Marketing plans for smoking ban, bridge repairs

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Public money to be spent on watch giveaway

How to properly market and control the information surrounding the recently passed Wrightsville Beach smoking ban and the bridgework on the Heide Trask Drawbridge that will continue into the fall of 2013 was the first topic discussed at the Wrightsville Beach Marketing Advisory Committee meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 15. 

Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti said the board of aldermen discussed the production of a short informational video about the smoking ban with ocean rescue director Dave Baker as the spokesperson. WBMAC members felt the video would serve as a useful tool to inform visitors before they ventured to the beach for the first time since the ban was enacted. New Hanover County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau executive vice president of marketing, Shawn Braden, said the smoking ban video could be added to the Wrightsville Beach area of interest clips project on which the CVB is currently working. 

For the continued bridgework repair to the Heide Trask Drawbridge, the WBMAC requested the town of Wrightsville Beach send overnight closing alerts and other bridge updates to the beach’s businesses, hotels and rental agencies. Instead of letting the town announce those updates to the public via social media, the WBMAC felt it would be in the best interest of all to allow the individual businesses to control the messages they post on their own social media outlets about the bridgework. 

The winter sweepstakes promotion for Wrightsville Beach was also discussed. Clean Design, the CVB’s contracted marketing firm, will launch the promo within the week. Committee member Sue Bulluck used $3,000 from the WBMAC’s budget that was allocated for the campaign to leverage a set of his and her Tag Heuer watches from Reeds Jewelers to be used in the sweepstakes that will last from Jan. 21 to March 17. The sweepstakes will be tied to discounted room rates in a push to acquire more visitors to Wrightsville Beach in those months with the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Holiday Inn Resort, Sandpeddler Inn and Suites, Shell Island Resort, Summer Sands Suites, Intracoastal Realty and Wrightsville Sands Realty participating. Because there cannot be any purchase required with entry in the sweepstakes, the discounted room rates will be advertised first with the sweepstakes offer attached, Braden said. 

In addition to the sweepstakes, an increased social media footprint was another campaign suggested by Clean Design and French West Vaughan, the CVB’s contracted public relations firm, for Wrightsville Beach’s future marketing strategy. Although Wrightsville Beach already has a social media presence with the Visit Wrightsville Beach Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, French West Vaughan’s Natalie Best said Wrightsville is falling behind and that social media is the best advertising outlet for its budget.

Braden said the challenge facing Wrightsville Beach’s social media campaign is creating new ways to engage and recruit Facebook, Twitter and YouTube users since the current interaction has grown stale. 

Alluding to the reemerging Wrightsville Beach Chamber of Commerce, Sue Bulluck said there needs to be some vehicle that triggers more interaction from the business community on these social media sites to cultivate the social media following Wrightsville Beach needs. 


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