Marketing slogan for Marble Falls gets scrutiny during workshop

MARBLE FALLS — Any marketing campaign to describe Marble Falls needs to continue emphasizing the city as a destination hub in the Hill Country, City Council members told an Austin-based advertising firm.

During a Sept. 4 council workshop with Door No. 3, city leaders raised some concerns about the firm’s marketing campaign to sell Marble Falls, which includes the motto, “In the middle of everywhere.”

Mayor George Russell recounted a story that showed how some people can be confused by the slogan.

“I was up at Russo’s (Restaurant) and there was a couple sitting nearby who were talking about Marble Falls and one said, ‘I don’t get this ‘middle of everywhere,'” Russell said.

Door No. 3, an Austin-based advertising and marketing firm, has been working with the city and the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce for about three years to help promote the area and its attractions.

However, according to the mayor,  the couple soon began making connections between Marble Falls and its proximity to other Hill Country attractions.

“Then they pulled out this map and started making lines to all the things they wanted to do,” he said. “The lines all laid over Marble Falls. I think we need to push that concept. (Visitors) can come stay here in Marble Falls and use it as a place to go out and see all the other places and things in the area.”

The motto reflects Marble Falls’ easy access to other areas, Councilman Rich Lewis added.

“We’re a destination hub,” he said.

Also during the presentation, Door No. 3 officials said the firm plans to continue promoting Marble Falls mainly using the Internet and social media.

“This year we took some really good strides. I think we’re going to keep going down that path,” said Suzanne Kyba, vice president and director of account services for Door No. 3.

“I think it’s been a good campaign,” said Chamber Executive Director Bill Rives. “What I see is the big picture. Marble Falls and the surrounding area have some really wonderful attractions and events, but if you don’t have a way to tell that story then it doesn’t go very far.”

The firm will rely on trackable marketing methods including e-blasts — or email notifications of events or deals to viewers who have indicated they want that service — and online advertising, said Zach Cochran, media director of Door No. 3.

Over the past year, Cochran said the firm has seen a 47 percent increase in visitors for Marble Falls-related Web traffic with a 50 percent jump in unique visitors — or those checking out sites for the first time.

“It’s about 34,000 ‘clicks’ or leads,” he said.

Councilwoman Sharon Pittard asked how all those clicks, e-blasts and Web visits translate into actual visits to Marble Falls.

Hotel stays have experienced increases during the last three years, said Christian Fletcher, executive director of the Economic Development Corp.

“That’s during a bad recession,” added City Manager Ralph Hendricks. “That’s more evidence that what Door No. 3 is doing is working.”

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