Transforming a Sleepy Town into a Bustling Tourist Destination

Marine City Chamber of Commerce, Michigan

The Problem

Amina’s plan was well researched, planned, and presented. It served as a guideline to develop tourism in this underdeveloped economic area. The plan was helpful. Marine City’s tourism took a prominent role and led to new businesses and an increase in visitors.
— Georgia Phelan, President of Marine City Chamber of Commerce, Chair of Marine City Marketing Committee

In 2008, the Marine City Chamber of Commerce needed to highlight the potential it had to be a tourism destination in the state of Michigan. Marine City had been a town like many others along the St. Clair River: low profile, limited lodging options, sites in need of rehabilitation, low tourist influx and little awareness among potential visitors.    

With the decline of the economy in the state of Michigan and the preference visitors had of Northwestern Michigan to the eastern bay area, Marine City had more threats to the sustainability of its local businesses. A tourism industry had to be born.

The Solution

A thorough process of research began to identify a potential profitable target market and assess national and local tourism trends. Marine City had to have a brand that stands out and distinguishes it from all other competitors. I built a brand for it and worked with my team on repositioning the city. A marketing plan was laid out to reach out to prospects and increase awareness of Marine City through a series of integrated and innovative marketing strategies including media, PR, promotion and advertising across different platforms. The plan also included a series of recommendations on rehabilitation projects for different businesses, sites and tourism infrastructure, as well as recommendations on events and festivals.

The Results

Soon after the launch of the tourism marketing strategy and the creation and repositioning of the brand, Marine City had a new website and new brochures, was on broadcast media and billboards along busy highways and districts, started several PR initiatives and generated high levels of responsiveness among its target audiences. The strategy was a catalyst to the creation of a marketing team within the Chamber of Commerce and the organization of annual festivals and a panoply of events that have attracted more tourists every year. The town is today often the subject of positive news coverage and its businesses now have a more sustainable income.