A Slice of the Good Life: Philadelphia--Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Company

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Francine Feldman, vice president of partnerships and planning at the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Company (GPTMC), starts her day at 9 a.m., literally inside one of her customers' sites, a Center City Sofitel. Today, however, Feldman is not at the hotel for a customer visit; instead the Sofitel is the setting for an internal GPTMC business breakfast to map out some marketing plans. 

The GPTMC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create marketing campaigns that perpetuate the brand image of the city and its surrounding areas, and to make the region attractive for overnight visitors. In effect, it's the city of Philadelphia's marketing department. The GPTMC's "customers" are primarily local merchants, attractions, and hotels; the GPTMC's goal is to make them known throughout the world. 

During the breakfast meeting, which includes President and CEO Meryl Levitz and advertising and promotions associate Alison Christmann, the team discussed ongoing promotional campaigns and briefs Levitz on the status of future marketing and cross-promotion campaigns that are currently being implemented.

Back in her office by 10, Feldman meets there with her staff, which includes Christmann and Kristen Goral, an advertising and media associate (apart from a few executives, the GPTMC does not believe in titles). The three are charged with creating marketing promotions surrounding the GPTMC's radio airtime buys.

"Since these radio spots are in conjunction with a partnership with the Knowledge Industry Partnership, which hopes to convince high school students to come to college in the area, we have to decide which radio stations will reach the right audience, and which promotions will get the best response," Christmann says.

The team crafts the specifics of a contest, in which high school students can win a trip to Philadelphia and check out schools while attending events and shopping in the area. Based on an ongoing series of GPTMC partnerships and cross-promotions, the team itemizes the types of prizes to include: hotel accommodations, train transportation, tickets at high-profile area music venues, etc.

"The radio spots are aimed at getting students to 'declare your major' in Philadelphia, but we also want to show them that Philadelphia is a major destination," Feldman says.

Following the 90-minute promotion meeting Feldman takes some time to proof promotional copy and ads that will run in area newspapers like the Philadelphia Inquirer that advertise events going on at the Philadelphia Zoo. Feldman is not only proofing for grammar and factual consistency, but also for brand consistency. Feldman says that ensuring that the brand image of Philadelphia as "The Place That Loves You Back" is an important part of designing and presenting promotions and other public relations materials.

The rest of Feldman's morning is spent on the phone with various GPTMC partners and customer clients. One call, with the newly built Lincoln Financial Stadium in south Philadelphia, centers around the GPTMC and the venue working together on a promotion to get people coming in to the area for an upcoming Bruce Springsteen concert to stay overnight in the area.

"Since there are two back-to-back concerts," Feldman tells a representative of the venue, "we'd like to do a cross-promotion where we get people coming for the weekend to stay here and see the sights when they are not at the performance."

In addition to planning outward-bound promotions, Feldman's department is also responsible for tracking all requests for information. At noon Feldman holds a fulfillment meeting with Goral to see which channels receive the most traffic.

Aside from reviewing the numbers of requests and the cost of responding to each request via each channel (phone inquiry, Web download, and reader-response cards from magazines), Feldman and Goral are trying to tweak their reports to more accurately depict channel traffic.

"It says here that we had zero Web leads this month," Goral notes, "but that is misleading, because we have another chart for those who downloaded our travel planner from the Web, and that number is near 1,000." Taking time to rectify misleading reports is one of the headaches that seem to go hand in hand with maintaining a homegrown marketing automation solution.

Feldman spends the rest of her day with her staff, reviewing other marketing materials and conducting phone interviews with media partners, but for Sharon Rossi, GPTMC's vice president of advertising, and Matthew Rumain, an associate in the research and advertising departments, the day is just starting to pick up. 

Rossi and Rumain spend nearly an hour discussing plans for ongoing advertising campaigns. The GPTMC has created a cooperative advertising system, wherein the GPTMC buys a large ad space and local companies can purchase a portion of it. Rossi sees the cooperative campaigns as a good way for smaller companies to get noticed in large publications, ones they might not be able to afford buying ads in individually.

"The [cooperative] ads help people recognize that the area has all these great things to do and see, and places it under one destination brand, much like the GPTMC's mission in general," Rossi says. She admits that Philadelphia's location--sandwiched between Boston, New York, and Baltimore/D.C.--makes her job even harder. "Could we have picked tougher competition?" Rossi jokes.

At about 2:15 the conversation switches to charting the status of ad space buys for the cooperative advertising campaign. "Newspapers aren't selling," Rumain notes, as the pair try to figure out ways to get more partners involved in the cooperative ad campaigns.

"Well, it's going to be tougher than the magazines like AAA World [which has a circulation of 2.3 million, Rossi notes later], since the magazines sit around for a while, but the newspapers are in the garbage by the end of the day, so none of the buyers feel they're getting value," Rossi says.

After nearly two hours of brainstorming the pair reviews some ad deadlines and traffics some ad insertions before Rossi meets with a freelance graphic designer at 4 p.m. to discuss the GPTMC's annual report design and layout.

Following the design meeting, the remainder of the day is spent checking Rossi's schedule for the coming weeks, making sure that the events Rossi attends and meetings she has planned are all the most beneficial to one main goal: permeating a unique brand awareness of Philadelphia, its countryside, and all that the region offers. 

Why CRM?

Francine Feldman, Sharon Rossi, and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Company marketing and advertising team use CRM to:

  • create consistent brand imagery
  • track tourist and partner inquiries via the Web and telephone
  • track the effectiveness of the reader-response media campaigns
  • reach out to area merchants to get them involved in cooperative ad buys

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