JO-ANN JOHNSTON Business writer
Section: BUSINESS,  Page: E1

Date: Thursday, October 7, 1999

Tech Valley may not be a household name yet, but the business community likes the sound of it. Wednesday night, that slogan garnered the 1999 Marketer of Excellence award from the Capital Region Chapter of the American Marking Association. The Tech Valley moniker was cooked up by Wallace W. Altes, president of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Business boosters think Tech Valley sounds a lot better than Capital Region and gives the area a more cutting edge image.

``People don't want to go to a community where there is only one job opportunity,'' Altes said. ``They want to feel there are a lot of opportunities.''

Besides the Altes award, five campaigns were noted for doing the most effective job of combining tools, such as advertising, direct mail or savvy pricing, to create more sales.

National judges reviewed the local campaigns for the 300-member Capital Region Chapter of the American Marketing Association, which sponsors the annual awards bash. The dinner program, held at the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, also gives executives a chance to reflect on strategies other businesses employed, and what might be useful in their own shops.

Altes said Albany needed to push its attributes to skilled workers and company executives.

The chamber staff use the Tech Valley phrase when they answer the phone, Altes noted. He also likes to see it in logos and is grateful to companies, such as drug research company Albany Molecular Research Inc., that adopt the phrase in their own jobs recruitment materials.

``Marketing is branding a product in a way that is almost obvious, but no one has ever thought of before,'' Altes said. FACTS:REGIONAL AWARD WINNERS These five Capital Region businesses received 1999 Mark of Excellence Awards Wednesday night from the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. The names of the advertising agencies employed, when applicable, follow. The campaigns used more than one marketing element, such as direct mail and advertising. MVP Health Plan/Media Logic: Campaign Title: Open Enrollment Campaign, Fall 1998Greylock Federal Credit Union/Fairbrother and Co.:Campaign Title: Member OwnedPrice Chopper Supermarkets/(no agency used): Campaign Title: Be Seafood SmartCapital District Physicians' Health Plan (CDPHP)/Fairbrother and Co.: Campaign Title: Join Us On a Health KickRoadRunner High Speed Online Services/Spiral Design Studio, WFLY 92, Media Logic, Web Way: Campaign Title: FLY 92/RoadRunner-Kia Promotion