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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|Volume V, Issue 8||August 2002|
By Glory Ann West
The goal of the Maine Products Marketing Program (MPMP) is to build recognition for Maine products and their producers, and to expand markets for Maine consumer goods by providing marketing assistance. According to the recent July, 2002 survey of 1,300 program members, 83% of the respondents indicated that the www.mainemade.com site is rated "Valuable to Very Valuable" as a program element and in their marketing efforts.
Although this state program, which is part of the Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD), previously focused on the promotion of wholesale products, retail crafters and service oriented businesses can now also have global representation through the use of www.mainemade.com. Consequently, the program, which previously grew at an approximate rate of 100 businesses annually since its 1989 inception, is now processing applications at the rate of about 50 per month.
There is no fee to apply to MPMP, and an on-line application is available through the "Member Resources" section. Enrollment is open to all qualified Maine businesses that indicate their products or activities are primarily Maine oriented, and members are automatically entitled to a free business profile on www.mainemade.com. It is easy to use and provides flexibility for emerging, established, and growing businesses - and the price is so right!
This member benefit ensures that their contact information and product image or company logo will be accessible to global users finding a particular business under the umbrella of "Maine Made", and companies that already have an e-mail address and their own site to link to from the profile will especially benefit. The searchable database allows users to easily find a company on the well-indexed web site, which can be searched by company name, product type, and location. Currently, the recently redesigned www.mainemade.com site is enjoying an annual visitation of nearly 200,000.
New members are automatically listed on the Home Page and Featured Members repeatedly rotate through the entire membership with each revisit to the page. Links to other organizations, associations, and retailers are provided through the 'Links' section. The 'Monthly Giveaway' is a feature that benefits everyone: the company who graciously provides the product as a prize receives extra promotion, a lucky browser is graced with a gift from Maine, and the program can collect valuable consumer information to aid in future marketing efforts.
New profiles are created at the time of a member's acceptance, and a preliminary profile is put in place with contact information, product or service description, company or artisan biography, and a listing of retail stores carrying their product. There is also a "What's New" category where new product lines may be entered, or participation in trade or craft shows can be announced. If the company has their own web site or e-mail address, live links to them are put in place on their profile. Each profile is entitled to one photo image of a product or company logo.
After the new profile is created, autopublishing tools allow any computer novice, with the use of an assigned password, to be responsible for updating product and contact information. When an update is made, an automatic e-mail announces the update so that their new information can be reviewed and any grammatical errors or misspellings can be corrected, thereby ensuring quality control. This autonomy has many benefits: there is a web education component that is sometimes the first step a new business takes to employ the marketing efforts of this century, it encourages the business to take responsibility for those efforts, and it allows for the most current business profile possible. Because other program elements are offered, such as the use of "Maine Made Americas Best" labels (which can be ordered on-line through the "Member Resources" section), kiosk display opportunities, and trade show participation at the New York International Gift Fair and others, this one person program could not possibly keep the 800+ profiles accurate on a timely basis.
From a program administration standpoint, www.mainemade.com is an efficient communications tool with the members and a marketing tool for them. Along with a bi-monthly printed newsletter, a more frequent monthly e-newsletter is created and sent out to over 1,000 member businesses, retailers, consumers, and affiliate organizations. This is a terrific tool to share time sensitive information about new marketing opportunities. Also, I receive over a dozen e-mail communications daily from consumers and retailers seeking a specific product or manufacturer. Most times they are searching for a company that is on the site, and the "Forward to a Friend" feature available in each profile provides a quick marketing tool through immediate e-mail of the business information sought.
Effective use of today's technology as a marketing tool in the global economy has helped to increase the bottom line of individual Maine businesses and it naturally follows, the state's economy as a whole.
Display Opportunities- Blaine House Kiosk
In conjunction with the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) Arts in the Capitol exhibits, Maine Products will now be displayed in the MAC conference room, in an open alcove visible from the lobby area. The next show seeking member products will be August 19 through October 11, 2002, and the theme revolves around black & white photographs of Maine, featuring the work of Michael Alpert. If you are an artisan or manufacturer that has a product that could fit this theme, please contact Glory Ann West at 207-624-7488 or email: email@example.com.
Questions about www.mainemade.com or the Maine Products Marketing Program can be directed to Glory Ann West by calling 207-624-7488, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wests background includes many years of retail experience in non-profit as well as starting and owner-operating private enterprises. She has been involved with the Maine Products Marketing Program as the Maine Products Marketing Coordinator at the Department of Economic and Community Development for the last three years.