RDA subcommittees to aid in digital marketing, branding efforts
The board approved a contract with Applied Marketing
Mary Ann Redeker/GazetteBoard members of the Regional Development Association discuss marketing concepts Friday morning in the Trulser Business Center. The board approved a contract with Applied Marketing for the generation of business leads for the Emporia community.Regional Development Association of East-Central Kansas board members focused on amping up their marketing efforts Friday morning during their meeting in the Trusler Business Center. Conversations also centered around the organization’s strategic planning retreat, which was held Jan. 15 in the business center. RDA President Kent Heermann said the board compiled a list of items during the retreat to help aid in the marketing of Emporia.
“We have a couple items that we will really be focusing on,” Heermann said. “One is the coordination of economic development activities, including the development of our digital marketing program for our community. Updating our web presence will be very important.” Heermann said various social media platforms would be important in this process; namely, LinkedIn, as it seems to be the preferred presence in the business community. “With the research I’ve done on it since the strategic planning meeting, I’ve found LinkedIn is a very good method that could be used to get the word out about Emporia,” Heermann said. “It’s a good platform to illustrate what assets are available here for companies, which are looking for future growth and expansion opportunities.”
Another area on which the RDA will be focusing is branding efforts and how to perform them from a community perspective. Two subcommittees were formed for this during the meeting. Board member Rick Tidwell will head up the committee focusing on digital marketing efforts and Vice President Jim Kessler will form the committee dealing with branding. “This project will be a work in process,” Heermann said. “We came up with the concept, did the research and will figure out which direction we want to go. Our strategic planning meeting was successful. We had not had a meeting like that in a long time where we just really talked about things. Usually in meetings, you have your agenda items to focus on. You never just chat, and that’s what we did. There are a lot of bright people on this board, and I wanted to know what they all thought and what their point of view was.”
In other business, the board approved a contract with Applied Marketing in the amount of $21,000 for business lead generation. “The advantage with Applied Marketing is, they will actually arrange a telephone call conversation with five or six different prospect companies,” he said. “A lot of the leads we get from other sources will send information and, if we make that screen, then maybe we might have a conversation someday or get a visit.
“The benefit through Applied Marketing is, we have conversations with prospects and we’ve also had companies come visit Emporia. We do have other marketing techniques we utilize. We have partnerships with the state through Team Kansas and the Kansas Department of Commerce. Last year we had more visits than we normally have in a year. It’s a function of businesses looking to expand and it’s a function of an economy that’s fairly robust, but that could all change tomorrow.”
During the meeting, Heermann also commented on the death of Mike Fiehler, former plant manager of IBP, Inc. and Tyson Fresh Meats. “Mike had retired only about two years ago,” Heermann said. “We worked with Mike on an expansion in early 2000. Then the company endured two layoffs and they were down to 500 or 600 employees on the processing side.”
In 2010, Heermann said Fiehler and his team worked tirelessly to ensure they brought more business to Emporia after the downsizing. “Mike was what I would call a strong plant manager and fought hard to bring jobs back to Emporia’s complex,” Heermann said. “He figured out a way to renovate the hot box area to bring new products here like corned beef and others. He let corporate know if they had other plants that were bursting at the seams, he had plenty of space and workers.”
Heermann said Fiehler was a man who worked quietly for the best interests of Tyson Fresh Meats and the Emporia community. “Mike worked very, very hard and led the quiet charge to get Tyson back to the numbers of around 900 to 925 workers after the downsizing,” he said. “I don’t think many people realize this. He did his best to make sure as many employees as possible were re-employed. He treated his employees like friends and family. He did a great job for the community, and we will miss him.”
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