Coming up with a plan is one thing. Putting it into action is something else.
But following a scheduled discussion Thursday during the final Maryville City Council meeting of the year, a group of Northwest Missouri State University students may now get a chance to do both.
The students are members of Northwest instructor Jacquie Lamer's advanced advertising strategies class, a capstone course for upper-level students that essentially functions as an advertising agency.
Each fall, Lamer recruits a real-world client, and her students then spend the semester putting together a comprehensive marketing campaign designed to meet the firm's corporate goals. Past "customers" have included United Missouri Bank, Kansas City's Union Station, Kansas City Power & Light Co. and John Deere.
This year's client was the city of Maryville, which engaged the students to come up with ways to better brand and market Mozingo Lake, a 3,000-acre recreation area and golf course east of town with a 1,000-acre reservoir that serves as the city's primary water supply.
The class' campaign presentation on Dec. 5 was so well received that the city is now considering having the students implement their ideas after they return to campus next month for the start of the spring term.
In a memo to the council issued prior to its Thursday meeting, City Manager Greg McDanel said the students would essentially function as the "marketing arm" for Mozingo and work directly with city officials to organize a "re-opening" event in early April.
McDanel said other potential student activities will include design and placement of lake advertising, creation of brochures and billboards, social media planning, signage improvements and merchandising.
Cost to the city for "hiring" the student marketers is estimated at $1,400, which Lamer said is needed to cover mileage, copy costs, Internet fees and other expenses. However, funding for marketing and advertising materials themselves is a separate and much pricier item.
During their initial presentation to the city, the students estimated that a locally targeted advertising and rebranding effort focused on print, billboards, digital outreach and broadcast media would cost around $24,000. Their projection also predicted additional campaign-driven park revenue of $40,000 for a net profit to the city of approximately $16,000.
In addition to the re-opening celebration, student-led Mozingo branding activities to be carried out during the spring semester include a new lake brochure; billboards; a "template" system for future advertising; implementation of a consistent digital presence with regard to web directories, online maps and GPS systems; and preparation of a social media plan.
Website development is not part of the class project, though the city hopes to have a new site, mozingolake.com, built and operating early in 2013 with student-created marketing content.
Selling Mozingo as a regional recreation and tourist destination has been a priority for the council for a couple of years and is a special priority of Mayor Glenn Jonagan
Page 2 of 2 - In 2011, the city paid IDM Group $20,000 to conduct a feasibility study in connection with a proposed lodge and banquet facility at the lake, a report that described existing marketing efforts as unfocused and inconsistent.
The Northwest students drew a similar conclusion, noting in their initial report that lake activities — golf, fishing, RV camping and the like — are represented by eight different logos.
Other advertising and marketing efforts, they said, have comprised a hodgepodge of websites and social media containing broken links, indifferent photography and outdated information.