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News TDA looks at new marketing strategy

Jessica Mason and D’Anne Maddox with Premier Marketing presented a marketing strategy to the members of the Tourism Development Authority with a focus on targeting possible tourists in the Atlanta area.The Tourism Development Authority (TDA) met Monday night for its monthly meeting to discuss the upcoming fiscal year and their strategy for moving forward after a turbulent 2012-2013. Though the new fiscal year does not begin until July 1, the board is already making moves to change up their way of doing things this time around. At last month's meeting, they voted to deny an Allison Outdoor Advertising contract renewal in a vote of 4-3 and decided to look at new marketing outlets. In the past, Tony Angel Media has been instrumental in helping the board determine the best marketing avenues via billboards and cable television advertising, but that also may change in the upcoming year.

New member to the board Josh Drake, recently questioned how Angel was tracking the spots being featured through Comcast Cable to attract tourists to Franklin and after some short discussion, volunteered his services at Premier Marketing to conduct a new marketing plan.

“I'm the boss, I can offer this service,” said Drake when asked whether he should consult Premiere Marketing first. The service would be provided free of charge.

As a result, Drake arranged for representatives from the company to attend the June meeting to present a marketing strategy that would consider advertising in larger markets such as Atlanta, Georgia and Orlando, Fla.

The target market that representatives Jessica Mason and D'Anne Maddox looked at for Atlanta consisted of household incomes of $100,000 or more and in Orlando, they used the same income level, but also focused on women who were 25 years old or older.

“We would target this group because typically, they are the ones who are going to be planning the family vacations,” said Mason.

The duo presented three different breakdowns for Atlanta, each using a $100,000 budget based on last year's expenditures. Each media budget considered the $30,000 allocated for local businesses and festivals and the rest would be used for digital billboards or Comcast advertising, Facebook, and Google adwords—key words that will bring up search results related to Franklin.

The main focus in the first two budgets was the digital billboards which saw a $55,000 allocation in the first budget and $35,000 in the second. The billboards would rotate messages with six other advertisers and would likely be around ten seconds of advertisements. The boards would be centralized on the I- 85 corridor between Norcross and Buford and the Cumming, Ga., area just outside of Atlanta.

According to Mason, the board that will be directly on I-85 will garner 2.5 million impressions in a four-week period.

“Basically for each impression, it will cost less than a penny,” said Mason. “Each time eyes look at that board, it's less than a penny. The ad will get over a thousand plays a day.”

“And these boards are convenient. We're not paying for the work to hang new messages,” added Maddox. “They can change it easily, there's no production costs. We've also made sure that they are where they can be seen, not off from the road and behind trees.”

Moving on to budgets three and four, the pair outlined an approach that would use advertising through Comcast Cable instead of the billboards. Dispersing detailed plans to the board and those in attendance, they were able to describe the frequency that spots would be seen by viewers on channels like HGTV, the Food Network, CNN, ESPN, etc... The two leaned away from using TV spots based on the changing media landscape.

“We do believe billboards are the better option because of the increasing number of people that use DVR,” said Mason. “People fast forward. Also, we can't afford to play our ads during ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ If we had a bigger budget then absolutely.”

As a final recommendation, Mason and Maddox recommended that the board go with the second budget that they presented for the Atlanta area that would use $35,000 for billboards, $15,000 for Facebook, and $20,000 for Google Adwords.

“I want to suggest that you choose to focus on Atlanta,” said Mason. “It's close. We're the closest set of mountains. We're their first stop, so let's get them to stop and stay in Franklin. People there already know about Franklin so we don't have to educate them about it like we would have to with people in Orlando. The most important thing we need to focus on is advertising outside of Franklin so we can bring visitors into Franklin.”

Since two members of the TDA were absent from the meeting, the board chose to continue the meeting until Tuesday, June 18, to consider the information that was given by the Premiere Marketing representatives.


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