Purpose of Project.
The Town of Erin is located 80 kilometers North West of Toronto with a population of 11,600 residents, offering small town charm, with big city connections. With the absence of a wastewater system in the town small business is vital to the economic health and prosperity of the town.
The pandemic has given our Economic Development staff and committee sometime to reflect and refocus efforts on what our visitors are really looking for in an experience and what we as town ambassadors think is important to share with them. Through this reflection and research gathering the “Erin Life” magazine took shape and came to life, bringing a more robust and comprehensive marketing vehicle to drive visitors not only to our beautiful downtowns but also to explore our on farm experiences, local agri-tourism and artistic offerings.
Eﬀectiveness / Meeting Objectives
One of the Town’s primary tasks, is to support the strengthening of Erin’s tourism offerings and to encourage and facilitate collaborative efforts, locally.
Both the current Town’s Strategic Plan and Economic Development strategy identify Tourism as one of the five top priorities to drive results for Economic Prosperity in the Town.
The Erin Life publication achieves this by supporting existing business, providing inexpensive collaborative opportunities, promoting entrepreneurship, profiling business success and highlighting the wonderful work life balance opportunities that a small rural town can offer. All of this is captured in this high profile magazine that puts “Erin Life” on display.
Challenges and Changes (includes target audience)
The Town of Erin had a very successful “Horse & Country in the Hills of Erin” magazine. However there was a dramatic decrease in equine activity and horse farms being operated in the Town after substantial changes were made by the government to the horse racing industry in 2019 and then the subsequent COVID pandemic. Although the Equine magazine was still fairly new this led the towns Tourism Alliance Committee to rethink the tourism marketing strategy and make some profound changes to the magazine.
Town staff were also acutely aware of the influx in artistic and agri-tourism businesses and residents relocating to Erin from the GTA and the surrounding cities. Research also highlighted Erin as a favored visitor destination for upscale adventurers, family day trippers, couples and female shoppers in the 50-65 age range. When creating Erin Life magazine we took all of this into consideration and determined a more comprehensive attraction piece was needed, one that included the overarching small town charm, unique shopping, rural beauty, agricultural bounty, recreational and cultural offerings, equine activities and family fun experiences.
Sustainability of the project.
The Economic Development department, regularly embarks on projects which are sustainable, not only for financial reasons and protecting public funds, but also being mindful of staff time and the use of limited resources
In collaboration with the towns communications staff the town launched “Erin Life” in June of 2022 and used all available marketing avenues to maximize the reach of the Erin Life product.
Initial feedback has been extremely positive and helpful and many businesses have already seen an increase in visitor traffic and we will continue to monitor. It’s encouraging to see and hear the effectiveness of the Erin Life magazine and the marketing campaign. The town is also excited to share that tourism dollars have been budgeted for the 2023 edition as well as advertisers and suggested editorial profiles secured.