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OBPA’s marketing push in Canada paying off

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The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority’s latest marketing push in Canada is paying off with an encouraging rate of responses.

Wednesday’s meeting of the authority board’s marketing committee was time for a progress report from OBPA Director of Commercial and Industrial Development John A. Rishe.

“I’m pleased with what we’ve been doing and where we’ve been doing it,” said committee member Steven J. Barlow.

Last spring, under Mr. Rishe’s directions, the OBPA target bulk-mailed 8,000 informational brochures to businesses and offices throughout Southern Ontario and Western Quebec.

The response from enterprises including high technology, manufacturing and forest products, he said, was encouraging.

“It was a good response,” Mr. Rishe said. “We have had several meetings.”

The authority has so far spent $89,000 of its $143,000 advertising and marketing budget for 2013-14.

In addition to the brochures, Mr. Rishe has invested in advertisements for WPBS public television, North Country Public Radio and the 2013 edition of Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping, a bulky Michigan-based publication that Mr. Rishe calls “the Bible” of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry.

Committee member Douglas W. Loffler supported Mr. Rishe’s marketing strategy.

“It is pretty good,” he said. “It looks like there are some positive things happening.”

Mr. Rishe said the estimated 25 to 30 responses to the spring bulk mailings were likely the result of an encouragingly resurgent Canadian economy. The initial inquiries, he said, represent a promise of business for the OBPA in the future.

“It’s like planting the seed,” Mr. Rishe said. “They’re all very positive developments.”

OBPA over the last decade has increasingly been focusing its marketing efforts in Ontario and Quebec to attract to its industrial park Canadian firms looking to set up shop in the U.S., or businesses with shipping needs looking to access its St. Lawrence River port.

In addition to bulk mailings, the authority has attended trade shows in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal and last fall approved an almost $10,000 online advertising campaign in the Montreal Gazette to help expand and develop relationships with French-Canadian businesses.

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