How Creating a Marketing Framework Helps You Stay On-Message, with Kelly Blazosky

Episode 296

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Kelly Blazosky is President of Oneida County Tourism & Founder/Partner of Adirondack Barrel Cooperage. She is an experienced President with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry specializing in Destination Marketing. Kelly is skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Advertising, Marketing Strategy, Public Speaking, and Tourism.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I welcome Kelly Blazosky back to the show. Kelly was my second guest way back in 2016 when the podcast launched, so I’m excited to learn more about her journey in destination marketing since then. Kelly also shares her three-prong approach to marketing Oneida County and explains why moving from generalized messaging to specific detailed messaging has helped her county stand out from the crowd.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The learning curve for Kelly in moving from destination marketing in Ohio to New York State
  • How Oneida County is standing out from the crowd as a destination
  • How to lean into partnerships to attract visitors to a broader region
  • The framework that gives Kelly’s team a clear-cut way to execute their marketing campaigns
  • Past challenges and the creative solutions that Oneida County Tourism found to move through them
  • Why Kelly and her team find so much value in working with an external marketing agency
  • Some of the exciting things that are coming up in Oneida County, including the new cheese trail
  • How DMOs can help, support, and be part of the community they’re in

Oneida County’s Marketing Framework

Kelly explains how her community has found that when it comes to consumer engagement across the various marketing platforms, it’s most effective to focus their efforts on three things; events, experiences, and exhibitions. She and her team have found that it pays to be very specific in their messaging and regularly highlight particular art exhibitions or events happening in the area.

We also discussed how she overcame resistance to that approach and was able to show that by stepping outside of the box, they were able to attract potential visitors’ attention.

Creative Collaborations

Kelly and I discussed some of Oneida County’s current collaborations, including their partnership with the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute (MWPAI), a wonderful free museum housing paintings from artists from Van Gogh to Pollock. She describes how the MWPAI moved to a changing exhibition model and began planning them further out, which enabled Oneida County Tourism to prepare promotions and highlight the events, such as curated talks and lunch and tea events.

This is just one of the ways that they can work within their framework and attract people to engage with the specific events that interest them. It also means that when they’re talking with their other partners locally, they can direct them to the month-by-month programming for a particular exhibition which gives them more to talk about and helps them evolve.

Building Partnerships

Finding the right partner to collaborate with can often be a sticking point for DMOs, so Kelly shares her best practices and advice for listeners planning to create their own collaboration. She shares the importance of first defining which market you’re developing the product for, travel, trade, international, or domestic, then finding who are ready for those kinds of visitors.
We talk about why a key part of collaboration is finding common threads that have some relation to the story you want to tell and demonstrating why creating a well-rounded experience helps draw visitors by giving the DMO a better product to promote.


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