Not by a long shot! In the last paragraph of his last column entitled “What’s ‘damming’ Branson shows, prices, marketing or …,’ available on line at www.TheOleSeagull.Com, the Ole Seagull said “he believes, as to Branson’s shows, the current marketing efforts on their behalf is uninspired and totally inadequate to market them in the effective manner that something so vital to Branson’s past and future financial success deserves.”
That is based on his belief that “Branson’s shows are one of the ‘tripod’ legs that underpins Branson’s economic foundation and makes Branson the unique travel destination it is. Its shows, along with Silver Dollar City and the natural beauty of the surrounding Ozark Mountains with their pristine lakes, all combine to provide something unique and special that is found… nowhere else on earth. What happens to a tripod if one leg is removed?”
For what it’s worth, he believes that, from an out of area stand point, the marketing required for Branson’s shows is different from that required for the other two legs of the tripod. Briefly, Silver Dollar City has spent decades and millions of dollars building a brand and icons that that people will generally recognize when shown as part of a TV spot advertisement or in a publication. Basically the same can be said for the beauty of our Ozark Hills and lakes, people see them briefly in a TV Spot or in a publication and can relate to them.
The same approach for Branson’s shows, particularly individual shows, doesn’t work as effectively. How effective is a picture of a Branson entertainer, as part of a short TV Spot that covers everything from golfing, lakes, Silver Dollar City, the Titanic Museum Attraction, lakes, etc? Has any study been done to see just how effective these spots and, even to a certain extent the show spots where they flash from one show to another during the spot, are in causing potential Branson visitors to want see a show in Branson?
The Ole Seagull has been told, “You point out what is wrong, but what would you do to fix it?” To start, in order, here’s where he would place his emphasis in terms of CVB marketing dollars:
1. Give priority to Branson’s Resident shows, those open during the majority of the season, in the vast majority of the CVB marketing. It is these who make Branson’s live entertainment what it is. We have the talent in Branson that if properly marketed will not only bring people to Branson for decades to come, but create the “stars” necessary to do it.” Let the promoters, Branson receptives, ticket sellers and others promote the “limited engagement” shows, but use CVB marketing dollars to build and promote the base of Resident shows that will be here the majority of the year.
2. Make more efficient use of the CVB marketing funds that are available by, among other things, trying to multiply every dollar of marketing funds spent; more efficient monitoring of and keeping administrative fees low; coordinating with others providing services that CVB’s marketing dollars are being used to duplicate in an effort to reduce such expenditures and use those funds for the direct marketing of Branson shows and everything else that Branson what it offers.
3. Think out of the box! Try something new such as immediately starting steps to produce a 30 minute weekly Branson TV show featuring presentations by a different Branson Resident show each week along with other Branson information. The emphasis would be on letting people see actual performances by different Branson shows to help educate them as to the breadth and quality of the live entertainment Branson offers. It doesn’t take a marketing Solomon, as evidenced by two of Branson’s most successful shows, “Presleys’ Country Jubilee” and the “Haygoods,” to see the impact that TV, directed to the right demographics, can have on an individual show and, the Ole Seagull believes, could have on Branson Shows in general.
“Now hold on Seagull stop right there, you’ve gone too far. Do you know how much a TV show like that would cost?” “Actually, ‘No,’ but how much would it cost to gather some preliminary information and estimates to see how much it would cost to get Branson entertainers to perform on the show, possibly work out a cooperative marketing agreement with a network like RFD TV and produce such a show?”
Now here’s a thought, “If Branson’s shows are the third leg of the tripod, what could it cost Branson if we don’t think out of the box in terms of marketing Branson shows and continue down the same old path we have always traveled? In any event, you are probably right and this is as good as any place to stop.”
Related Columns: (Best context reading top to bottom):
A recent guest column by Gaye Lisby entitled “Doug Gabriel – home grown, but no hillbilly here” was more about the allegation that a Branson show’s success has “more to do with who gives the lowest ticket prices to the timeshare ticket sales booths and discounters” than whether Gabriel, whom I consider a friend, is either “homegrown” or a “hillbilly.” (more…)