County wants to rebrand to revitalize tourism


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

MARSHALL COUNTY, KY.--Tourism equals cash. But that can be a tough problem to solve in a slow economy.

One local tourism director thinks smaller communities are actually working against each other and need to get on the same page to compete in the battle for tourism dollars.
The tourism director in Marshall County, Kentucky, said they need to find out the county's one true identity, instead of the smaller communities sending out their own messages.
But that idea comes with a 55 thousand dollar price tag.

The director said the county needs a lesson in "destination branding."

Jenn Patel bought the Aurora One Stop one year ago.

She's not new to the convenience store business.
She predicted her profits based on her father's store in Mayfield.

"But here, it's almost impossible to predict," Patel said.

She said business is slow at best. Tourism Director Randy Newcomb said he has a solution to bring more people in; hire a company to determine the most appealing aspect of the county and then sell it, instead of trying to sell a bunch of things all at once.

"If you can find out one thing that brings us together and makes us who we are, that's easier to market," Tourism Director Randy Newcomb, said.

This also includes target marketing, which is matching what Marshall County has to offer with people across the state and county who want to buy what the county is selling.

"We want to make our message clear, and we want to get it to the best audience," Newcomb said.

It'll cost about 55 thousand dollars, but Newcomb isn't worried about cost.

"I don't think it's going to be a hard sell at all," Newcomb said.

Patel said it shouldn't be.

"All the small businesses would benefit and they'd pay more taxes and collect more taxes for people around," Patel said.


The tourism director in Grand Rivers said her city paid for a similar study back in 2002.
It cost 32-thousand dollars.
She said it was well worth it because the city now known as the Village Between The Lakes received more than just a logo and tag line.
She said the study helped them plan and market their city to the right target market and helped them further develop their city.

The tourism director is visiting all the communities and entities within the county.
So far he said the fiscal court pledged six thousand dollars and the City of Hardin pledged one thousand.
He'll visit Benton City leaders next week.
Newcomb said he would like to start the study by January.
It's a 10 to 12 month process.