One project would cost New London $20,000, the other is free
By Scott Bellile
The economic development committee approved proceeding with two separate projects to bolster New London’s image online: investing in digital marketing and getting the city’s name on the popular mobile app Snapchat.
The committee on April 26 voted unanimously to recommend to city council hiring Clintonville firm My Marketing Director to create online content promoting New London for $19,850. City council will vote on the motion on May 10.
As for Snapchat, the committee chose a design for a proposed Community Geofilter created by two New London High School students. The graphic could be attached to Snapchat users’ photos and videos and would serve as a free way of highlighting New London among Millennials. That doesn’t require council approval.
About $20,000 that the committee had set aside for fixing a billboard along U.S. Highway 45 would instead be spent on producing four online videos about the city through My Marketing Director, if approved by the council.
The two-to-three-minute videos would highlight New London life and industry through interviews with residents, business owners and community leaders. The videos would be produced from June through September and then posted online this fall.
The goal is to raise awareness of New London among potential residents, workers and businesses from outside the city, but a local audience would also be considered. The marketing campaign would also work with New London’s Facebook page and pay-per-click video advertisements on YouTube. My Marketing Director would measure audience analytics.
New London Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laurie Shaw said while the city has the talent to film videos, this time it should just spend the money to let professional marketers deliver results.
“It’s nice to have an expert at something guiding us … at getting the message out that way, and I feel we could learn from them,” Shaw said.
“I could lay out what I think should be our target markets, but [My Marketing Director founder Bill Zeinert] probably knows better than I do what they really should be,” Mayor Gary Henke said.
Committee members through a straw poll chose a proposed Snapchat Geofilter design drawn by student Paris Trumbower. She will edit the graphic to make the lettering more readable and then student Olivia Steingraber will submit it to Snapchat for approval.
The girls proposed four designs and asked the committee to narrow it down to one. Committee members selected a scene depicting trees along the Wolf River with the words “New London Wisconsin” above.
Snapchat is an app where people send “self-destructing” picture and video messages to friends. Snapchat’s Community Geofilters are graphics that users can place on those photos and videos, but only when their phone’s GPS coordinates indicate they’re located where the Geofilter is available.
In this case, the Wolf River graphic would line the bottom of the sender’s photo or video if he or she uses the Geofilter. The Geofilter would be available exclusively to senders located around New London, but any recipient in the world would see it on the sender’s message.
“It’s just a very positive, fun thing for any of the users,” Steingraber told the committee. “It’s exciting for anyone who’s coming into our city for different events.”
The students said Geofilters are commonly used on college campuses and in metropolitan cities.
“The fact that we [would] have a filter in our city makes a lot of people excited,” Trumbower said, “because anybody gets excited when they see a filter, and it just makes them feel like New London is really big.”
Steingraber said her classmates keep asking her when the Geofilter will come out. She also shared her idea with Hortonville students at the Mini Business World event in April.
“They’re like, ‘Oh, you should do that for Hortonville while you’re at it. That’s so awesome,’” Steingraber said. “The age group is like super excited about this.”
Committee member John Faucher said it’s a progressive idea that could work for a demographic New London has struggled to reach.
“It seems like a way for the younger generation to start developing some brand affiliation and loyalty with the city of New London,” Faucher said. “You have a professional image you created and these people are out capturing the essence of life here.”