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Wrightsville Beach
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Marketing committee talks large events, budget 

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Following back-to-back weekends featuring the Carolina Cup and the Wrightsville Beach Waterman Festival, the Wrightsville Beach Marketing Advisory Committee made a request to be informed earlier about large events making plans in Wrightsville.

As a result of some negative views expressed about the size of the Carolina Cup, Blockade Runner Beach Resort general manager and committee member Nicolas Montoya asked to discuss the committee’s ability to advise event organizers further in advance. Montoya also said the committee should have more advance notice of the events to better market them and control the perception of the events.

“We all need to be on the same page and if we are not, or don’t put out a good image of these large events, the [Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen] may begin to view them as a negative thing,” Montoya said.

If the committee was informed of future events further in advance it could also serve in an advisory role to event organizers if there were two large or similar events planned for the same time frame, Montoya added.

“That way the events calendar would start to look cleaner and not overwhelming for the infrastructure,” he said.

The board of aldermen liaison to the marketing committee, Alderwoman Lisa Weeks, said she would ask the board and parks and recreation program supervisor Katie Ryan about including the marketing committee earlier in the event planning process.

With a budget of recommended marketing strategies and tactics nearly $130,000 more than the marketing committee’s $237,503 annual budget, the committee will have an upcoming decision about what to cut.

Clean Design branding and design agency media lead Tom Hickey said one of the new components of the recommended budget would be a campaign in Charlotte including outdoor billboards.

Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau executive vice president of marketing Shawn Braden said Charlotte is an area beginning to outperform Raleigh in terms of traffic on the Wilmington and Beaches tourism website.

“Raleigh is so saturated with all of our competitors like the Crystal Coast whereas we are not really seeing too many in the Charlotte area,” Braden said.

As for the social media marketing budget, French West Vaughan account director Leah Knepper said the biggest change would be using MomentFeed, a social media tool that will allow her agency to harvest all of the social media content relevant to Wrightsville Beach without having to rely on visitors using the appropriate tags or hashtags.

Knepper said the cost for MomentFeed would be $1,500-$2,000 per year for each of the four Wilmington and Beaches municipalities.

With such large cuts to be made to the recommended budget, Braden said she would supply the committee with a trimmed recommended budget formed by her agency, Clean Design and French West Vaughan before the committee’s next meeting June 10.

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