There have been several very well done videos promoting the fact that Napa is once again “Open for Business.”

The quality is there and the messaging is spot on in most cases ... a great example of engaging, connecting and collaborating among local business owners, marketers, agencies and individuals simply looking to lend a helping hand.

The only problem I see is that it’s a campaign composed for customers you’re “hoping” to visit the Valley, instead of the people who are already located in and around the Valley.

I think it would be a good idea to start with locals and let it grow, as this process is definitely going to be a marathon and not a sprint.

The Napa Chamber has had several conversations with local businesses/owners after the fires and my message — derived from many years as a chief marketing executive – has been that now, more than ever, is the time to communicate directly to your respective Napa Valley/Bay Area customer databases.

Your database is composed of individuals who’ve already expressed interest in your products. They’ve purchased from you, signed up for alerts, etc. in some form or another and made you aware of their interest in your goods, products or services.

Stop throwing your best marketing ideas against a wall of unknown and uncertainty and focus on this group.

Understand that a campaign is much more than one email with the “offer of a lifetime.”

The campaign message is as important as it’s ever been, and as a local consumer, I already know you’re “Open for Business.” I’m stuck deciphering whether that message is for me or for someone you’re “hoping” will be visiting the Napa Valley soon.

Be personal, direct, honest and compelling. You’ve collected my name, so speak directly to me.

The first email may even begin with:

1) it’s been a while since you’ve been in;

2) thank you for your recent visit;

3) hope you and family are well during this difficult time; or simply

4) you are a valued customer and we miss you.

These are not considered sales messaging but often have the same effect. That same personal, focused and targeted strategy is what enabled the Golden State Warriors to grow a season ticket holder base from 2,500 to 13,500 during my 15 seasons – which featured only ONE playoff appearance.

Everyone here in the Valley has a much better product to offer than we did during that time. It’s simply taking the time to understand your database, and the best way to communicate with them.

If you’re a winery, maybe instead of promoting the Wine Club or direct-to-consumer, it’s a simple “come and see what you’ve been missing since you last visited.” Locals often forget how great the wine tasting experience can be.

Restaurants should take a page from Eric and Heather Keffer at Cole’s Chop House. Their recent four-course dinner campaign (hosted Monday-Thursday only) rekindled many invaluable lost customer relationships.

Reach out to Andrew Healy of 3 Rock Marketing or Prashant Patel of Invictus, two of the smaller, individually owned marketing agencies I’m aware of, who could assist with a campaign and ensure that your investment is money well spent.

Please be “Open For Business” for all, and not just those you’re hoping to arrive here in the Valley.

Travis Stanley is the president and CEO of the Napa Chamber of Commerce. Call 226-7455 or visit napachamber.com.

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