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SHOULD CITY COUNCIL BE REQUIRED TO KNOW MARKETING WHEN HANDING OVER $24 MILLION IN AD TAXES?

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Should City Council and The Mayor Hold MBACC Accountable For A Measured Return On Our Taxpayer Investment To Their Organization?

 MyrtleBeachSC.com has pointed out several key errors of thought in how MBACC approaches marketing for the city of Myrtle Beach.   The biggest mistake made by MBACC, however,  has been to bottle-neck most all marketing and drive all traffic into MBACC’s own limited platform – VisitMyrtleBeach.com.

A smart Myrtle Beach City Council will demand distribution on diversified platforms with more and more consumer created brand stories, more non traditional consumer created content, and more discussions and engagement allowed on all channels, even when that engagement is not always the kind of comments and discussions MBACC prefers.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber Of Commerce held its 2017 Legislative Luncheon yesterday, November 29, 2017.

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One of the key legislative objectives stated at the luncheon was “SEE RENEWAL OF TOURISM DEVELOPMENT FEE (TDF) IN CITY OF MYRTLE BEACH.”

The luncheon was attended by a delegation of local S.C. legislators that included: Senator Stephen Goldfinch, Representative Alan D. Clemmons, Representative Gregory Duckworth, Representative Russell Fry, Representative Lee Hewitt, and newly elected Representative Tim McGinnis of District 56.

Each of these S.C. legislators are strong supporters of MBACC and the tourist tax.

When the TDF was first enacted in 2009, the landscape of marketing looked entirely different.  Technology and distribution channels have changed that marketing landscape.

The Tourist Tax  is up for renewal in 2018 by either a five out of seven council/mayor vote or the tax can be put on the ballot for a voter referendum.  One key question residents continue to ask MyrtleBeachSC.com,

“Since the Mayor and City Council hand over more than $30 million annually in marketing funds to MBACC,  shouldn’t they be required to understand the mechanics of modern marketing?”

It has become clear that the former crop of incumbents were not as well informed as they could have been.  Voters this election agreed that the accountability bar for MBACC was set very low.

MyrtleBeachSC.com has pointed out several key errors of thought in how MBACC approaches marketing for the city of Myrtle Beach.   The biggest mistake made by MBACC, however,  has been to bottle-neck all marketing and drive all traffic into MBACC’s own limited platform – VisitMyrtleBeach.com.

Says David Beebe, Marriott Resorts VP of Global Content Marketing, “How do I connect with my consumers, deliver them value first, and then ask for the sale. And it goes back even further than that, it’s that people to people business. With so much technology and automation and all these things happening, at the end of the day you want to do business with people you like.

Beebe adds, “What voice do you want to own?

While MBACC has primarily focused on it’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com platform, Marriott focuses on its message across many platforms expressed by the company and its customers alike.   AND THIS IS THE KEY DIFFERENCE.

Marketing experts agree that MBACC should be focusing on how it tells the most engaging brand stories about Myrtle Beach.  Secondarly,  MBACC should focus on how it tells the most engaging brand stories for its members.

Perhaps focusing on converting TDF dollars into private funding sources through the leverage of one distribution channel (VISITMYRTLEBEACH.COM) has kept MBACC from reaching the potential necessary for the city of Myrtle Beach.

Engagement distribution channels with wide appeal include Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat among many more.  The conversations there can not be controlled, however.   Brand stories can not truly live in controlled environments moving forward.  MBACC will need to give up total control of all messaging and focus on the brand story it wants to tell.

GOOD NEWS – THE BRAND WILL THRIVE

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Research shows that when MBACC makes telling compelling brand stories a higher priority than converting TDF funds into private source funding through VisitMyrtleBeach.com, the brand will actually take off.  The value of the domain VisitMyrtleBeach.com, will certainly take a hit as traffic will be dispersed among many different distribution channels. However the city of Myrtle Beach will see dynamic growth in new tourists.

Younger tourists refuse to marry into only one distribution brand domain product. Many of them exclusively use their favored platforms and will not connect with a domain like VisitMyrtleBeachc.com.   They want to discuss the brand across many different platforms, and especially their favorite ones on social.

In an ocean full of platforms, VisitMyrtleBeach.com is simply one media platform.  It is not the key to Myrtle Beach tourism.  Its influence will continue to be less significant as technology changes and newer and newer engagement platforms come online.  Marketing brand experts agree: MBACC should not dedicate over $30 million to this one platform, when that sum makes up the majority of its marketing dollars.

A smart Myrtle Beach City Council will demand distribution on diversified platforms with more and more consumer created brand stories, more non traditional consumer created content, and more discussions and engagement allowed on all channels, even when that engagement is not always the kind of comments and discussions MBACC prefers.

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