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News TDA considers marketing plan for 2014-15

Franklin’s Tourism Development Authority continues to explore new avenues of marketing for the Town of Franklin. The TDA meets the second Monday of the month at 5:30 p .m. at town hall.Pricey Charlotte billboards deemed not cost effective.

At Monday's Town of Franklin Tourism Development Authority meeting, board members were given presentations by D'Anne Maddox of Premiere Marketing and Nelson Bumgarner from Allison Outdoor Advertising.

In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the TDA began to move towards the use of a marketing strategy that would aim to bring in visitors from outside of Franklin as opposed to only focusing on local advertising.

Maddox updated the board on the progress of their first ad campaign that focused on using billboards in Atlanta, Facebook ads, Google Ad Words, and the DiscoverFranklin website.

“As you can see, Macon County actually had the largest percentage change in tourism spending,” she told the board as she referenced data provided from the 2014 WNC Tourism Conference. Besides Buncombe County, Macon also turned in the highest local county taxes collected as a result of tourism at $10.72 million, easily beating out places like Haywood, Jackson, and Swain counties.

Looking to expand on the plan implemented last year, Maddox discussed the possibility of using Pandora Radio as a means to get the message out about Franklin.

Surveying the board members – most of whom use Pandora, she described the offerings the company can provide.

“Every four songs, you get an ad,” said Maddox. “They can offer 3 million guaranteed impressions for $20,000, 5 million for $30,000, or 7.5 million for $50,000. That's a yearly contract and they do offer bonuses.”

The Pandora option would target listeners in Atlanta and Charlotte. In the last fiscal year, Atlanta was heavily targeted with billboards, but at last month's meeting, focus shifted to the possibility of expanding into Charlotte.

“We looked into Charlotte and they are very proud of their billboards,” she said. “They offer no bonuses and they are very expensive. I don't think it's a good idea to use billboards there but we did at least look into it.”

According to data that was presented, billboards in Charlotte are anywhere from $5,000 to $22,000 depending on the chosen package – more than the ones used in Atlanta.

Maddox then described different strategies that the board will be able to choose from at their next meeting.

Media Mix Concept A
Local Businesses/Festivals $30,000
Atlanta Billboards $35,000
Pandora $20,000
CharlotteChamber.com
Membership $400
Homepage Premium Banner $8,000
Facebook $4,000
Google Ad Words $6,000
Total: $103,400

Media Mix Concept B
Local Businesses/Festivals $30,000
Atlanta Billboards $35,000
Pandora $20,000
CharlotteChamber.com
Membership $400
Events Page Premium Banner $4,800
(20% discount)
Facebook $5,000
Google Ad Words $6,000
Total: $101,200

Media Mix Concept C
Local Businesses/Festivals $30,000
Atlanta Billboards $35,000
Pandora $20,000
Facebook $5,000
Google Ad Words $10,000
Total: $100,000
Media Mix Concept D
Local Businesses/Festivals $30,000
Pandora $30,000
CharlotteChamber.com
Membership $400
Events Page Premium Banner $4,800
(20% discount)
Facebook $15,000
Google Ad Words $19,800
Total: $100,000

“Or you can go with Concept E and we can mix and match some of those options,” Maddox told the board.

A decision will be made at the next meeting.

Bumgarner gave a presentation on behalf of Allison Outdoor Advertising, the company that has handled the town's need for billboards in the past. With the erection of a digital billboard located on 441 south, the company is now looking for interested parties to fill the advertising slots.

“A lot of people travel through here going to other places and this would be a good way to target them,” he said.

At a cost of $625 each month, an interested advertiser will be able to claim 1,440 spots each day. That means that one spot would last for 7.5 seconds and run each minute.

For $450, an ad will run every other minute and for $350 an ad will run every four minutes.

“In an annual contract, I would estimate that we could make three ad changes a month,” Bumgarner said. “It would take probably three days since we would have to send the ad to our designers and then they'd get it back to us.”

Other business

The board also considered a funding request for Bring It To Life Productions and the ’80s Flashback 8K race that is scheduled for August 2. The request is for $500 and proceeds would then be donated to the Shriner's Hospital of Greenville, S.C., to help with their mission to help the handicap walk and develop into active individuals.

“I just worry about the precedent we are setting if we approve this request,” said board member Summer Woodard. “It's a noble cause, but the money will be going to Greenville.”

Member Josh Drake pointed to a flaw in the project budget that was submitted as another reason for concern.

“They're only spending $200 on print media and $50 on other kinds,” he said.

Since the TDA focuses on promotion and advertising, the grants that they award are used to market local events and the $500 request leaves $250 without a line item.

Woodard made a motion to deny the request while Drake seconded it. The rest of the board agreed unanimously.

The board will consider both advertising presentations at its August meeting which will also serve as the annual retreat. It will take place on August 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Franklin Town Hall.





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