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November 9, 2016
Where to Spend those Hard-Earned Economic Development Media Dollars
Marla Forbes

Having just returned from a wonderful weekend in New York, I was struck by the Las-Vegas-style media onslaught of Times Square.

Two items stood out in my mind – and not in the Square. This is why.

First – Chicago Ideas Week appeared on one of the hundreds of electronic billboards. Being from Chicago, this immediately caught my eye.

Second – when I held the position of Chief Marketing Officer for Illinois’ Department of Commerce, I was approached by a friendly billboard salesman for one of the hundreds of these Times Square billboards, to advertise Illinois as a place to do business.

Times Square is a cluttered place for advertising.

It was a very intriguing offer. But in retrospect, I’m very glad we opted out.

How could we have possibly competed with the long-legged beauties of Victoria’s Secret, movie stars, and of course, the omnipresent Rolex watch? Do the same people that buy bras, panties and watches also go to Chicago Ideas Week or look for states in which to locate their business?

I would proffer that perhaps a very tiny percentage do – but who knows? And who knows are the operative words because how could you ever measure who is seeing your message and what impact it is having, in Times Square?

So does this mean, that as an economic development agency, you should never advertise in Times Square or Las Vegas or any other “sexy” market that has millions of eyeballs available to view your message?

The answer is dependent upon everything else that you are doing.

When in doubt — look to your marketing plan.

If you have a strategic, cohesive, well thought-out, integrated economic development marketing plan that INCLUDES media strategy and spending, it could very well be the right place for you.

If you are buying media on a one-off basis because the numbers seem just too good to pass up – then perhaps you should think about where those media dollars could be better spent, as well as measured, for impact.

For help with a media plan or just to answer questions you may have about the most effective way to spend your media budget, contact me today.