend our marketing dollars. In that regard, our mission is to support the financial well-being of the clients and communities we serve.
It costs $11,563 to run one ad in all our market papers telling people how much we support our local community. It costs $10,500 to send 6 businesses through Jon’s COMMUNITY REINVENTION PROGRAM. So, do we run an ad telling people how much we build our local communities or do we actually build one? I think the choice is clear on which is actually more aligned with my company’s mission. So, I created the “Croghan Colonial Bank Small Business Reinvention Scholarship”. In this tough economy, is there really any better way to grow my company than to help others grow theirs?” Michelle R. McGovern, Marketing Director, Croghan Colonial Bank
To read what the local papers are saying about Croghan Colonial Bank’s small business scholarship program, click here to read the Toledo Blade.
You can also read the excerpt from the North Coast Business Journal by going to this address: http://ncbj.net and clicking on page 23 of the article.
Now, let me put my “Marketing Hat” on: Not only has the Croghan Colonial Bank done a great thing for the business owners there and the Main Street Program, what do you think will happen when business owners start associating the Bank with its pro-small business stance? Let’s not forget that written articles are also seen by readers as being 12 times more believable than advertising. The sponsorship of these business owners will have more collective marketing power than any ad, while also doing more good. That’s a true Win-Win scenario for the Bank and the community.
If you’d like to bring a group to our next Destination BootCamp from your community, but don’t know where to start, either call our offices at 303-774-6522 or download our application information by clicking here.