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Coos County Survey Results and Recommendations

Coos County Survey Results and Recommendations

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Coos County Survey Results and Recommendations

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  1. Coos County Survey Results and Recommendations A presentation to the Coos County Marketing Steering Committee by KDPaine & Partners LLC April 4, 2007

  2. Agenda • Methodology • Results • Competitive analysis • Business • Tourism • Recommendations • Next steps

  3. Coos County Awareness/Perception Audit Methodology • Sent out 5,500 surveys to a random sampling of Coos County residents (340 undeliverable) • Received 1,436 completed surveys • 28% response rate • Open-ended questions were categorized and coded for quantitative analysis • Verbatim comments available

  4. Who responded to our survey • 53% male, 47% female • 69% are married • 88% own their own home • 94% have a high school diploma, 50% have a degree • Three-quarters have lived in Coos County for 20+ years • 77% are 45 or older • 50% make less than $40K a year

  5. What we learned • We’re better than we think we are • We don’t know what’s just outside our door • We love our communities but not necessarily our local governments • We feel safe • Coos County is a good place to raise kids

  6. Berlin/Gorham/Lancaster generated the most response

  7. Nearly half of all Coos County residents rated the community in which they live favorably Berlin (2.50) and Groveton (2.51) residents rated their towns significantly lower than did all other Coos County residents “It’s an area where your house isn't locked and the pleasant attitude of the people and their desire to help when you have problems.” “My hometown is the place for me. I know my friends and they know me.” Mean score: 3.12

  8. Two-thirds of residents outside of Berlin and Groveton rated their community “good” or “excellent” “I’ve lived/been to many states; Maine, Minnesota, Florida, Texas and Illinois and I’ve always come home.” N=56 N=15 N=149 “I love living here. I grew up here, went away to college and traveled all over the world. I could never imagine living anywhere else.” N=62 N=21 N=140 N=44 N=16 “I’ve lived here all my life. I love the area because there is always something to see or do!” N=11 N=13

  9. Only about one-in-five residents in Berlin and Groveton rated their community “good” or “excellent” “It’s truly sad to have a town with so many opportunities turn to prisons for growth!” N=64 “Having lived in two other areas in NH over 20 years, this area is lacking in quality shopping, dining and entertainment. It is also much more expensive to live here.” N=46 N=27 N=26 N=7 “Economy, healthcare, school funding, employment opportunities and teen recreation are poor. Not many job opportunities for people to advance in financially.” N=75 N=525

  10. Residents feel that Coos County is a place for outdoor recreation and a place to bring up a family Coos County residents do not feel that their community is a place for employment or commerce. “Life is good here. We came back here from Florida to raise our family. I wish stores were closer but you get used to that. Safety is a huge issue.” “This is a great place to live but I do believe we need to aggressively work on attracting industry to the area. The loss of the mills and poor winter weather has been a blow to the area.”

  11. Coos County employment opportunities were rated very low on various attributes across all towns “Need more jobs!” “Unfortunately, due to low job opportunities, kids leave.” “There’s nothing here for the young. My family all moved out of town for work.” “The quality of life is good if you are financially independent. Hard to earn a decent living here.”

  12. Residents outside of Berlin rate the environment(lack of pollution) in Coos County favorably….. Berlin residents rated the environment (3.08) significantly lower than all other Coos County residents. “I live in Berlin and I feel Coos County offers a great peace of life and is really God’s country. It’s a great place to raise families as well as to retire.” “Great wildlife conservation. Visible stars at night. Low noise, clean air. Great sleeping, no need of air conditioning. Good soil for gardening. Great fairs in summer.”

  13. …..but don’t feel that there is much culture or availability or social activity in the county “It is a very hard area to get a decent living. It is also a long way to travel for special doctors.” “Bring in some industry and culture in the area. We need to have our youth feel that there are opportunities right in their own backyards so they don’t continue to exit this county! “We need un-interrupted cell phone service from Whitefield north to the Canadian border and from Dalton east to Berlin. High speed internet country wide, broadband, DSL and wireless.”

  14. Coos County residents rated all of the county’s outdoor activities favorably “I enjoy this area for its lack of malls. I don’t like to “shop.” I enjoy the outdoors. We have enjoyed the camping, hiking, swimming, cross country skiing, sledding. This area best suits our interests.” “Please help keep the wilderness as it is while allowing recreational use. X-C skiing with dogs. ATV’s, snow machines and hiking trails make Coos County what it is.” “If you like peace and quiet great mountains and landscape and have sufficient money this is a good place to live. If you like hunting, fishing, snow machining and skiing.”

  15. Coos County received mediocre grades from residents regarding the county’s business potential “Would like to see more bus services and taxi services (public transportation) we need more job training opportunities.” “More work needs to be done on improving infrastructure in better major routes. East, west as well as north, south. Also looking into new technology business, not relying on forests only.” “Many years ago it was a great place to live-economy was good-stores lined Main Street in Berlin-Now…nothing! The entire area needs major upgrading!”

  16. Coos County received mediocre grades from residents as a place of commerce “It would be better if more business and tourist attractions came in. Instead of being place to attract low-income families.” “I’ve lived in Groveton since 1947 and have seen nothing in the past few years but businesses leaving. We have no real good restaurants and have to travel 10-miles to get a McDonalds Hamburger.” “There needs to be more hotels and restaurants in Berlin to accommodate visitors and give them a reason to stay in town for other activities besides outdoor action. We also need more variety for shopping.”

  17. Local governments in Coos County rated below average with regard to taking action and use of funds “[Coos County] Needs more jobs, more help for needy, government money, grants and cheaper prices.” “I want my family to grow up in clean environment but town government is out of control. Stupid people are doing stupid things and no one is watching the wallet.” “Local government in Berlin is detached from what the people want. We don’t want to live or be like the Southern Cities or States. We live here and accept lower wage earnings so we can enjoy this area for what it is: Friendly, clean, conservative, slow-paced and easy to live.”

  18. Low crime, small town are the advantages

  19. Lack of jobs, taxes and shopping are the disadvantages

  20. Outdoor activities are the attraction

  21. Coos County offers the best scenery and outdoor recreation on the planet

  22. How do we stack up against the competition? We’re better ….

  23. Our strengths • Unparalleled mountains/views • Close-knit community • Safer • Cleaner water 1 • Cleaner air 1 • Better balance between work and play • More airports 1:

  24. Our weaknesses • Highway access • Range of educational facilities • Lack of incubator space and furniture • Communications/technology • Dwindling employment pool • PR/Marketing

  25. What do the country’s best cities for business have that we don’t?

  26. The competitive landscape – tourism

  27. What do we have to offer for tourism experiences?

  28. How do we stack up against our neighbors?

  29. How do we stack up against our neighbors?

  30. How do we stack up against our neighbors?

  31. How do we stack up against our neighbors?

  32. How do we stack up against our neighbors?

  33. What do we need to do?

  34. The Influentials The Marketplace: Tourists Businesses Young people The Media Online MSM Communications in the 21st century The food-chain approach to communications The Message

  35. Coos County Biking? Hiking? History? Coos County Communications in the 21st century Blogs Websites Key Words

  36. How they’ll find us Finding key words • Key words • Related key words • Search Engine Optimization • Word of mouth • Vertical blogs/websites • Travel/tourism blogs/websites • Speeches/presentations/events

  37. Business Recruitment Opportunities Strength Ex-pat Coos County Graduate Entrepreneurs Bio-fuels/renewable energy Extreme sports Canadian entrepreneurs Ecotourism Manufacturing Low growth High demand/growth area Women entrepreneurs Healthcare Distribution facilities Call centers/telemarketing Education/Training Distribution facilities Transportation/Warehousing Weakness

  38. Tourism Opportunities Strength Fly Fishing Geo-caching Flatwater Paddling ATV Hiking Whitewater Paddling Extreme sports Fishing History Cross-country Skiing Ecotourism Hunting Bicycling Downhill Skiing Low growth High demand/growth area Golf Family/amusement Running/Road races Tennis Soccer Weakness

  39. Recommendations – Change the subject • Berlin needs to become the solution not the problem • Without Berlin, Coos County doesn’t have the buildings, workforce and infrastructure to attract business • Tell the world that we are not your father’s North Country • It doesn’t smell • You can see the mountains • The water is clean • There’s more here than you think • Speak with one voice • Celebrate what Coos County is/has • The weather • The woods • The water • The wildlife • The people

  40. Recommendations – Frame the discussion • We’re better – better than we were AND a better place to start a business • Coos, the county. Not the depressed North Country or The Great North Woods • Save gas, spend more time with your family: Play where you work, work where you play • Northsourcing, not Outsourcing • We’re closer- Boston is less than a tank away from the best outdoor experience in New England. If you work in Berlin you can be on a ski slope 30 minutes after leaving work. • We’re balanced – we have mountains and rivers, towns and wilderness, airports and hiking trails, amusements parks and national parks, Republicans and the Coos County Democrat. • We’re grand – what other county can boast 3 Grand Resort Hotels? • We’re extreme – worst weather on earth, toughest climbs – just try challenging OUR Presidents • We’re real: Real food, real people, real politics, real country – the real NH • We’re pure: Clean water, clean air, great views and smells good • Safe • Great place to raise a family • We’re the future • Soon to be the state’s first energy self-sufficient county

  41. On-line Web sites VisitNH Chamber sites NorthNH Flickr Blogs Special interest General interest YouTube MSM Public Radio Verticals Business Small business Home business Travel/tourism Lifestyle Next steps: Start a conversation

  42. Low-hanging fruit Ideas • Get High Schools involved in fixing the youth-flight problem • Congressional Prize for High School Innovation? • Outreach to 2500 + High School graduates on Classmates that graduated between 1965-1995- get them back for reunions, motivate them to return and start business • Sell excess housing in Berlin for $1 to anyone who commits to starting a bed & breakfast • Incentives to producers/sponsors of road races, bike races and other events that bring people up here to smell the air • Head of the Androscoggin race for kayaks, canoes and rowing shells • Leverage the airports for airshows, fly-ins, smoke-jumping training, flight schools • Go after Canadian entrepreneurs frustrated by red tape • Start incubator space in Fraser buildings that are vacant • Leverage presidential candidates as “celebs” to engage youth • Leverage media attention from primary to promote Coos County

  43. How will we know we’re successful? Measuring of success

  44. Activity measures • Web site traffic • To County site • To VisitNH – North Country specific pages • To Chamber web sites • To Berlin and other locale specific sites • NHWorks • Phone calls to: • Economic Development Directors • Chambers • AVER • NCIC • NHWorks

  45. How we’ll know if we’ve changed the discussion • Messaging/framing in: • Local media • National media • Travel/tourism media • Business media • How we’re discussed in social media

  46. Outcome measures • # of new jobs • Increase/decrease in % of 18-24 age group • Room & meals tax revenue • % improvement in satisfaction scores

  47. Questions that still need to be asked: • Why is the UNH Forestry School so far from the Forest? • Why not “Survivor Coos County”?

  48. Release findings Start three do-able projects Measure results Announce progress Next steps:

  49. Thank You! • For more information email me at • Or go to • Or call me at 1-603-682-0735