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Marketing and Promotions

Marketing is important to the overall success of the event. You may have planned and organized a fantastic event, but if no one knows what you are doing or when, attendance and ticket sales will fall far short of your expectations.

Consider developing a marketing plan that should include:

  • Event participants
  • Purpose of the event
  • Target market(s)
  • Available resources including money, people and equipment to implement the marketing plan
  • Person(s)/committee(s) responsible for marketing
  • Action plan with a timeline

Action Plan
An action plan will add focus and help to ensure that marketing goals are being accomplished. An action plan consists of the following:

  • A list of marketing tasks
  • The people responsible for the completion of the tasks
  • The dates for the completion of the tasks

Be Creative
Creativity can be a real asset in promoting an event. An organizer with a small budget might need to create unique, low-cost promotional activities that will create excitement about an upcoming event. Some examples include the distribution of material for a children’s event through schools, or an unique mascot appearing at a children’s clothing store promoting your upcoming event.

Publicity (Media releases, PSAs and Media Conferences)
There are many opportunities for a non-profit organization to obtain coverage at little or no cost. Invite the media out to your event and use your story to obtain coverage. Create a good working relationship with the media and keep in mind that their time is at a premium.

Media Releases
A media release should:

  • identify a contact person with a phone number
  • indicate the date, location and time
  • provide a brief description of the event
  • be proofed for accuracy of information
  • be under a page in length.

This sample media release can be used as a guide.

Local newspapers, radio and television stations will provide information about events organized by non-profit organizations at no charge and as a public service. Refer to this sample PSA as a guide.

Chronicle Journal
Information about community event listings and club dates will be published in "Northwest Calendar" section. Information about listings concerning Arts & Cultural Entertainment will be published in the "What To Do" entertainment listings. Contact 343-6200 for more information or visit

Thunder Bay Seniors
Details can be found at or call 345-4444.

TBNewswatch & Thunder Bay's Source
Online web source TBNewswatch can be found at or by calling 346-2527. Print resource Thunder Bay's Source can be found at the same web address or by calling 346-2538.

Radio Stations
Radio stations will provide announcements four to five times per day for approximately 15 seconds. Outline the nature of the event, times, location, fees, and provide a contact name and telephone number. Send information to:

Dougall Media                 Telephone: (807) 346-2580
87 North Hill Street Fax: (807) 345-4671
Thunder Bay, ON Website:
P7A 5V6
CBQ-FM Radio (CBC) Telephone: (807) 625-5000
213 East Miles Street Fax: (807) 625-5035
Thunder Bay, ON Website:
P7C 1J5
Magic 99.9 CJUK*        Telephone: (807) 344-2000
180 Park Avenue - Suite 200 Fax: (807) 346-5000
Thunder Bay, ON Email:
P7B 6J4 Website:
Country 105 CKTG*     Telephone: (807) 344-2000
180 Park Avenue - Suite 200 Fax: (807) 346-5000
Thunder Bay, ON Email:
P7B 6J4 Website:
CKPR Radio 580 & Rock 94 Telephone: (807) 345-1322
87 Hill Street North Fax: (807) 345-2719
Thunder Bay, ON Website:
P7A 5V6 Website:
The Thunder 103.5 Telephone: (807) 346-2600
CKTG FM, 87 Hill Street North Fax: (807) 345-9923
Thunder Bay, ON
P7A 5V6
CILU 102.7 FM Telephone: (807) 343-8881
Lakehead University Phone (On-air): (807) 766-7207
955 Oliver Road Email:
Thunder Bay, ON Website:
P7B 5E1

*Acadia Broadcasting Limited - Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay Television
Voice announcements on Community Calendar are available to publicize your event by sending a fax to 345-2719.

Community Clipboard/Around Town also provides information about upcoming events. Contact 346-2600. Allow at least two months lead time.

Shaw Cable TV
Cable TV’s facilities and services are available to groups free of charge to promote their events. The Community Announcement Bulletin Board is a rotating message system which can announce any event you are hosting. If you would like your event either aired live or videotaped and shown at a later date you can work with the station in producing the program. If your group does not have the resources to do this, Cable 7 staff and volunteers may consider coordinating the production on their own. Contact the station at 766-7010 or about these services.

Thunder Bay Guest
Call 346-2600 for a free listing of up to two lines. Information must be submitted by the middle of the month prior to the event. (e.g. June 15 for a July listing).

The Argus
The Lakehead University Student Newspaper published weekly when classes are in session. Call 766-7251 or visit

Canadian Uutiset
A monthly Finnish language newspaper. Call 344-1611.

City Events Calendar
For the most comprehensive calendar information, visit the Events page. You may submit your event listing online. This service is free.

In today's world, every event should be on the web. Drive traffic to your website by including the URL address in all other promotions and advertising. 

If the budget is adequate, you may use paid advertising. Newspapers and radio stations will usually provide assistance in designing and producing an advertisement at no extra cost.

Utility Bill Memos
Public messages are available free of charge to non-profit organizations on the following utility bills; some restrictions apply. Contact the company for more information.

Thunder Bay Hydro
34 Cumberland Street N
Thunder Bay, ON  P7A 4L4
Requests for each calendar year are accepted starting on the first business day of December of the previous year, and should be sent by e-mail. See here for details.

Social Media
Consider creating a Facebook page and/or Twitter account for your event. Perhaps you can also post a video on YouTube.

Flags at City Hall
As a matter of policy, City Hall will only fly flags for charitable organizations. For example: the United Way, Easter Seals, the Canadian Red Cross Society, etc. An event must represent a charitable organization registered as such under federal or provincial legislation. A written request must be received a minimum of five working days prior to the date the pennant is to be flown.

City Hall
c/o City Clerk
City Clerk’s Department
500 Donald Street East
Thunder Bay, OON P7E 5V3
Tel: 625-2230

City of Thunder Bay flags can be purchased for special events for $23.99 (small) or $56.99 (large) from Maier Hardware at 623-6052 (620 Simpson Street), 345-1491 (183 Algoma Street South) or 577-6465 (1515 Brown Street).

A properly designed and distributed poster can also be a very effective and inexpensive promotional item. There are many local printers who can design and print a simple black-and-white poster, or a colour one with up to four colour choices with photos. Shop around and provide plenty of lead time.

To have your posters placed on the bulletin boards of the City’s arenas, contact the arena rink attendants.

A creatively designed flyer can be an excellent and inexpensive source of promotion for your event. If you have the use of a computer, you or someone in your organization can design an attractive flyer, and depending on the number of copies you require, the flyer can be easily photocopied, reducing production and printing fees. Posters can often be reduced to become a suitable flyer or handbill. There are a number of businesses within the community that will distribute your flyer to any given area within the City or region that you request. Look in the Yellow Pages under distributing service and/or contact the Chronicle Journal or Thunder Bay's Source.

Roadside Billboards
Billboards are 10' x 20' (3m x 6m) signs positioned along heavily traveled streets. They are highly visible to motorists and pedestrians and deliver a message 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Advertising can be concentrated within selected areas within the City to reach the target audience efficiently.

Transit Shelter Advertising
Transit shelter advertising provides many of the benefits of billboards at a lower cost. Advertisements are 4' x 5 ½’ (1.2m x 1.7m). There are 30 units in Thunder Bay. Costs start from less than $300 per month for 1 panel, plus design and production. Advertisements are printed on high-quality paper and illuminated from the rear.

For more information, look in the Yellow Pages under "Advertising - Outdoor; Signs".

Interior Transit Cards
Interior transit cards on City buses reach riders travelling to and from work, school, shopping and recreation. Advertisements are placed in overhead frames above passenger seats. Two sizes are available: 35" x 11" and 70" x 11". The cost per month can start from approximately $400 and range upwards from there.

Exterior Bus Posters
Exterior bus posters are available in two sizes. "King Posters" are placed on the sides of buses. "Seventy Posters" are placed on the backs of buses. Bus posters reach pedestrians and people in their cars or in other transit vehicles. One "Seventy Poster" would cost $175.00 per month; one "King Poster" would cost $200.00 per month, plus design and production.

Rates are for space only. All production costs are the responsibility of the advertiser. Transit cards and bus posters may be saved for re-use.

Mall Displays/Exhibits
All the major malls in the City will provide space at no charge or a nominal charge to registered non-profit groups for promotion of their special event. Requests are made by phone or letter indicating details of the event. An agreement form outlining conditions of display must be signed and some malls require that the user group provide proof of liability insurance. Static displays are not allowed, so volunteers will be needed to oversee their booth. Three months' lead time is usually required for bookings.

Cross Promotion
There may be opportunities available through events such as the Blues Festival, Dragon Boat Fesitval and the Royal LePage Women’s Run to promote your events. These popular events attract a large number of people and sometimes allow posters, banners, announcements, etc. from other events to be included. Please call the individual organizations well in advance to request permission. You may also consider joint marketing campaigns with other events if you are at different times but attract the same market or are at the same time but attract different markets.