EDITOR'S NOTE: Tuesday's city council meeting had a packed agenda. One of the many items was the approval of a contract with an outside public relations firm. That firm will help the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau market the city. How? WTVA’s Mike Russell met with Neal McCoy, the executive director of the CVB, and filed this report.
TUPELO, MIss. (WTVA) - There is a lot to running a city, including the marketing and PR side of things. But sometimes you just can’t do that all by yourself. It's a time-intensive job -- and sometimes you just need help. And...you may have to pay a few bucks to make it happen.
In Tupelo's case, it'll cost $5900 a month to hire Turner Public Relations, a high-powered PR firm with offices in New York City, Denver, and Miami. The money actually has already been earmarked -- and will be used to help the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau market the city -- the CVB is simply advising the city council of its choice.
It's not unusual for city governments to hire agencies, who often have existing business relationships they can put into play on the city's behalf, something the city can't do on its own.
"We can't do that from sitting right here in our offices," says Neal McCoy, who runs the CVB. "We have to leverage that and go find the agency that's the best fit for us to bring the influencers to Tupelo -- because that's why people travel because their influenced and inspired to go somewhere."
Granted the $5900 monthly fee is a lot of money - but it comes out of the 2% tourism tax generated in Tupelo - and believe it or not, that tax generated $215 million dollars last year. McCoy says the money spent on Turner will be used to create additional tourism results.
"Over the last six years, we have seen the tourism tax increase 25%," says McCoy. "So we have hit all of our benchmarks in trying to grow new money being introduced to the Tupelo market."
You might not notice Turner's results right away. That’s because most of its efforts will be likely focused on inspiring people elsewhere to visit here. And that’s when we’ll find out just how BIG of a bargain the contract turned out to be.