Perceptual Map A Discussion in Support of a Business Industrial Park for Valley Head, Alabama by VB Fillmore January 12, 2009

Most small towns in the United States are fighting for their life in today's difficult economic times. My small town of Valley Head, Alabama is no different. A recent proposal is to create an industrial park to bring business to the community and generate tax revenue. How do we market to the perspective businesses? What image does this small town want to project? For this perceptual map the business owner is the customer. The marketing of the industrial park will become a major factor in the success of the concept. A perceptual map will have on the axis: lifestyle image; service offerings; and price, as a general set of parameters. A more specific perceptual map for marketing to the business owner might include: easy of occupation; reasonable fees for business license; reasonable cost of leasing facility; accessibility to potential customers; accommodations for business owner and their customers; and a work friendly city government. The potential business owner must perceive a successful operation with the ability to make a profit. Two questions must be asked. What type of business do we want? What type of business can we attract? The consensus is to maintain a small town atmosphere with big town accommodations. Parks, hiking trails and a pleasant working environment with the preservation of natural landscape are being interwoven into the plan projecting an image of environmental stewardship. Much of the data would be gathered from lessons learned relating to other small town industrial parks. What has worked? What has not worked? What could be done better? Answers to these questions would require face to face discussions, information collected from the internet and an analysis of market potential. The idea of doing business in this small town will have to be sold to the business owner. This selling will require data as to customer wants and needs; population fluctuation; seasonal requirements of customers; and how to capitalize on the location events and attractions. Most of the data used to create a perceptual map will come from survives of the towns residents. The written survives covered a wide variety of topics and assisted in developing a long term plan for small town growth. Another source for data is the tourism industry of Alabama. Analyzing why visitors come to the area and what would enhance their visit would provide useful information in developing a marketing plan. The hope is to link the industrial park to the many festivals in the area. Because this section of North Alabama has been recognized as part of the historical Trail of Tears the commemoration of that event would be a factor in services offered. In the future the need to reposition or reevaluate the requirements of the business owners of the industrial park may be necessary. The type of business, customer service, hours of operation, price competitiveness and competition, collectively or individually may be factors in changing the perception of our industrial park. Consideration of incentives to draw potential business may become a factor in repositioning the marketing plan. In today's economic climate marketing is a very challenging process. The idea has to be sold first to the residents, to the business owners and to the financial institutions. Our industrial park may become a service industrial park.