I must commend today's article by Morley Walker in the Free Press regarding the new cultural website promoting Winnipeg's designation as Canada's "cultural capital" for 2010. He nailed it on the head when saying "the trouble with a website...is...if you don't know it exists, you will never stumble upon it."
With all the potential that exists from being awarded this designation during a very popular point in the new millennium, you'd think more dollars would be allocated to the one tool that can drive qualified traffic and interest to Winnipeg - a highly visible website through effective search marketing. I find it very disheartening that when the Marketing Director of Destination Winnipeg is questioned on why more dollars were not allocated to the marketing of the site, she openly states that "we're going after low hanging fruit (ie. Grand Forks, Fargo)...People from Vancouver aren't coming here anyway."
Wow... that's optimism! Considering I personally know 3 different groups of friends here in Winnipeg that visited Vancouver this year alone, and that the entire Manitoba Homecoming 2010 event is dependant on travellers from around North America migrating back to Winnipeg, you'd think - at minimum - a more positive spin could have been placed on the limited dollars being allocated to the website.
What I can't seem to figure out is what the $60,000 allocated to this project was used for?
Considering there are very limited dollars in place to advertise the project (all mailed leaflets I might add) and the website itself on the high side should only be $10,000... where was the rest of the money allocated?
My guess is that it was evenly distributed amongst the same companies that continue to survive off the government grant money awarded to these half-ass efforts, making print brochures, charging copious amounts of money for content writing, and laughing all the way to the bank, with little concern for the success of the project other than just plastering up something for show. I'll be curious to see if there is any report in the future from DW on the membership levels they gained on the new site. I doubt it.
And I quote, "if you don't know it exists, you will never stumble upon it." There's a great big world out there Winnipeg, and those who know how to tap into it know. Hopefully egos will be put aside one day, and the companies that can truly deliver results will be awarded the honorable job of putting Winnipeg on the map.
It's your turn Winnipeg.