West Bend Downtown BID allocates marketing budget for 2018
Diva Group and Downtown West Bend Association to get $9,500

By RALPH CHAPOCO - Daily News Staff

Feb. 9, 2018

In a continuation of the discussion from the January meeting, members of the Downtown Business Improvement District have determined they will spend for marketing, but allow others to decide on the specifics of the plan.

Board members approved a measure that would allocate 20 percent of their total budget toward marketing activities, about half of which, $9,500, will be directed toward representatives of the Diva Group and the Downtown West Bend Association for their promotional activities, and the remaining amount will be used to develop a strategy for increasing the tenants in the buildings.

“Nobody is talking about not marketing,” board member Anthony Jasen said. “I don’t understand what is the battle here. We have increased our support toward marketing, I think significantly since I have been on this board. I am sure what the fight is.”

The discussion regarding the marketing allocation featured an intense discussion among board members dating back to the prior month’s session when some members expressed concern regarding the increasing commitment of budget dollars toward promotional activities.

The collaboration with Diva Group members began a couple of years ago when they were given about $5,000 by the BID for promotional activities and to subsidize some of the events they hosted. For 2017, that marketing allocation for the Diva increased to $12,000.

During the January meeting, Anna Jensen, events director for the Downtown West Bend Association, and Diva Group member Jeanne Renick, proposed a budget that was almost $20,000. The amount concerned some, especially Jasen, who believed the budget had increased to a point that was tolerable.

Jasen also questioned whether the money they contributed made a tangible difference for increasing retail activity for the businesses in the downtown. He continuously made references to return on investment. Another member, Herb Tennies, questioned the impact the events had for generating business.

On the opposing side were Brian Culligan and Peggy Fischer, who appeared to support the increase.

The meeting ended with a delay on the measure, with members suggesting Jensen and Renick receive assistance from one of their newest members, Kathleen Murphy, who has a background in marketing.

“We met, and we had to bring Kathy up to speed a little on what has taken place over the last few years, and at that meeting it was really decided that in order to cut apart the proposal we gave you initially, we need to know what truly the amount you want to spend on marketing,” Renick said.

The debate among the board members continued with the same actors entrenched in the views.

“I would like to echo a couple of things that I heard is, ‘the amount for the budget is too high,’” Culligan said. “I would disagree, I think the amount is appropriate. I think that it is appropriate. I think marketing is a huge expense for an organization like ours that has a responsibility for all of the businesses in the downtown.”

In the end, he voted for the measure.

“I am going to second that motion because any money is better than no money,” Culligan said.

<<EARLIER: Downtown West Bend BID board talks upcoming marketing plan