Rutland-area promoters are hoping that people across the country looking for a change will agree the area holds “The Life You Were Meant For.”
Steve Costello, a vice-president at Green Mountain Power and co-chairman for the regional marketing initiative in Rutland County, said the marketing campaign, for which the new slogan was recently announced, is already starting to get results. The targeted marketing is intended to find people who are thinking about relocating and for whom the Rutland area might be a good fit.
“The campaign is just a few weeks old right now, and we literally have already received hundreds of potential leads through the website and through the contest that we’ve been running. We’ve had hundreds of people download … a ‘Move to Rutland’ guide,” Costello said.
The contest, which is now closed, will award a visit to Rutland County.
He said about 100 responses were “warm leads” and about a dozen were considered “hot leads.”
Costello said 22 families, representing 45 residents, have moved to Rutland County who have identified the regional marketing initiatives in some way as part of the reason they’re now living in the area.
Some of those newcomers have told the regional marketing officials they wanted to live near a major skiing area like Killington, but couldn’t find anything affordable in the western part of the United States in states like Colorado.
“As much as people in the Northeast think it’s expensive to live here, compared to other parts of the country where there’s world-class skiing and recreation, it’s much cheaper to live here,”he said.
Abby Endres, president of the Saratoga Springs, New York, agency LIFT Marketing, said her staff worked hard to find a slogan that had “true meaning.”
“On a grand scale, ‘The Life You Were Meant For’ inspires feelings and motivates thoughts. Essentially, it’s escapism or a relief pitch to others who might be longing for another lifestyle. It invites you to untether from your daily routine. It invites others to think about the perspective of their own lives, where they live, where they work, all that surrounds them in their daily existence. So this campaign that we developed speaks directly to those people and families who might be interested in leaving the hustle-bustle of a metropolitan areas,” she said.
Endres, a graduate of Castleton University, said the slogan is intended to reach people who are seeking a change of pace they thought they “could only dream of.”
“It just seems out of grasp. It’s easy to take these beautiful Vermont green mountains and the fresh air and abundant outdoor lifestyle for granted when we live here. This entire campaign is anchored around the opportunity that exists with living in Rutland County: Affordable living, jobs, supportive community and the real willingness of the Rutland Regional Marketing Initiative to truly help and escort these people on their quest for a life of vitality in Vermont,” she said.
Costello said the campaign had several components, with the website, RealRutland.com, a big part of it.
“We’re trying to drive people to that website, and through the website, visitors can directly ask questions. They can say, ‘Hey, I’m really serious about moving to that area. I’d like a concierge. They can fill that out and we’ll immediately connect them with a concierge within a day or two probably,” he said.
The “concierge” service can help potential Rutland County residents find a job or a place to live and can help the person or family make social connections. Costello said he hadn’t seen such a service offered by other communities.
The guide for moving to Rutland requires the visitor provide an email address, which Costello said allows the initiative to gather other leads.
Costello also pointed out that many might not see the advertising that uses the new slogan because it’s attached to advertising that is being sent only to a target audience. The right target is likely to live in a skiing area, be part of a family, be in the age range of 28 and 40, and probably female.
“Women make most of the decisions about moving in America,” Costello said.
Costello said that class of people are not the only possible targets for the campaign. He said the initiative also looks for people who have done Internet searches using terms like “moving to Vermont” or “Rutland Vermont housing” or Rutland Vermont jobs.”
“There’s a whole long, long laundry list of key terms that if people have searched for, they will then see these ads,” he said.
The regional marketing campaign is starting its third year. It is supported by 13 towns in Rutland County.
The co-chairwoman of the regional marketing initiative is West Rutland Town Manager Mary Ann Goulette.