Will Branson shows and attractions be knocked out of the “ole marketing ball park?”

Is it possible that those in power in Branson have watched the movie “Field of Dreams” one time too many? Have they forgotten the concept of “Dance with the one who brought you?” Do they really believe that marketing funds spent trying to develop yet another demographic to allegedly bring more people to Branson will bring more people to Branson than spending that same amount of money in “efficiently” promoting the shows and attractions that are the lynchpin of Branson’s success? In an Ole Seagull’s opinion, “It appears so.”

Whoops, sorry the Ole Seagull got a little ahead of himself. Branson’s first factory outlet mall, the Factory Merchants Mall, commonly called the “Red Roof Mall,” ceases operation as a commercial shopping mall and the city of Branson takes over the full control of the property on July 1. In discussing the various uses that the city might make of the property, a city of Branson Staff report, said, “Sports Marketing comes to the top of the list and is another priority identified by the strategic and community plan. This property might be redeveloped for baseball and softball diamonds plus an indoor facility for cold weather sports like volleyball or basketball.”

According to the “Branson/Lakes Area 2011 Fact sheet revised on 4/3/12 (The Sheet)” published by the “Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB,” Branson is 25th among all overnight leisure destinations in the Country.” Among other things, The Sheet contains a bunch of statistics based on a visitor survey that, from the statistical standpoint of visitor information and activities, is purported to be representative of Branson’s visitors in terms of their demographics and activities.

It is interesting to note that 80.9 percent of the people go to “Shows” while only 21.2 percent are involved in “Lake/Outdoor Activities.” Anyone want to bet what portion of that percentage is involved with “Lakes” and what percentage is involved with “ball related sports” and other “Outdoor Activities.” Here’s a clue, The Sheet said 4.1 percent played “Golf,” 3.6 percent went “Fishing” and is silent as to any other “Outdoor Activity.” Oh and did the Ole Seagull mention that The Sheet indicates that about 55.6 percent indicated that they went to “Theme Parks” and/or “Museums.”

“But Seagull do you really think the city is seriously considering using the land the Red Roof Mall is on to build a “sports ball” complex?” “Absolutely.”

There are only so many marketing dollars available. In an Ole Seagull’s opinion, “It’s nuts” to spend those dollars trying to attract people to come to Branson to a new “sports ball” complex which will have to compete with similar complexes for the same business rather than on promoting and marketing the shows and attractions that, along with Silver Dollar City and its lakes and natural beauty make Branson unique and not just another “cornflake” in a box of “Destination Cornflakes.”

An Ole Seagull realizes full well that it’s all about bringing more people to Branson, but he just can’t believe that an additional $1 million dollars spent on marketing a “sports ball” complex will bring as many people to Branson as that same $1 million dollars spent “efficiently” on marketing Branson’s shows and attractions. Wouldn’t it be neat to see a comparative study as to how many additional people would be brought to Branson if an additional $1 million dollars was spent on marketing “Branson’s Shows and Attractions” as compared to marketing a “Sports Ball” complex?

“Seagull, what do you mean by “efficiently?” “Oh, it could be a lot of things; changing, as it applies to the additional $1 million, the paradigm currently in place to market Branson’s shows and attractions and not having all of your marketing eggs in one basket.”

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