Noel Eberline, co-owner of Yearbook, made a presentation to the village council Feb. 13, which was both a report on how the Chamber used the $20,000 they received from the village last year (for Madison Street branding, signage and promotion to complement the resurfacing and streetscape enhancements), and a plan for using another grant from the village, this one for $25,000, to market Forest Park businesses in 2017.
As we entered the third millennium Madison Street merchants felt they were on a roll … and then two forces slowed down the momentum. One was the Great Recession and the other was that merchants in neighboring towns were upping their games.
Thankfully, the nation, state and village are slowly pulling out of the recession, but the competition from bars, restaurants and shops in neighboring towns is not allowing Madison Street to rest on its laurels as the “Bucktown of the Western Suburbs.”
Like the New England Patriots at the halftime of the Super Bowl, a couple of years ago, both business owners in Forest Park and the Village Council realized that, together, they needed to put forth some extra effort and change the game plan to regain the lead.
The village invested big time in the redoing of Madison Street, which was completed last year, and they made a one-time grant of $20,000 to the Chamber of Commerce to be used for Madison Street branding, signage and promotion to accompany the resurfacing and streetscape enhancements.
The Chamber presented evidence that they had been good stewards of the $20,000 received from the village last year:
Madison Street light post banners were designed, produced and mounted which, according to the Chamber presentation, “create a visual brand language for Madison Street from Harlem to Desplaines with bold graphics and key icons for Taste FP, Shop FP, Play FP and Live FP.”
Ten thousand copies of a shopping and dining directory/map of Chamber member stores, boutiques, restaurants and bars were printed and distributed. The map includes all of Forest Park and not just Madison Street. Sixty companion posters were printed and distributed to businesses.
Full page holiday events ads were placed in the Review, Wednesday Journal and Riverside Brookfield Landmark (total circulation of 12,500).
Full page ad with companion town profile was placed in West Suburban Living with 25,000 circulation.
What has really created a buzz among Chamber members is the strategic marketing plan put together for 2017 by Noel Eberline and his marketing committee:
Twenty thousand revised shopping and dining directories to be inserted in the Review, Wednesday Journal and Landmark papers with a sticky note on the front page.
CTA advertising program, including rail station, platform and train interior advertising. (Total avg. 4-week ridership 4,057,848 across 33 stations; varies by station, eg. Harlem: 29,722; Forest Park: 89,003).
Full-page color ad in Chicago Magazine’s June “Go West – A Guide to Chicago’s Western Suburbs” issue, which will include a bonus full-page “advertorial” and microsite on the magazine’s web page. Total readership, 717,069. Average household income, $243,600.
Digital billboard advertising. The village’s lease agreement with J&B Signs for the billboard right by The Park overlooking I-290 includes seven hours of display time for the village per month which translates into 2,520 ten-second spots rotating evenly between 5 a.m. and 2 a.m., every day.
Near the end of his presentation Eberline concluded, “We believe these planned marketing initiatives will serve as an effective launch for this marketing campaign. The advertising components are varied to target both the convenience visitor as well as to create greater destination draw from a larger geography. All of these components together, will serve to differentiate Forest Park and build a stronger regional image.
“These priorities also align with the recommendations and action plan from the village-commissioned Business Development Initiative report, prepared by Business Districts Inc., Bridget Lane, in March 2015.”