Galena/Jo Daviess County seeks marketing agency

Steve’s breakdown: General Grant country has a lot of history to show off and they want a new marketing agency to get busy. The featured video was part of a TV campaign they did three years ago.

GALENA, IL: After considerable discussion at the regular monthly meeting of the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) Board Tuesday evening, Oct. 18, board members approved developing a request for proposal (RFP) for both a marketing agency-of-record and a website development company.

The county’s current marketing agency-of-record, SotaVenture LLC, provided the necessary 60 days notice Sept. 21, terminating the contract with the county effective Nov. 21. SotaVenture became the agency-of-record on Dec. 1, 2009.

From the website development standpoint, Katherine Walker, CVB executive director, told the board she believes it’s time to move to a different company after board members and staff have expressed frustrations with the current firm, Distributed Website Corporation.

Before reaching their final decision, board members went back and forth about how to proceed as they first considered a “wait and see” approach and then talked about holding off until the first of the year before moving forward. In the end, however, the consensus seemed to be that outside expertise from an agency is needed.
“I’m a firm believer in using an agency,” said Erin Murphy, a CVB board member.

Board chairman Jess Farlow pointed out that if the CVB begins the process of searching for a new agency now, it will likely be close to the second quarter of 2012 before all the pieces are in place. In the meantime, he suggested details could be handled in-house.

Walker said the work could be absorbed in-house in the short term. She does not believe the CVB is prepared long-term to handle the additional responsibilities.
SotaVenture partner Dorian Dickinson, on hand at the meeting for the marketing and website update report, suggested companies could be given the opportunity, through the RFP process, to bid on the marketing and/or website development contracts.

Earlier in the meeting, Dickinson, who recently resigned from SotaVenture and started Great River Creative, was pressed for an explanation about what is taking place with the company by Murphy.

She asked what the county is still owed by the company and expressed concerns about an email she received from legal counsel about the SotaVenture’s finances.
Dickinson said SotaVenture provides the county exposure through advertising. He said the company provided the exposure.

Additionally, SotaVenture already has in place the county’s marketing plans for the first quarter of 2012, Dickinson continued. CVB board member Ikhlas Ahmed said legally the county should have no legal obligation for any outstanding bills SotaVenture owes. “I just think there are other questions out there,” said Murphy. Farlow asked Walker if she felt the county was in any danger. Walker said no, and that the state’s attorney and county administrator are both aware of the situation.

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