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Marketing the Elephant in the Living Room

200520hyvee20view20from20southwest Easy to Build...Hard to Fill

By Michael P. Libbie, Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Iowa is not a "big" state.  There are about three million lucky souls who live in the 55,000 square miles between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and the borders of Minnesota and Missouri.  (I do this geography lesson because so many folks have NO IDEA where in the heck Iowa is.)  You would think that in the nearly two years since the Iowa Events Center opened its doors on the new Wells Fargo Arena and Hy-Vee Hall most every person in the state would have made their way here.  Apparently not so and marketing this facility and what goes on here must be a nightmare.

Two weeks ago I, along with about 800 others, attended the inauguration of the new Governor of Iowa, Chet Culver.  The event was held at the Wells Fargo Arena...home to the Iowa Stars Stars_hockey (AHL franchise of the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers) and lots and lots of other concerts, shows, etc.  The single most heard statement during that event was,  "My, what a lovely (great, fantastic, awesome, wonderful) place this is!"  To which I followed up with the question, "So, first time here?"  You can guess that the majority response was..."Yes!".

One would think that with its large marketing abilities and budget coupled with the huge amounts of money spent by promoters (including the Iowa Stars) to advertise various events, shows and attractions that nearly all of the 3 million of us Iowans would have set foot in the facility these past 18 months.  But...not so. 

So, why this BLOG?  It just goes to show clients and advertisers how difficult and costly it is to attract attention and get a product or service noticed and then used.  I have no idea what budget Laurie Kemmit, the Director of Advertising and Sponsorship, has but I suspect we're well into six figures.  Now...as a business, manufacturer or service provider consider your advertising and marketing budget.  Is it large enough to really make an impact?  And, if you are attempting to "go national" or "go regional is the budget realistic?  Basic questions...no?

Thanks to the Downtown Community Alliance for the Stars Photo!