By Christina De Paris
For Hometown News
DAYTONA BEACH - Prior to the end of summer, nearly every newspaper reader, TV watcher and Internet surfer in a 90-mile radius will see or hear market segments about the "coastal charm and downtown dazzle" that bestows historic Beach Street in Daytona Beach.
The phrase "Coastal Charm and Downtown Dazzle" and the concept of the Riverfront Shoppes of Daytona Beach are what proved to be most desirable in a study when describing the retail and restaurant areas on Beach Street, and will display on TV, radio, online and in print in a new marketing campaign.
In February, the Downtown Development Authority hired Keith Gold of Gold & Associates to do marketing analysis of Beach Street, which he presented to the City Commission earlier this month.
His team asked 11,000 past, present and prospective guests questions like if you've been to Beach Street before, how do we get you to come here more often and what's the most appealing characteristic about the area.
"Part of what (people we surveyed) liked about Beach Street is the fact that it's unique and it's an experience they couldn't find anywhere else," Keith Gold, president of Gold & Associates said.
The data compiled from the surveys guided decisions like design, advertisements and slogans that identify the unique characteristics of the area, like the vistas of the Intracoastal and the trend of downtown.
"The historic Beach Street retail area is a vital part of the Daytona Beach community," said Sheryl Cook, president of the Downtown Development Authority. "To achieve even greater success, a retail area needs a strong brand image, stronger awareness among potential customers, and ultimately more visitors," Mrs. Cook said.
The Development Authority contracted Gold & Associates for $33,000 to develop a marketing strategy and create a website, which will eventually be operated by a combination of city employees and Gold & Associates.
Ten domain names have been bought, but they have not yet settled on which website name will launch. Rack material will be distributed to the nearby resorts, and maps of the area are already circulating and can be found on Beach Street.
The main target area was locally in Daytona Beach, then patrons in a 50 miles radius, and then those an average of 5,200 miles away were the No. 3 audience. Baby Boomers are the primary audience for Beach Street, coming most frequently or spending the most money.
Maintaining and increasing product and product mix is fundamental in keeping this unique area relevant, and a component of the Authority's marketing strategy.
"I like going to Beach Street because it's got a feel to it that makes me feel like I'm somewhere special when I walk along the shops," said Kyle Brady of South Daytona. "But I still think it's not fulfilling the potential it has."
The Community Redevelopment Authority hired Bob Gibbs of Gibbs Planning Group earlier in the year to evaluate the retail area's competitive environment and to determine what businesses would do well on Beach Street.
"Our job right now is to contact national retailers that have interest in urban retail space in northeast Florida, and turn the connection over to the individual to broker a deal," said Jason Jeffries, the Authority's project manager.
Mr. Gold is working to bring in new customers to businesses, while Mr. Gibbs is attracting new businesses to Beach Street, and together they both hope to revitalize the Riverfront Shoppes of Daytona Beach.
"I think if advertised in the right way and to the right people, this new campaign should have a healthy impact," said Mr. Brady.
The Development Authority also held several meetings for the merchants on Beach Street to attend so they could give their input on how the retail area should be marketed.
"We've had an exciting time working on the branding, the identification, and the marketing for the Beach Street Downtown area," said Ms. Cook, who co-owes Tom Cook Jeweler on Beach Street.
The Authority hopes to launch a full marketing campaign via all mediums by August. The website will give a complete listing of all merchants on Beach Street and calendar of events. There are also opportunities for Beach Street merchants to advertise on the website and can contact the Downtown Development Authority if interested.