This is a supplement to an article on marketing successes and failures that appeared in the November/December 2015 issue of Dimensions magazine.
To announce the Orlando Science Center, Florida, surpassing a record 500,000 total visitors for the year, we developed an opportunity that attracted great buzz and media attention. We wanted to award our 500,000th visitor with an ultimate VIP package of tickets, souvenirs, and exclusive access. By turning the announcement into a celebration, we created a media opportunity that promoted the Orlando Science Center’s growth and impact.
A board member volunteered her public relations firm to help us with targeted media relations. The morning of the big day, three news crews were on site to capture the moment. We selected a family in line and when they arrived at the front, we announced our milestone with great fanfare as staffers congratulated them, presented their prizes, and made building-wide announcements.
Our 500,000th visitors were childhood best friends who were visiting the science center with their children, which created an additional layer to our story. Our announcement was covered on multiple newscasts throughout the day as well as through our social media channels. For minimal investment, the science center received major coverage promoting not only our milestone, but also our location as a place for families to engage in fun science learning throughout the year.
Jeff Stanford, vice president of marketing, Orlando Science Center, Florida
The Roseville Utility Exploration Center, Roseville, California, created a summer camp in 2014 entitled Energy, Water, Waste, and Beyond, which centered on visits from utility trucks. Registration was low, so we decided to turn the camp into a free week of truck visits. Over 350 people came out to see the trucks.
The center revamped the concept into Big Trucks Summer for 2015. Truck visits were spaced out to weekly appearances throughout a month-long period in July and August that spanned across two locations on opposite sides of town: our museum and the local library. The event also incorporated a truck-themed story time for youngsters offered by the library, building on their successful story time program, followed by an hour to explore a different utility truck each week. This was also the perfect opportunity to link our utility sponsors’ Your Utility at Work marketing campaign to help emphasize the value our municipal utility departments bring to the community.
At the conclusion of the event, the big trucks had been visited by over 1,800 people, more than five times than had attended the previous year. Kids and parents alike were thrilled to get a hands-on experience with their local utilities!
Brett Salmi, marketing and communications analyst II, City of Roseville, California
About the images: The Orlando Science Center celebrates its 500,000th visitor for the year, photo by Roberto Gonzalez; visitors explore a utility truck during Big Trucks Summer 2015, photo courtesy the Roseville Utility Exploration Center