Sep 10, 2019
About the episode:
Originally from Connecticut, Anderson graduated from Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts, and spent the next 15 years on Boston’s North Shore, working in the academic publishing industry where he oversaw a national events program and later managed a sales team with annual revenues surpassing $8 million. In 2013, he continued moving north and settled in Bar Harbor where he has since lived with his wife, Heather.
Alf developed an interest in marketing at a young age and dreamed of having a career in advertising. His career started, sort of in marketing, as an events planner where he arranged hundreds of conferences and academic events for Blackwell Publishers. After a few years in the role, he shifted gears to advertising sales in medical and scientific journals. With the great recession came a career setback and an opportunity for a career change.
In 2015, the Bar Harbor Chamber was looking for someone to run their events program and Alf put his experience in that area to use. Over the next four years, he took on the marketing and membership roles for the Chamber and has just recently been named as the Chamber’s executive director.
In the episode:
02:34 – Alf says luck and hard work kicked off his career, beginning in academic publishing before hitting a speed bump during the Great Recession that shifted his career north to Bar Harbor.
4:38 – If he could do it all over, Alf would not change what he did, but he might be a little smarter with some of his decisions and look for more personally fulfilling work.
6:36 – Alf shares his first visit to Bar Harbor and how that lead to his career at the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.
8:02 – Nancy and Alf talk about the history that can be found in Bar Harbor from the homes of the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts to the famous people who have walked along Bar Harbor’s shore path.
9:37 – Alf shares how the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce uses PR and social media to create brand loyalists.
12:38 – Alf says that social media is really what has changed in PR and marketing since he started his career and how targeting has improved.
19:01 – Alf shares which platforms the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce uses and which get the most engagement.
20:20 – Alf’s main obstacle in his career was the Great Recession, going from leading a team with an eight-million-dollar budget to working at Trader Joes, which became one of Alf’s most rewarding experiences.
28:56 – Alf shares that making sure the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce is providing value to their members is the priority, which they have done by creating a new website to direct traffic to their members and setting aside time to check analytics.
33:05 – With Acadia National Park delivering value and providing a great visitor experience, Bar Harbor has been able to build a network on social media.
36:45 – Through adaptation, identification of things that need improvement and putting in the work, Alf has been able to advance his career.
38:11 – Alf talks about how Bar Harbor is becoming less of a seasonal destination and more known for being “open” year-round.
40:42 – Alf uses Twitter as a resource for information and feedback on tourism.
42:58 – Alf shares his one piece of advice for someone starting their career.
"If you're not adaptable, you're probably going to get left behind. So, you've got to be able to roll with the punches.” — Alf Anderson, Executive Director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce
Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce: www.visitbarharbor.com
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