The Fall is Over, so how did the White Sale go?

by December 2, 2008 • 1 comment

I suppose it has been quite some time since I’ve shared a highly opinionated piece on how we market our area.  Maybe too much criticism, or maybe I’ve been really busy, but nevertheless here we go.

Right to the point.

The Extended White Sale, as it has been dubbed was an extension of the “Wildly Successful” Summer White Sale.  It was decided that the Summer White Sale had gone so amazingly well, that it was prudent to extend the promotions into the fall, so people could download coupons to Shipwreck Island Waterpark that actually closed first week in September.  Please note the sarcasm.

The numbers.

It total, the entire campaign saw 95,780 visits on www.pcbwhitesale.com (now forwarded to visitpanamacitybeach.com) and 23,890 total coupon downloads.  The entire cost rang in at a whopping $575,000.  That’s right, the comma IS in the right place.  Looking at previously reported numbers, that would leave 15,718 visits and 3,945 coupon downloads for the Extended White Sale.  The extension cost $80,000.

I would really love to see a breakdown of what cost what – I’m wondering how the bill got up to almost $600k.

So, with the total coupon downloads being at 23,890 and a total cost of $575,000, the TDC paid $24 per coupon download.  The TDC paid 24 dollars per coupon downloaded.

I have an interesting question:  How far would the businesses get if THEY were given $24 for every coupon of theirs downloaded?  Just curious how you think they would have fared had they been given that money, instead of a creative agency.  They could do with it whatever they please – keep it on the books, use it for advertising, use it to subsidize lower rates for everyone that comes in their doors, whatever.

I mean, what if Shipwreck Island was to use that money to subsidize entrance fees giving the first random/unannounced number of people each day Monday – Wednesday (or whatever notoriously slow part of the week during the summer) 50% off all summer long.  Imagine the lines of people that would be at the front gates in the morning and all the people that would stay and pay full price because they were already there with the kids.

What if Captain Jacks used their share to have Buy One Get One Free Tuesday Nights all summer long.  How many more people would eat there when they were in town.

The ideas are only limited by your creativity (I have little, I know).

Look, I think we all learned a hard lesson this year.  With that huge sucking noise we hear coming out of Washington as the economy falls more and more into a recession is effecting all of us – we are all scurrying to keep money in our pockets to pay the bills.

I believe rash decisions were made that turned out to be bad decisions, and hopefully next season, we will have a greater understanding as to how we need to move forward with all marketing campaigns.

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1 Kirk Lancaster December 3, 2008 at 9:37 am

I think there would be a Grand Lagoon Tea Party if the TDC were to dole out bed tax dollars to non-collectors, but other than those ideas, I really appreciate your article. More importantly, I hope Bed Tax Collectors read and appreciate it.

The saddest part of this article to me is not that the ad campaign was a huge waste, it’s that the TDC leaders won’t admit it, or even worse, don’t even recognize it.

They say it’s wildly successful, and by golly that’s how the local media is going to report it. But Bed Tax collectors are smart enough to know that numbers don’t lie, and these numbers (dollars) could have clearly been spent in better ways for our tourism development.

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