A cornerstone of the Promote Kingman initiative is the
building of a community of the future one partnership at a time. This is no easy task, especially if that community has long suffered from apathy, indifference, and frustration rooted in failed initiatives as well as empty promises. Resultant of these problems any delay in project completion, regardless of reason, casts doubts on the initiatives intent. I will be the first to admit, the Promote Kingman initiative has not reached the potential envisioned when accepting a request to assist in its development last summer.
Still, I am quite proud of what has been accomplished in the last year, especially in regards to building partnerships, promoting Kingman in a positive manner, and helping to foster a sense of community as well as community purpose. An excellent example would be the event that took place on the evening of May 16. After learning that a Dutch motorcycle group would be spending the night in Kingman, the Promote Kingman initiative facilitated a dinner at the Grand Event Center through Dora Manley, enlisted the services and participation of the Route 66 Cruizers to provide transportation, and then sent invitations through the Route 66 Association of Kingman, and the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association.
Fully aware of its limitations, the creator of the Promote Kingman initiative has focused heavily on ways to magnify the marketing and promotion endeavors of partners, the community, and event organizers. Some of these endeavors have been successful while others have fallen short. Still, considering the fact that most endeavors have been funded out of pocket, and time constraints resultant of limited manpower prohibit capitalizing on numerous opportunities, the initiative has had some surprising successes.
To generate increased awareness of Kingman’s rich history, as well as to present Kingman as a destination for travelers, walking tours of the historic district were initiated. Indicative of their popularity, the first tour attracted people from Las Vegas in spite of promotion commencing a mere 24 hours beforehand.
In partnership with the Jim Hinckley’s America initiative, a Facebook live program developed to promote my books and speaking engagements was transformed into a weekly feature that regularly reaches an average of 4,000 people. After months of meetings and discussions with the tourism director some funds were acquired to sponsor development of a video series. With additional funding from Grand Canyon West and Grand Canyon Caverns, episode one of Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66 was completed, and episode two is under development. The acquisition of sponsors and expansion of sales is crucial, however, if other videos to market the area are to be developed. Editing time alone for the first video required more than 400 hours.
The first video in the series, utilizing historic images from the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, presents Kingman as the crossroads of the past and future. Initial reviews were quite positive and the sales network is growing. In addition to online sales through the Promote Kingman website, and wholesale orders, the DVD’s are available at numerous Kingman locations including Calico’s, Southwest Trading Company, Mohave Museum of History & Arts, Rutherford’s 66 Family Diner, and Ramada Kingman. They are also now being sold at the Mother Road Route 66 Museum in Barstow, California, Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, Jack Rabbit Trading Post in Joseph City, Arizona, Zettler’s Market in Ash Fork, and Teepee Curios in Tucumcari, New Mexico.
The first in a series of “Masterclass” presentations was created to enable business owners to develop successful multifaceted marketing initiatives that utilize websites, social media, and similar venues. Business owners traveled from as far as Bullhead City and Laughlin to attend. This was but one manifestation of the initiatives reach. At a recent presentation on heritage tourism as a component in economic development and community revitalization in Tucumcari, New Mexico, community leaders asked questions that left little doubt that they were familiar with Promote Kingman.
A tiered structure of partnerships was created to ensure any business, regardless of budget, would enjoy the benefit of pooled resource international marketing. Taking that a step further, for as little as $50 per month, a business could have a landing page website with updates linked to social media marketing. Linked with this was the social media networking and promotion that often results in a reach of 100,000 people or more.
As partnerships are the foundation of the Promote Kingman initiative, development of these is a focal point. To date, the initiative has partnered with numerous area businesses and organizations including the Route 66 Association of Kingman, and Route 66 associations in Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and other countries. Now, to expand on the network of partners, initial steps have been taken for the launch and development of Promote Bullhead, Promote Havasu, and Promote Route 66 initiatives.
In retrospect it is all quite amazing what Promote Kingman has accomplished in one short year. It leaves me wondering what will be accomplished in the coming months.