LEWISTON — Marketing efforts designed to bring business to the Twin Cities will concentrate more on spreading the word directly and bringing more Maine businesses in for a visit.

“A primary piece of business development marketing is meeting executives — and then meeting executives and meeting executives some more,” said John Holden, president of the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council. “So it’s about getting out to where companies are, going out to meet them.”

The growth council released the latest draft of a new marketing plan Friday morning, but Holden said elements of the plan have been in play since he took over in 2015.

“It’s a refinement, but making it clear to the community that this is what our focus is on marketing and business development,” Holden said. “This is the major focus of the growth council.”

Part of that involves rebranding the annual Business to Business Trade Show as the Maine B2B Show, open to businesses and companies from around Maine and New England, he said. The idea is to get the word out to the rest of the state about business partnerships and investment opportunities in Lewiston-Auburn.

“It helps us by bringing other businesses into the community,” he said. “It’s about doing business, right? So, it’s not excluding our area business and in fact we want them to be there. But we are bringing in other businesses and bringing them together.”


The trade show’s name will change to reflect that.

“It’s marketing thing,” he said. “It sells better as the ‘Maine B2B’. It is the premier show of its kind in Maine, it just happens to be in Lewiston-Auburn.”

According to the plan, the growth council will focus on three segments: Bringing in entrepreneurs and new businesses, helping existing Lewiston-Auburn businesses to expand and grow and attracting new business from outside of L-A and Maine.

To help push entrepreneurs and new business, Holden said the growth council will work with state innovation programs and create new business seminars. It also calls for creating an exhibit or small store in Portland to promote Lewiston-Auburn-made products and services.

For existing businesses, the goal will be to help them expand and grow. That means helping them make contacts with new potential markets and find local financing programs.

The plan calls for a sibling city program to encourage new investment and expansion into L-A. The Growth Council will work with national site consultants to spread L-A’s name among expanding companies. Holden said he will work personally, meeting with company leaders around the country and attending trade conventions.

“We need to meet businesses and the people who do business,” he said. “We will do less advertising because today it is more effective to go to an event where you are meeting half a dozen executives or commercial real estate brokers and talking about the assets and opportunities here.”

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Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council 2016-18 Marketing Plan

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