Eagle: What’s the message, where’s the money?
EAGLE, Colorado –Is Eagle the state’s next mountain biking hot spot? Is the community a family camping bonanza? How about selling Eagle as having the same amenities Vail is famous for, at a lower price point?
And once the community settles on a marketing identity, who will pick up the tab to disseminate the message?
Members of the recently formed One Eagle organization approached the Eagle Town Board last week to discuss the ins and outs of marketing the community.
“We have been talking about marketing Eagle since day one,” said One Eagle president Doug Seabury. However, as the organization matures, members have come to realize that the dollars associated with a full-fledged plan are a bit out of their reach.
Seabury told the board that One Eagle currently has 75 paid business and community members and has staged a number of successful special events. But in researching a marketing plan for the town, the dollars are daunting. He estimates a marketing plan, that starts from scratch and provides an initial media buy, will cost somewhere in the range of $50,000. That’s out of One Eagle’s reach, Seabury noted.
Noting that it’s a tight budget year and the town has already had to lay off three employees, Eagle officials noted they weren’t in a position to pick up that expense either. But they did float a few ideas for possible funding.
“We need to come up with some fund-raising ideas. We all need to come together,” said town board member Roxie Deane. She suggested an increase in the town’s business license fee as one possible funding avenue.
Currently, the town charges $50 annual for a business license fee and there are more than 300 businesses in the community that pay that fee annually. Deane noted if the town only kept a small part of that revenue to pay for administrative costs and then increased the fee anywhere from $75 to $100, roughly $10,000 to $20,000 could be generated annually for marketing.
Representatives from One Eagle reacted positively to that suggestion and offered to develop alternatives of their own.
“We need an identity,” said John Shipp, owner of The Dusty Boot. “It is the most important thing, as an owner, that we can do. We need activity.”
Mayor Ed Woodland noted he didn’t want the town of Eagle to take over responsibilities for marketing the community. But, at the same time, he said the town would be open to partnering with other organizations to make something happen.
“We want skin in the game from everyone involved in the marketing,” said Woodland.
Town board member Scot Hunn noted the town has already made a considerable investment in marketing Eagle, in the form of Broadway improvements. He argued that getting out the message to shop in town is important to maximize that investment.
For the immediate future, the town board agreed to consider the One Eagle marketing request as part of its community request budget. Last year, Eagle’s entire community request funding was only $75,000 and in this tight economy, those dollars won’t increase and may even decrease.
“This year in the community request budget, there is going to be winners and losers. That’s the cold hard truth of it,” said Woodland.
But while the marketing proposal may be part of the community fund request for 2010, town board members noted they want a more permanent funding source for such efforts. The One Eagle members agreed, and noted that if a successful marketing plan is launched, it will eventually pay for itself.
“There is no doubt in my mind that marketing sustains itself. The more sales tax we generate, the better for all of use,” said Seabury.