West Bend BID members seek ideas for marketing the downtown

By RALPH CHAPOCO - Daily News

Oct. 11, 2017

With the end of the year getting closer, representatives from the Business Improvement District are formulating ideas for how they want to allocate money to promote downtown West Bend.

Members from the Improvement District are seeking additional information following their Oct. 3 meeting when Jeanne Renick from the Diva Group asked for their thoughts regarding future advertising activities to promote downtown businesses.

“I think it should go wherever it is going to generate the most amount of revenue and traffic for the retailers and what is going on in the downtown,” President Mike Husar said responding to Renick’s inquiry. “That is my opinion of it. At the end of the day, I think we want to see thriving businesses down there.”

Renick’s presentation began with an overview of the 2017 advertising activities by the Diva Group using $11,500 allocated to them by the Improvement District. A majority of the money, about $6,500, was spent on general advertising that included segments on WTMJ4 throughout the year. There was another $2,000 for two Morning Blend segments and print advertisements in several magazines, including Visit Washington County Guide.

The remaining amount was used to promote the Diva Group. About $2,000 was used Events such as the Spring Bling and Fall Diva. Another $1,000 was used for general marketing.

This is the second year that board members providing funding to the Diva Group to promote the downtown. During 2016, Diva members were given $5,000 for many of the same activities, such as Morning Blend segments, marketing events and general advertising.

Group members petitioned for additional dollars for this year to expand their capabilities.

“Can you give us any numbers in particular that say what the Diva nights, as far as how much revenue is brought in from those particular nights?” Board Member Peggy Fisher asked.

Renick said businesses who may have benefitted from the event may not want to disclose their revenues during the event because they are privately owned, but estimated the sales and customer traffic are higher than times without the events.

“Going back to Peggy’s question, I don’t think we want specifics, but is there any way to get a range, when they do these Diva nights, what the uptick is on traffic count and revenue that is coming in?” Husar asked. “Is it roughly 100,000? Is it 50,000? I think it would be interesting to see what is happening with those and where our money is going.”

He also requested feedback from retailers regarding the television commercials, suggesting Renick send a survey to gauge the sentiments of business owners.

The numbers are important to determine the effectiveness of the activities and the efficiency of the dollars spent because some are wondering if it is worth the money.

“When I watched the people that came in, I didn’t think there were that many people that came,” board member Herb Tennies said referring to the Diva event. “They were carrying some bags downtown and there was a puzzle on their face like, ‘what is next? What do we do?’” He suggested an activity at a prominent location such as Old Settler’s Park as an anchor for the event.

Another suggestion was that both Diva Group members and those from the Improvement District create a marketing plan that outlines how the advertising dollars will be spent.