Marketing could be local

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors has approved hiring public relations firm Gramercy Communications of Troy, the company used by Vireo Health, for a six-month, $30,000 contract to promote county initiatives.

The resolution to hire Gramercy stated the firm will be used for a “professional public relations/public affairs pilot campaign to publicize the many positive Fulton County initiatives under way to people and businesses outside the region.” Some of the initiatives Gramercy will promote for the county include the Tryon Technology Park, Smart Waters and a housing and retail strategy for the county. The firm is expected to create marketing videos.

The hiring of Gramercy seems to be part of a trend of the county retaining outside marketing and public relations firms. Fulton County supervisors in 2014 hired DCG Corplan Consulting of West Orange, N.J., to market the Tryon park. The firm was hired for $139,480 to prepare a targeted industry analysis and marketing plan for Tryon. DCG Corplan later retained subcontractor Applied Marketing of Carmel, Ind. – a lead-generation firm – to help develop business leads for Tryon. In 2013, North Star Destination Strategies of Nashville, Tenn., was hired by supervisors to create a brand. Fulton County’s branding project cost $46,000. The direct cost to Fulton County was $13,000. National Grid paid $23,000 of the cost, and the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth contributed $10,000. Last fall, the county also contracted with Shannon-Rose of Saratoga Springs to create the brand and logo “Fulton County NY Posi+ive.”

With all of the resources at the disposal of the county planning department, the Center for Regional Growth and the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, we wonder why more of this marketing and public relations work couldn’t be done in-house or locally for less cost to county taxpayers. Public relations and marketing are neither an art nor a science, and as anyone who watches commercials today knows – the very best in the world at those professions sometimes produce ineffective ideas, but the companies that produce the ad campaigns still get paid regardless of the results.

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