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PEDA Plots 2013 Marketing Strategy for Business Park
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
02:43AM / Wednesday, November 07, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The quasi-public agency responsible for managing the former General Electric properties known as William Stanley Business Park is looking to build upon recent advances as it attempts to sell the park both locally and nationally.

Hired publicity and marketing consultants from two local firms, Winstanley Partners and WebArtNTech, highlighted both challenges and successes to the Marketing Committee of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority on Tuesday as it shaped its plan for the coming year.

As many as 242,755 total people in targeted markets have been reached by paid advertising and publicity efforts in the first phase of their campaign, said representatives from Winstanley.

WebArtNTech, meanwhile, has been creating new social media tools including a redesigned website set to launch later this year, along with improving the search engine optimization of the current William Stanley website, which earlier this year wouldn't come up in Google listings even with its name typed in directly.

Subcommittee Chairman George Whaling praised the progress made since summer, and pressed for more advertising in key New York state areas as well as in local media to keep the public updated on PEDA's progress with the park.

Whaling asked Winstanley Partners to prepare for its December board meeting some recommendations on where to purchase advertising for 2013, with an eye toward expanding beyond Western Massachusetts to the Albany, N.Y., New York City, and Boston areas.

"We've got some great stories unfolding, and some great stories that have already been told," said Whaling, "It's about rolling that over into the next year."

The dual strategy of advertising the park to outsiders and the workings of the PEDA to the local population is also seen in the maintaining of two websites, one for marketing the business park to developers, along with a separate domain containing all the information for the agency itself in the interest of public transparency.

Board members on the subcommitee agreed that increased outreach locally through both press relations and paid advertising was important to aiding the public's understanding of PEDA's progress, which they indicated has often been misunderstood.

"It took 25 years to get Downing Industrial Park built up," said senior board member Mick Callahan. "People have to put it in perspective a little bit."

PEDA Executive Director Cory Thurston reported that no bites have yet come in from the ads and press in approximately 15 print and web publications over the last several months.

"There have been no measurable inquiries that have been directly related to any advertising to date," said Thurston. "But that's going to change."
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