Monday, February 25, 2008

Marketing Matawan-Aberdeen

Three factors determine a business’s location – access to resources, access to clients, and cost. Businesses are a boon to any community because they provide jobs, services, tax revenues and require comparatively little in return. Matawan and Aberdeen appear ideally suited to attract the business community. We have an attractive neighborhood with easy highway access and public transportation, close proximity to Metropolitan New York, the Philadelphia area, and the Jersey Shore, and an educated workforce. So, why aren’t businesses moving here?

The first issue is marketing. Look at Monmouth County’s website - Notice the name - Visit Monmouth. Then, right on the home page is a “Welcome to Monmouth County” followed by a banner ad – “Monmouth County is Great for Business”. Other interesting links – Tourism, Info Center, and Doing Business with the County.

Then, look at the websites for Aberdeen Township and Matawan Borough. No welcome, no business liaison, no information on why anyone should hang a shingle in our town or consider moving here. No mention of local attractions, amenities, or the high-tech companies in our area - iVoice, PacificHealth Laboratories, SpeechSwitch, Deep Field Technologies, and Vonage in nearby Holmdel. Nor any reference to Matawan being ranked by BusinessWeek as the 12th best place in the nation to raise children.

Good websites cost no more than bad websites. Our websites should have information describing why our neighborhood is attractive to businesses and family friendly. From local attractions, to a major train line, to large undeveloped areas, to a local government eager to assist the business community, we should be marketing all of it.

But would it be enough? There’s a popular story about a dog food executive who can’t understand why his product is flopping. After all, he uses the best ingredients, the best packaging, and the best marketing. Finally, one of his subordinates responds meekly “Dogs don’t like it.”

It doesn’t matter how attractive we are to corporate America if the rank and file don’t care for our area. On that score, the municipalities should work with the school district and the local Chamber of Commerce to promote everything we have to offer families, from student achievements, to fine dining, to local attractions and parks. Within a couple miles, we have Funtime America, Keansburg Amusement Park, Holmdel Park, and Sandy Hook. We also have excellent shopping, affordable housing, and very low crime.

Lastly, we have to recognize that we’re competing with every other town for new business. It’s not enough to be as good, we have to be better. Aberdeen and Matawan should establish a joint business liaison office that assists businesses with zoning, building permits, financing, taxes (i.e. PILOT programs), and bidding for government business. The business liaison’s office would also be responsible for working with local business leaders and the local Chamber of Commerce to develop plans for improving and marketing our neighborhood.

An old rule of business is that money goes where it’s most welcome. We have a great community. Let’s promote it.
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Anonymous said...

Perhaps if the hard-working teachers in the town had contracts they would be willing and eager to talk up all of the attributes that Matawan and Aberdeen have to offer. Unfortunately, they are too busy raising many of the town's children and scrambling for the remaining bits of their professional dignity to give accolades to the town. Hmmm...for such a great area, priorities seem to be off. Support your teachers like you can bet the top 11 places to live do, and you'd really be on to something. Someone might even decide, as you so aptly put it, Aberdeener, to hang a shingle in the area.

Truth In Matawan said...

Apparently anonymous is ignorant of the phrase hanging a shingle. BTW, news to us that the teachers are now RAISING our kids for us. We'd be happy if they educated them competently.

Aberdeener, some good ideas, but my problem with the Business Week ranking is that the Matawan they describe (and show) bears no resemblance to the Matawan of real life. There are two huge office towers by exit 120 that are 90% empty and yet more are going up. Good news is things can only get better from here.

Anonymous said...

Truth in Matawan, ignorant certainly seems to be the trend on this blog. Do you even have a clue about what happens in today's schools? Teachers would be thrilled if they only had to educate students about their subjects. Sadly, however, because of the sheer number of dysfunctional homes, social stresses, abuses of alcohol and drugs, and family pressures, many students do not arrive at school ready to learn. If only it were so simple to just have students enter the room, sit down, and learn. There is so much more than that...perhaps a week in a public school would be an education for you and the Aberdeener. Of course, that would mean willing to admit that there were something about which you were not the experts. I won't hold my breath...

Anonymous said...

Truth I know your not the ignorant one right. Whatever picture you are speaking of you do know that none of those buildings are in either Matawan or Aberdeen right? Of course you do cause you know everything.

Anonymous said...

Truth where do you think all of these problem children end up? Back in our community causing problems and making nusiances of themselves. How about supporting the police forces in the to towns and give them whatever they need without question.

Truth In Matawan said...

Police comment: Irrelevant and borderline nonsensical

The buildings we were speaking of: Old Bridge with a Matawan mailing address, of course. Don't worry, theres a few more like them in the Redevelopment Plan. Oy vay.

Ignorance: Many people are ignorant of many things, and no one is an expert on everything. Take anonymous for example. She invites me to spend a week in a public school, this despite the fact that our children attend a public school in MARSD and we're inside the school on average two to three days a week.

Anonymous said...

There is a huge difference between being in the school and being in the classroom. You should volunteer your time for one day in each of your child's classes and really see what goes on. Until you are willing to do so, please stop commenting on topics you know nothing about.

Truth In Matawan said...

Pickle, why do you insist it's something we know nothing about? YOU know nothing about why we are in the schools in the first place, nor what we are doing when we are there!

As detailed extensively throughout the blogs, we are happy with the education our children receive in the MARSD schools they are in. But they are not yet in middle school or high school, where most of the problems are occurring. To blindly continue to insist that because these teachers keep our children alive between the hours of 9am and 3pm they should be foisted up on our shoulders, given the maximum pay raises forever, and have their benefits paid in perpetuity is the epitome of ignorance.

Quality raises for quality teachers. Give the best teachers the best raises, give good teachers fair raises, and get rid of the bad teachers--and the bad teaching methods.

Anonymous said...

How could you know anything about a job you never performed? I see by your profile that you are in the accounting field. Does that mean because I have an accountant and see him a few times a year that I know how to perform his job?

Rather than telling me that I have no idea what you are doing in the school, tell me why you are there. Tell me how you are bettering the lives of the children in the school. Tell me about your personal experiences that allow you to expound on the topic like an expert. When you do that, I will respect your opinion.

Anonymous said...

Truth- teachers are approachable all year, not just conference time. If you or your friends have a problem with how your child is being taught then be a (wo)man and talk TO the teacher...not about them to your friends. Maybe the questionable teaching practices you are "seeing" may become clearer with a rationale behind them. Also you should know, since you are in the schools, that the students are NOT grouped heterogeneously, some classes are enrichment classes which, on average, perform better than a mixed class would. This ALWAYS makes a teacher look good! :-)

Truth In Matawan said...

Good comments by anonymous, bad mind reading by Pickle. To reiterate: We are happy with how OUR children are doing. The enrichment programs, even early on, seem to be a big plus. We volunteer with the PTO at the elementary level, and chaperone whenever there is an opportunity to do so. In short, we are immersed in the (elementary) school experience.

That said, the complaints you see are in most cases not directed at the elementary school level. It is as they get older in this school district that we see the testing scores compare less and less favorably. To be clear, in case Pickle missed it the first eighteen times, we feel the biggest problem is the reckless and irresponsible spending of a largely ignorant school board (there are a few exceptions). But greedy teachers are a close second. Before you jump off a bridge thinking we just painted all teachers with the greedy brush, WE DIDN'T. Read: In any population of a certain profession, the law of large numbers dictates there will be those who are "Stealing Money". Just as there are those who are working above and beyond their job descriptions (which is appreciated). What can't be denied is the fact that bad teachers exist.

Pickle, you seem to have a hard-on for us, since you're constantly putting words in our mouth. Please, show me where we said we know how to perform a teacher's job? Where? Despite the fact we have a teacher living in the house, we still haven't made that claim, though it would not be bold to do so. No, rather, we proposed fair treatment for teachers of all abilities. As for who's ranking the teachers and classifying them by ability, that wouldn't be us--again, something we didn't claim to be able to do--no, rather, we just think some method of introducing it should be instituted by those who can, instead of blindly approving 10% raises, again. Which my accounting background tells me is a ludicrous number, FOUR TIMES THE NATIONAL AVERAGE.

Anonymous said...

Where to begin?

Here are your words, "Despite the fact we have a teacher living in the house, we still haven't made that claim, though it would not be bold to do so." Let me see if I have this straight. You're saying you make no claim that you know how to perform a teacher's job, but then you say because you live in the same house with someone who is a teacher it would not be bold to make the statement that you do know how to perform a teacher's job. You're right; it would not be bold, it would be stupid.

That would be like me saying that because my father is a mechanic and talks about his job at home I know how to perform his job. If that's how you think, maybe I should have the teacher living in your house do my taxes.

You also said, “We'd be happy if they {teachers} educated them {students} competently.” You’re right! How could I have been confused that you don’t support teachers? It’s obvious you have the highest regard for the profession.

As for your accounting background that tells you that teacher raises are 4 times the national average. I think you need to check your facts. The starting salary in MARSD is approximately $40,000 a year. You made the case that teachers are being given 10% raises annually. If that were the case, a teacher, after 15 years, would be making $151,899.95 a year. Find me one teacher in MARSD that makes that kind of money.

The problem with you is you make blanket generalizations about teachers, which creates a negative attitude towards them in the district.

Anonymous said...

"No, I'm not a teacher but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express." :-)

matawan advocate said...

Wow, have you all gotten off the track.

Good points and progressive ideas Aberdeener. Matawan is having a financial crisis and must tighten our belts. However, we do have the Matawan Alliance, Aberdeen-Matawan Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club who if they worked in conjunction with each other would be able to accomplish the task. Matawan Borough has donated public funds to the Matawan Alliance and we'd like to see some of it given back in some way. These organizations seem to have a business foundation and would be better equipped to encourage businesses to the area. Although we are not opposed to the utilization of the Borough website to encourage business. Presently, Matawan must give its taxpayers some relief now!

Truth In Matawan said...

Pickle, if your spouse and yourself converse regularly, you might be able to understand the details of their profession, the trials and tribulations, the ins and out. You might even be able to performs some duties related to it, if you've helped them with those duties over the years. And if that spouse is posting on a message board, yes, they would be able to claim to know exactly what a teachers job is. That's all we'll say on that matter, your mind-reading should let you figure out the rest.

Pickle, what sort of annual raises do teachers in the MARSD get after they've achieved 10 years of service time? Please let us know.

Pickle, despite your attempts at semantic wordplay, you've still yet to show where we said we could do their job. You put words in our mouth. Again.

Pickle, the line about us being happy if they'd merely competently educate our children was IN DIRECT RESPONSE to their claim they were in fact raising our children. In other words, hyperbole met with more hyperbole. That said, how many parents of high-school age children are happy with the testing levels? As parents of elementary-age children, we're very happy.

Anonymous said...

Are you insinuating, once again, that after 10 years of service teachers receive a 10% raise annually? If so, there you go again misconstruing the facts. Let me set you straight, hopefully for the last time. Teachers do receive a large raise after 10 years of service. This raise only continues for the next 5 years, and then the teacher is at the top of the pay scale. After 15 years the teacher receives a raise that has been agreed upon by the BOE and the teachers' union. This raise is nowhere near 10%. Please, get your facts straight before you shoot off your mouth.

As for your semantic word play comment, let’s leave that to the other readers. Let’s ask them what they believe your stance on teachers is. I am sure you will find that more people agree with me than with you.

Without getting personal, could you please tell me where your spouse teaches? Is it a private or public school? How many years has she taught? What does she teach? It seems a bit hypocritical to be complaining about a teacher’s salary while you are benefiting from one.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener you are correct about Aberdeen's website. BUT, the current one party controlled town council wants it that way - the less information the better. The more closed door meetings, the better. The less the public knows the better. Why aren't the town meetings videotaped and placed on local cable access like other towns? Or even placed on the website.
Why is it that the local reporters like Sametta from the APP and Erin from the Independent cover the towns of Matawan, Aberdeen, and Keyport - who have their meeting on the same nights? These reporters can't be at all three meetings at the same time can they? Notice a pattern here?

Truth In Matawan said...

Pickle, we're REALLY sidetracking Aberdeener's great blog, so maybe we should take it to email. To answer your questions though (without getting personal)
a private school
9 years
not hypocritical as it's not taxpayer subsidized

To be fair, there's also not the problem some of the public schools have with non-interested parents (for the most part), though there are several other kinds of problems.

Aberdeener, apologies, as this has sidetracked a completely unrelated thread! Let's put the blame squarely on anonymous!!!!