The 2nd annual Northeast Kingdom (NEK) Day took over the Vermont State House Jan. 28 as more than 150 people traveled to Montpelier to celebrate and share their successes and priorities for the Northeast Kingdom.
Center Vice President Joe Short joined the crowd and testified before the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs about the impact and importance of state support for regional marketing, the working lands economy and other strategies to attract and retain new residents and businesses in rural Vermont.
Short’s testimony drew from the Center’s current work with the Bike Borderlands and getNEKedVT campaigns. “These digital campaigns are helping local partners in the NEK expand their reach – whether that’s with mountain bikers or people looking for a trip-planning tool,” said Short. “Both campaigns are connecting with new audiences and customers through coordinated marketing.”
Coordinated regional marketing is identified by the NEK Collaborative—which organized NEK Day—as an important economic development tool for the region. As in many parts of the Northern Forest, the Northeast Kingdom abounds with unique outdoor recreation, culinary, arts, and cultural opportunities that are often overlooked in a competitive online landscape.
Using dynamic content and tapping into people’s love of completing a challenge, getNEKedVT is a regional discovery campaign for residents and visitors alike. It connects people with new places and experiences and rewards them with a t-shirt and stickers if they successfully complete four different activities in the NEK.
Since June of 2019, the campaign has drawn more than 9,000 visitors to its website and reached well over 50,000 people on Instagram and Facebook. Through targeted marketing, the campaign is attracting its highest volume of online traffic from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Connecticut. The campaign encourages both locals and visitors to discover new experiences in the region and share them through social media using #getNEKedVT. “These photos are inspirational,” said Short. “They can help people discover an entirely new destination that eventually may become the place where they decide to live, work, and play.”
Visit the getNEKedVT website to view the brand new winter challenges and begin planning your NEK adventure today!