Community Marketing Collaborative.
One member of elevate412, Economic Development South, had already benefitted from a collaboration with TrailBlaze Creative, utilizing their Marketing Director in Residence SM service model to assist in developing digital marketing strategy and infrastructure to improve residential and business communities throughout Pittsburgh’s South Hills region.
Trailhead: Where We Started
Recognizing the success of the EDS-TBC partnership, and seeing other successful shared services models throughout the region, EDS provided leadership, along with TrailBlaze, in developing a multi-organization, regional collaborative with an ethos, mission, and vision related to broader community advancement.
Trek: Steps We’ve Taken
After EDS contracted with TrailBlaze Creative and articulated their core goals, TrailBlaze first made a structural recommendation: the development of a “marketing collaborative,” expanding on the regionally successful finance collaborative model. EDS sought to attract reputable partners around the shared idea of “elevating and building more resilient communities” while providing TBC’s Marketing Director in Residence SM model across the entire collaborative to centralize strategic leadership and expertise in the areas of marketing and communications.
TrailBlaze assisted EDS in applying for and receiving initial funds from a local foundation, which assisted TrailBlaze in determining the collaborative entity’s organizational vision, mission, plans for future operations, and ideal partners. During this process, TBC assisted EDS in identifying and securing five highly reputable partners for the collaborative – Tri-COG Land Bank, Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania, Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments, and Steel Rivers Council of Governments. With TrailBlaze’s guidance, EDS and the rest of the collaborative created a memorandum of understanding alongside a shared mission statement, vision, and operational agenda.
After applying for grant funding, elevate412 was awarded funds to support full in-house marketing and communications support, which then applied to all six member organizations within the collaborative. In this way, TrailBlaze’s role as Marketing Director in Residence SM was expanded from an exclusive contract with EDS to a broader, embedded role within the larger collaborative.
Summit: Vision Realized
Through successful collaboration with TrailBlaze Creative, the six partner organizations have made a strategic commitment to marketing-communications, with the intent to gradually introduce this new capacity to each organization with long-term intentions. The new entity, elevate412, now contributes to creating stronger and more resilient communities within the region. By using the “marketing collaborative” approach proposed by TrailBlaze, elevate412 members now benefit from shared infrastructure and uniform access to TrailBlaze’s Marketing Director in Residence SM, who serves as a consistent, highly accessible, and executive-level marketing strategist for each organization within the collaborative.
In addition to marketing capacity, each organization also benefits from having personnel who devise intentional ways for the six organizations to collaborate. Opportunities to collaborate across the six organizations have included shared programming and infrastructure. The organizations also regularly request marketing training, which is often consolidated into one training occurring for all six organizations—a cost and time-saving approach for everyone involved.
TrailBlaze’s Marketing Director in Residence SM model saves each member organization (and elevate412 as a whole) significant funds while ensuring the same quality of service and high-level strategic leadership that prompted initial decisions to create the collaborative initially.
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