City to expand marketing efforts


Staff Writer

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Rocky Mount City Council is considering expanding its public affairs office to keep up with major trends in the marketing industry.

While there's a difference between marketing and communications, the two should fall under the same roof, Councilman Lamont Wiggins said during discussion on the matter at last week's Committee of the Whole meeting.

The council made sound, solid marketing a budget priority at its recent retreat.

Right now the city has Public Affairs Manager Tameka Kenan-Norman, a part-time communications specialist, a videographer and an administration assistant.

To market the city effectively, the council needs to add a full-time communications specialist, a marketing coordinator, a graphic designer, a digital communications specialist and a TV-19 production assistant, according to a presentation by Kenan-Norman.

While some of the council members appeared interested in shopping out some marketing responsibilities, Councilman Reuben Blackwell said the city needs to maintain a level of in-house competence in fields like graphic design.

Marketing is becoming a bigger part of public affairs, requiring more time and effort. The city is marketing in several mediums, but to keep up the pace more staff will be needed, Kenan-Norman said.

“In order for a message to resonate with someone they have to hear it eight times,” Kenan-Norman said.

The city advertises with the Telegram and the News and Observer because daily readership is still strong and it's a good way to get the city's message out. The city also uses billboards because of a total of nearly 150,000 combined views between vinyl and digital billboards, Kenan-Norman said..

The city has increased its television advertising, adding Viamedia and Spectrum to Suddenlink for a total of 660 spots a month. The city also advertises with seven radio stations in the area, often combining radio spots with giveaways.

Social media reaches thousands of people with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube and other sites. A Facebook campaign by the city from December to February reached 279,976 people, engaging 117,470 of them, all according to information provided by city staff.

The city also markets itself at Carolina Mudcats games with gate banners and outfield signs that tout Rocky Mount's museum, planetarium, dog park, sports complex and more. Rocky Mount was a sponsor for the stadium's Star Wars theme night.

Google ads get nearly an estimated 387,000 impressions per month. Insider information is available in text messages by texting CITYBEAT to 55469.

Other mediums include blogs, TV-19 slides, magazines, the city's website and press releases.