Friday, October 12, 2012

Winter marketing campaign to launch Oct. 15

Sun Valley Marketing Alliance to tighten summer ad budget

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Marketing Alliance board members Wendy Jaquet, left, and Jake Peters, right, discuss regional marketing efforts at an organization board meeting Thursday. Arlene Schieven, president of the Marketing Alliance, center, looks on. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Sun Valley Marketing Alliance’s $250,000 winter marketing campaign to promote the Sun Valley area outside of Blaine County will launch Oct. 15.

The winter campaign’s theme is “Searching for Sun Valley,” Arlene Schieven, the organization’s president and chief marketing officer, said during a board meeting Thursday. Schieven said the campaign will focus on marketing the Sun Valley area as a relatively unknown but incredible place.

This diamond-in-the-rough approach will be backed up by a recently produced promotional video that was screened during the meeting. In the video, Greg Randolph, the Marketing Alliance’s director of public relations and social media, asks many people in Seattle if they have heard of Sun Valley. Most of the people interviewed reply that they have not. At least one interviewee responds, “Sun Valley, California?”

Schieven said a recent study conducted by the Marketing Alliance states that only 1 percent of skiers in California have heard of Sun Valley. The board members agreed that one of the organization’s goals for this fiscal year is to increase that number.

“We’re kind of lonely,” Randolph says to a California man in the video. “We’re hoping you might come and visit us.”

Beginning Oct. 15, people interested in viewing the video will be able to do so online at

Schieven said the winter campaign will not be affected by a $100,000 funding cut to the Marketing Alliance approved Aug. 16 by the city of Sun Valley, the organization’s second largest contributor after the city of Ketchum.

However, she said this summer’s campaign will suffer a $20,000 decrease—from $85,000 to $65,000—due to the Marketing Alliance’s new budget constraints, though that’s not as drastic a cut as she had anticipated.

“We were originally going to have to reduce spending on the summer campaign to $30,000,” she said.

That step was avoided due to an Oct. 1 decision by Ketchum to increase its contribution to the Marketing Alliance by $25,000 in an attempt to partially offset Sun Valley’s funding cut. Sun Valley Co. offered to match that amount, limiting the Marketing Alliance’s net funding loss for fiscal 2013 to $50,000. The organization’s tentative fiscal 2013 budget lists revenues and expenses at $1,059,600.

Though the fiscal year began Oct. 1, the board has not yet approved the fiscal 2013 budget. During the meeting, board members discussed several amendments to the budget, mainly revolving around the allocation of about $75,000 of carryover money that the organization did not spend during fiscal 2012. 

Schieven recommended that the organization use those funds to increase promotion of the area as a mountain biking haven, to increase promotion of the shoulder seasons, to increase social media advertising and to fund another public relations event such as this summer’s Skip Town campaign—which she said doubled the area’s public relations exposure. She recommended that any leftover money be spent on this winter’s campaign.

The board is expected to approve the budget as soon as the document is updated to include the discussed amendments.

Brennan Rego:

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