Gov. Brian Schweitzer unveiled a $150,000 marketing campaign that relies partly on trucks and television commercials to lure new businesses, jobs and visitors to Montana.
"Innovate Montana" is targeting start-up businesses looking to relocate or grow in the Treasure State. Five trucks carrying "Innovate Montana" advertising will be circulating among the streets of Seattle, courtesy of Watkins and Shepard Trucking Inc. of Missoula. The campaign will target places most likely to bring people to Montana.
Schweitzer said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently rated Montana as the best place in America to start a business. And he said the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that as much as 40 percent of the state's adult population had a college degree.
A new TV commercial will be shown in key markets on the West Coast. The 60-second piece highlights Montana business leaders who are building businesses in Montana.
Additionally, five big rigs wrapped in an Innovate Montana advertisement directing people to visit InnovateMontana.com are now circulating in downtown Seattle and the surrounding metro area. A sixth truck will soon be traveling in-state to increase Montana's business presence with regional travelers.
"We're thrilled to be a partner in this effort," said Ray Kuntz, chief executive officer of Watkins and Shepard Trucking Inc. "We believe in Montana and we believe in the future of Montana."
Innovate Montana is a private public partnership between industry and the Governor's Office of Economic Development, focusing on businesses and leaders who want to invest in Montana. The campaign will be paid for through a mix of state funds ($90,000) and privates businesses ($60,000). Companies or agencies participating are: Anderson Zurmuehlen, First Interstate Bank, Montana Ambassadors, MSU, Northwestern Energy, Century Link, University of Montana and Techlink.
The governor was asked how it would be determined if the ad campaign was successful.
"Why does Coca-Cola advertise?" he said, adding that it must work, and rattled off a long list of big, successful companies that advertise. "You've got to tell your story. It's a competitive market.
"In Montana we already have a great name. We want to plant a seed that it's a great place to do business."
Schweitzer will host the first-ever Innovation Day and Awards Dinner, Aug. 28, at Montana State University.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103