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Marketing expert on DNC says businesses should begin planning now

Posted: 7:20 AM, Oct 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-16 08:20:14-04
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We're less than one year away from Milwaukee hosting the 2020 Democratic National Convention - which will begin July 13.

The convention provides a massive opportunity for businesses big and small to attract customers.

It's expected to draw roughly 50,000 visitors to Milwaukee.

"You've got a town that will be flooded with people from the outside, coming in with money in their pockets," said Brian Bennett, president of STIR Advertising and Integrated Messaging. "So, I'm sure everyone is going to do reasonably well."

But for businesses hoping to do more than sell products, who may be looking to improve or grow awareness about their brand among visitors, "now is the time to start planning," Bennett said.

He said it's important to keep in mind that many of the visitors will be out-of-town media outlets.

"There will always be profiles of the market," Bennett said. "(Media) will want to enjoy and showcase the culture that is Milwaukee."

Because of that, he said it's important that area businesses make sure their respective spaces are attractive and appealing to photographers and/or videographers.

"It would make sense to upgrade your facade, your signage," Bennett said.

He said businesses can also start preparing now to improve their discoverability on social media, or through internet searches, as all of the DNC visitors search for food, shopping and other forms of entertainment.

"Now's the time to begin working on search engine optimization, and probably on a geo-targeted, paid, digital or social media advertising strategy," Bennett said.

"All of those people are going to be on the internet, searching for where to go," he added.

Bennett said businesses selling food, beverages, souvenirs, etc. should consider ways to make themselves visible at a time when everyone is hoping to stand out among the large crowds.

"If I was a brewer, for instance, I'd be giving people an opportunity to taste my product - handing out samples," Bennett said. "I'd be out on the street doing visible things to attract attention in a very positive way."

But he noted something like that takes work to set up.

"It's going to be very crowded, and there will be a lot of security," Bennett said. "I'm sure you'll need to have licenses for activities on a lot of (Milwaukee's) streets."

"So a lot can be achieved, but not if you're scurrying around at the last minute."