Saturday, September 15, 2012

As we see it, Council should be certain about marketing firm hire

There are some useful questions place marketers should be prepared to answer when presenting marketing plans to the public. - Ed.

Hudson City Council members are divided over whether the city should invest $254,000 over three years in a marketing firm to brand and promote the city. We side with the members who have expressed reservations about the investment.

The city's economic development department, led by Economic Development Director Chuck Wiedie, has already proven itself capable by streamlining the city's approval process to make it more welcoming for developers. It would seem the next logical project for this department would be to brand and promote the city to interested businesses.

If the city is willing to give an outside marketing firm three years on this project, couldn't it show the same amount of patience with its own department, which is responsible for engaging existing businesses and welcoming new ones?

Would a marketing firm do that much better than city staff? How soon would the city see a return on the investment? If the city is able to attract businesses, how much could be credited to the marketing firm and how much to the recent efforts of the city and volunteers in the community? Council recently put off roadwork in part because of financial concerns. Would taxpayers consider hiring a marketing firm a greater investment than fixing roads?

As we see it, Council should be confident that all the questions related to hiring a marketing firm are fully answered before making a three-year, $254,000 commitment.

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