TDC/CVB: $480,000.00…

On Friday afternoon, the TDC and CVB called to order a meeting regarding additional funds added to the summer marketing budget. To recap, the dollars previously spent totaled 1 million dollars and went towards saturating primary targets areas Atlanta, Birmingham and Nashville with an advertising media mix of 40% cable advertising, 30% online, 24% outdoor and 6% magazine. This campaign, to date, has been successful. Dan Rowe, chairman of the TDC, acknowledged this success stating that the daily site traffic to the website has increased three-fold since the start of the campaign and the URL has moved up several thousand places in quantcast rankings.

With so much early success (we haven’t yet seen the complete outcome of results) the board decided to hit the markets harder, considering bolstering the marketing efforts with an additional $500,000. The board was presented three recommendations, one from the current advertising partner Y partnership, one from JB Inc. and a local broadcast recommendation. The recommendations broke down as follows:

Y Partnership Recommendation

  • Extend Cable Buys
    • Nine weeks versus six weeks
    • $215,00
  • Internet TV in AL, TN, KY and Stl, Indy and Cincy
    • 7.2 million impressions, 10x frequency
    • $186,815
  • Local Broadcast TV
    • Knoxville, Lexington, Waco/Bryan
    • 12 Weeks, 90% reach, 10x frequency
    • $73,185

Total Investment = $475,000

JB Inc Recommendation

  • Showcase TV Ad on,,
    • Thirteen Weeks
    • 9.5 million impressions
    • Geo-targeted buys focusing East US & TC
    • $230,000
  • Extend Run of Network Video Banner (TV Spot)
    • Sites TBD – (e.g., Facebook)
    • 2.6 million impressions
    • $30,000

Total Investment = $230,000

Local Broadcast TV recommendation

  • Gray Television – 10 Stations: AL, FL, TN, KY, TX, MS
    • Seventeen Weeks
    • 13.7 million impressions
    • Reach=91.3%, 10.9 frequency
    • Will run on local news, morning shows, and prime-time TV
    • Billfish programming with on air mention during tournament and other times during campaign
    • $165,000 media flight, $25,000 billfish
  • Hoak Television – 3 station in LA – Monroe and Alexandria
    • Twelve Weeks
    • Reach = 91.5% 10.2 Frequency
    • $30,000

Total Investment = $220,000

These were only recommendations as to how the money should be spent and it became instantly apparent that Y-partnership would be the odd-man out. Even Mr. Buddy Wilkes didn’t care for Y’s recommendation saying they came up with, “quick ideas with very little thought” and that they, “didn’t come up with anything creative.” He didn’t have to mention the massive price tag on a less than stellar service that JB Inc and LBTV could produce at half the cost and better results. The recommendation from Y encountered such bad reviews that the overall partnership with them may be in jeopardy. To that point, Mr. Yonnie Patronis added, “This is an opportunity to test the waters with someone else.”

The board decided to go with a combination of JB Inc.’s recommendation and Local Broadcast Television with the caveat that the Local Broadcast TV compress the seventeen weeks to somewhere closer to thirteen.

What  tipped the scales might have been the Billfish tournament marketing. Obviously, the Billfish Tournament is a major draw to our area and can be capitalized on with the target markets. What Gray Television plans to do is have a thirty minute show which showcases the event and the destination, giving Panama City Beach loads of face time including promotional opportunities with sports and weather. Overall, JB Inc.’s and LBTV’s recommendations should make for a good buy.

One interesting tid-bit in the meeting was a quick discussion about marketing to future potential markets like Chicago and NY. With the new airport these areas, which previously had been virtually avoided in terms of marketing, could become gold. If you have analytics you know that NY and CHI rank high on traffic on Panama City Beach sites already. It might not be a bad idea to start early with a great/new/first impression, lathering up new potential vacationers and snowbirds for a trip to PCB.

14 thoughts on “TDC/CVB: $480,000.00…

  1. I think they need to market to a larger market. Everyone in the border states are already coming here. Why not promote in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and the NE? These states have huge populations, but they go to South Florida and they know nothing about the panhandle.


  2. I disagree. While its easy to assume that “everyone” in our feeder markets come here already, that’s just not true. Markets like atlanta and birmingham have performed well for us in the past, and our marketing efforts may have or may have not hit all of the potential visitors.

    Talking to a friend whodoes marketing work here and in atl, he was telling me most of his corporate clients haven’t even heard of us.

    We have to maintain a presence in these markets.


  3. Although I have only finished watching one of the two Focus Groups that the TDC did up in Atlanta, it is clear that most people in Atlanta who are interested in beach vacations are already aware of us. In fact, 100% of the participants had visited PCB. Unfortunately, the focus group made clear that we have very serious image problems.

    The group was asked about Gulf Shores, Destin, Beaches of South Walton, PCB, and Myrtle Beach. They gave PCB the worst favorability rating among these destinations and it wasn’t even close. Negative comments included tacky, kinda like being at a bar with a bunch of drunks, dirty, rednecky, party city, too honky-tonky, and lots of cigarette butts on the beach. On the positive side, they were very complimentary of St. Andrews State Park.

    When asked what type of people they believe go to PCB, the groups answers were equally disturbing. They responded college students, people wanting a cheap vacation, families, bachelor parties, people who want to drink, and young adults who want to party. When asked for clarification about when college students go there, the group explained that they believed PCB was a college student destination all summer long, not just during the spring.


  4. The PCB ads on a premium cable channel (Atlanta markets)- Fox News is just a GREAT commercial. Hopefully the marketing audience of the furure and not spring breakers, hoggers, etc! Just voicing an opinion, as we had a condo trashed on hoggers weekend and cannot be sure who was actually in there. Spring break FOR SURE!!


  5. Just saw the commercial on the Travel channel last night in Atlanta. It was very well done. Made me want to come down to the beach. My family has been down for a month and I am missing being there.


  6. We are gathering great feedback from the beach sports events we have been offering as a “new image” for the area. We had a good number of teams from the Birmingham area for the last tournament that said they loved the competition and the ambience we have created in partnership with Sharky’s. We have other beach sports lined up and believe this could be good timing to help develop the newer image and cultivate Atlanta and other close drivable markets.
    The leagues we created at Sharkys in partnership to offer a trip to play against the AVP in San Francisco is the ONLY location in the state of Florida.
    We see the “hot” opportunity to really show and evolve fun beach sports with healthy competition, camaraderie and companionship to bring ‘new” people to the area.


  7. Thanks for the great report, Cebo. I wish I could have been there. Lots of thoughts on this:

    You mention New York as a top source of web visitors seeking information on Panama City Beach. I have seen them ramp up this year big-time. I see them searching for condos more than anything; could they be seeking their retirement destination? Or are they tourists?

    Perhaps one of the PCBDaily readers who runs real estate campaigns online could throw in their two-cents about New York City buyers. It would also be good to hear from Bed Tax Collectors if they see NYC as one of the top 5 cities from which their guests visit.

    It would be even better if we’d start getting reports from the CVB on this data (“Our site traffic has tripled!” does not cut it,)as the bed tax collectors and tourists are paying a dear price for this information.

    About Atlanta…

    Bryan, I applaud you for watching the focus group video. I wish it were online for the citizens and BTCs to watch.

    You 4 or 5 people who pay attention to my TDC marketing riffs will know I’ve said many times: “People in Atlanta don’t know us, or if they think they know us, they don’t know the real us.”

    The focus group appears to cover only people who know of us, but have the wrong impression of us. (Admittedly, I’m starting to wonder if they have the right impression and mine — the one where I thought PCB could easily fix its image with just a little improvement in cleanliness and safety — was the wrong one.)

    There are still thousands and thousands of the most desirable guests living in the city neighborhoods who have not been exposed to us at all. Remember, get about 50 miles outside of Atlanta and you might as well be 50 miles north of Bonifay. Good country folks; PCB tourism’s bread and butter for 75 years or so. But in the city there are hundreds of thousands of people who don’t know us, would love to getaway to a beach like this if we reach them. And you better believe its easier to convince someone to drive 5 hours to the beach than it is to convince them to drive 12-18 hours to the beach or fly into PFN.

    Keep fishing in Atlanta, people, keep fishing in Atlanta. Look at a demographic map, don’t look down 23rd Street. Atlanta has Metro Panama City has For every person you see on the street here, you’ll see 32 in Atlanta.

    You can add up Birmingham, Nashville, Columbus and several other feeder markets and still not have the same number of people as in Atlanta.

    Based on the focus group results and the early success of the campaign…

    If you DO have a property that is away from the “Partyin’ Part of the Redneck Riviera!”, here would be a good pitch for you: “We guarantee the tranquility of South Walton with the price of Panama City.”


  8. The billfish tournament is a great tournament and I love it and go evry year.
    it is only ONE week / weekend
    Spotlighting that os not an efficient use of the money


  9. bad dog !
    pass the ketchup.
    I am man enough to eat my words.
    I just looked again and see the “bill” in billfish is $25k. That is very reasonable, especially for what we are getting. The 30 min show would do well on any out door / fishing channel.


  10. Kirk is right. Atlanta is still our biggest market with the most potential. Atlanta is much bigger than the city itself. When we moved south the metro area was considered to be as far as 80 miles out from the city. This area covers most of the population of North Georgia. With such a big area you have quite a bit of diversity in each of the communities. Example is like Buckhead and parts of Smyrna are the same while North Cobb and Gwinnette Counties are the same. PCB has the diversity to appeal to all of these groups. Saltwater and Bonefish for some. Pineapple Willies and Sharky’s for others. And Pier park fits all.

    Since we are a drive destination, I believe that you advertise to areas that are within 1 hour or less access to a south bound interstate highway. These highways are the feeders to 231 and 79. People flow in the direction of the least resistance. Drivers like to save time and have plenty of easy stops along the way for food, gas and restrooms. It is kind of ironic that the Alabama DOT work has done more for PCB than Alabama.

    Yesterday I had a customer in the Hangout that was from a town north of Anderson, S.C. When asked why he came to PCB instead of Myrtle Beach, he said they wanted something different. The biggest thing they commented on was that they really liked the sand on our beach compared to the hard sand at MB. For years it was a given that the people in NE Georgia and SC went to Myrtle. With the right advertising, people along I-85 north of Atlanta would considder PCB because the roads south are much better than the roads to the east coast.

    Last month, there was an article in the WSJ about info commerical rates and how they have fallen on the cable channels. They have gone from $25,000 a half hour to $10,000. An info commerical showing all the great things about PCB could help change the bad perceptives that are hold overs from years ago. Right now advertising is a bargain in the drive areas thanks to cable.

    Recent survey at the bar shows more people from Texas and Louisianna this year, as well as the ususal Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Indiana.


  11. I attended several “Airport Committee” meetings in the past and some interesting facts on Florida visitor travel prevailed:

    The #1 two city route in the nation was New York City to Ft. Lauderdale. A flight every 10 minutes left NYC for the beaches of S. Florida. 30 million people reside in NYC and surrounding areas. These “commuters” regularly come to Florida on the weekends to get out of town and beat the hectic lifestyle of NYC, etc. The key was, is and always will be: “affordable, efficient and regular air transportation”.

    The Air Carriers are Crucial!
    I believe the the good news is we will soon have that in the Spring 2010. We can be the commuter destination for Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and even our own share of NYC commuters. The prices have to stay below $100 each way or even better $150 round trip. There is no greater importance than this-get them here “cheap” and thay will spend.

    The Good News!
    PCB still has the “lowest price/sq. ft.” of ocean/gulf front in the entire state of Florida. The future focus has to be on both markets-the drive-in and the new, undeveloped. I believe 12,000,000 visitors a year is within reach. (Currently 6,000,000)

    The Bad News!
    We cannot continue to destroy our destination and market image with annual headline news reports of college students, police, and other visitors tragicly dying on our beaches. These attention getting tragedies have hit home in Texas, Alabama, Tenn., Ohio, etc. Millions and millions of viewers combined from Dallas to NYC have seen these annual negative news clips and if this continues, we will lose the progress we are making.

    This is a new time and new day here in PCB. Telling the world through effective marketing is the key.


  12. Last 30 day visits for the top four states on pcbdaily:

    1.) Florida – 25,441 – 41.63%
    2.) Georgia – 8,141 – 13.32%
    3.) Alabama – 4,745 – 7.77%
    4.) New York – 3,355 – 5.49%


  13. Hi,

    I just wanted to say that it is very important that PCB continues to advertise to its current markets. However, I will say that they are losing out big time on the midwest markets. I live in central Ohio and most everyone from here visits the ocean. We have two choices, drive anywhere from 10 – 14 hours and you can be on the east coast or the gulf coast. The people from here that go to the gulf coast ALL go to Destin. Many people around here don’t even know about PCB. The TDC needs to begin marketing in the midwest states much more – like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. Many of us want to get out of the cold winters and enjoy the beaches in the summer. I continue to see advertising money spent from the beaches of South Walton, Destin and Pensacola up here. Where is PCB??? Please start advertising up here too. You are losing out on a HUGE opportunity. We have many major cities and the $$ to take vacations. Most people here don’t know about the “bad rap” that PCB gets, whether it’s warranted or not. (Some times it is, but I’d like to hope things will change.) If you take care of PCB, do the right things, advertise, and then pull the midwesterners to your beaches, they will come back!


  14. I believe the TDC is on the right path with the summer marketing. However Jason, at some point, and soon, they will have to expand the marketing effort into key northern states, that for years have been visiting and BUYING south Florida instead of the Panhandle.

    I live in Northeast Ohio and have been involved with the condo market in PCB for the last 17 years — in fact I have a Florida realtor license that hangs in PCB. I’ve sold PCB condos to the people in this area, but I had to educate everyone of them as to the merits and the beauty of owning in PCB, instead of the usual here — Naples and Fort Myers. We do need to market in key northern areas in the very near future because there are many potential, big-money real estate buyers and visitors, and the airport will be the impetus to help sell it.

    Finally, as long as we keep pushing for the short dollar by marketing to breakers and bikers, we will never break the national stigma of a low-class party town. We will never get the big bucks for our real estate, we will never get the high end spenders for our businesses — bet on it. The potential buyers stay away for these EXACT reasons — and that’s not only the Northern states but the money people in the surrounding Southern states as well. Destin holds it’s nose up at us for a reason — you won’t see Destin or Naples advertising to spring breakers or thousands of bikers — that’s short-sided, short dollars — the long dollar is found with families and businesses that say spend big money.

    Let’s not waste what the airport can bring us. Not even a great airport next year can help out lousy reputation.


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