Touring, tweeting, blogging: Selling Chicago tours to the locals

A tireless communicator writes firsthand about 85 distinct tours to promote the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s offerings to young city-dwellers.

If the buildings in Chicago could talk, they’d have plenty of tales to tell.

Too bad young locals didn’t care to hear what they were.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation wanted to change that. In 2010, it decided to go after a new demographic: urban professionals ages 25 to 34 who have neglected to explore the city.

Reaching out to them couldn’t be done through traditional media. Instead, CAF turned to one of its own for help.

Jennifer Lucente, CAF’s new media marketing and communication associate, is responsible for monitoring the organization’s Facebook account and Twitter feed. She noticed a growing trend: Fans and followers didn’t know that CAF offered 85 distinct tours. They knew about only the famed architecture river cruise—something locals associate with tourists or family members visiting from Farmersburg.

“When you’re so wrapped up in your own organization, you assume people know what you do,” Lucente says. “We realized it was important to ask people, ‘What do you know about us?’ We found out that people didn’t know they could take 85 different tours.”

Lucente hatched a plan.

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