Cluster Marketing – Lots of Potential in Manitoba
Marketing through clusters – a group of like minded stakeholders and operators is an excellent way to increase the profile of your business and geographic area. Focused on a specific theme, clusters are recognized internationally as an economic development process. Marketing through a cluster can create access to new markets, boost business profile and awareness and increase appeal and draw to an area.
In Manitoba, cluster marketing is done very well within the arts sector. Events such as the WAVE tour in the Interlake (www.watchthewave.ca) and the upcoming Prairie Ripples Tour (www.prairieripples.com) in the Portage area are great examples of cluster marketing. Operating for two days each, the tours feature stops at artisans and include stops for meals and other activities.
Alberta is a leader in offering Agri-Tourism clusters. The Alberta Agriculture website (www.ropintheweb.com – type “ag clusters” into the search box) boasts 10 such offerings. One of these clusters “Country Drive” (www.countrydrive.ca) in the Red Deer area, is a cluster that holds 4 events annually with spring, summer, harvest and Christmas themed drives. The cluster includes 26 operators including guest ranches u-pick operators, retailers, community museums and activity locations such as corn mazes.
Cluster marketing may at first glance look like a short-term marketing effort. However, when people participate in the event and go to visit other locations outside the event dates it reaches into the long-term. The majority of operators who participate in the cluster groups do offer their product all year round. The potential for cluster marketing in Manitoba is vast– starting talking with others and let the ideas flow!