Downtown West Bend group approves almost $13K for Diva Group

By Ralph Chapoco

Dec. 9, 2018

WEST BEND — Representatives from the Downtown West Bend Association and the Diva Group will receive the funding allocation they have requested to the continue with their advertising and promotions initiatives for the coming year.

During Tuesday’s meeting, members of the Downtown West Bend Business Improvement District voted to approve their request for almost $13,000 that will fund a range of activities, from advertisements in different publications to the sponsorship of Diva Group events.

As part of approving the funding, board members requested shifting the funding from several items to pay for television exposure on the Morning Blend segments they had done in prior years.

Anna Jensen from the Downtown West Bend Association, along with Jeanne Renick of the Diva Group proposed the plan to district members.

“Mixed-use buildings downtown create more tax revenue for a city than the box-box retailers, and more of the money stays within our community,” Renick said. “The experience that people have is what drives them to keep coming back downtown. Anyone can buy anything at any time of the day or night on the internet nowadays. The personal experiences they are having are what keeps them coming back and establishes the relationships with the business owner.”

She provided an overview of the marketing strategy throughout the years, starting with Morning Blend segments highlighting the downtown and Diva events in 2016. For 2017, they paid for commercials that focused on the city and what West Bend had to offer. At the beginning of 2018, they isolated the campaign to local area.

For 2019, they will remain local but expand to other locations within Washington County as well as Ozaukee County.

According to their proposal, they recommended investing $2,000 to create a walking map of the downtown to guide visitors to various retailers along Main Street and other areas. There is another $2,000 allocated to sponsorships for Diva Group events, as well as another $2,000 for downtown events and promotions.

They also plan to purchase advertisements in plays and music programs for $1,000, similar to what they had done in 2018.

“The plays and programs, these are two ads we ran this year, the Kettle Moraine Symphony, the Schauer Arts Center, the Slinger High School and continue the ads in the Park and Rec.”

They also planning promotions at the Washington County Fair, boosting posts on Facebook, continuing with signage at the Kettle Moraine Ice Center, along with placing advertisements in various magazines such as Biz Times and the Biz Journal for the remaining dollars.

In total, about 69 percent of the allocation will market the downtown and the remainder would be shared between the Diva Group and Downtown events and promotions.

Board members offered several suggestions for improving the proposal, which include shifting money in the plan to other initiatives.

“I would like to see more advertising in magazine or television and eliminate the walking map,” board president Mike Husar said. “Last year you did 3,000, now you are going down to 2,000. I think we could do more to advertise or even put some of that money into Facebook advertising, Instagram advertising or social media, as opposed to a paper copy of something.”

He suggested an app on the phone, but others preferred allowing for both.

“I think reallocating $2,000 within that budget somehow and getting exposure to the Morning Blend may not be a bad idea,” board member Brian Culligan said.