MAD makes suc­cess­ful trip to New York City

El Dorado News-Times - - Front Page - By Kait­lyn Rig­don Staff Writer

Three top of­fi­cials with the Mur­phy Arts Dis­trict re­cently spent some time in New York City, as part of an ef­fort to not only high­light the dis­trict’s im­pend­ing open­ing, but the city of El Do­rado as well.

The dis­trict’s Chief Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer Bob Tar­ren, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Terry Ste­wart and Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Austin Bar­row trav­eled to New York on July 12-13 where they re­ceived a great amount of pos­i­tive feed­back af­ter pitching the story of El Do­rado’s arts dis­trict to var­i­ous pop­u­lar pub­li­ca­tions.

“I want to stress this – the story is not about just MAD,” Tar­ren said. “That’s not enough of a story to get trac­tion. Our story strat­egy is about El Do­rado and the peo­ple here and that’s why this is an in­ter­est­ing project.”

When Tar­ren was first hired at MAD, his job was to fully de­velop the mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion strate­gies that would help launch the project. Tar­ren se­lected a PR agency out of New York City, which ul­ti­mately helped get the word out about MAD across the na­tion.

A re­port showed that just three weeks af­ter the first press re­lease in June, MAD’s story has spread from coast to coast.

Nu­mer­ous print and dig­i­tal out­lets lead­ing to more than 220 mil­lion po­ten­tial im­pres­sions picked up the re­lease, Tar­ren said.

With the suc­cess of the first re­lease, the trio planned the trip to New York to fur­ther pitch MAD’s story.

“Out of that, we re­ceived an aw­ful lot of in­ter­est and at­ten­tion that will lead to our next wave of sto­ries,” Tar­ren said. “I don’t want to jinx them yet, but we talked to some ter­rific pub­li­ca­tions.”

Some of the meet­ings in­cluded pop­u­lar mag­a­zines such as Fast Com­pany, South­ern Liv­ing, Travel and Leisure, and Rolling Stone, as well as news­pa­pers such as the New York Daily News and The Wall Street Jour­nal.

The meet­ings were ex­ploratory to de­ter­mine whether the pub­li­ca­tions thought the dis­trict’s story was worth telling, Tar­ren said.

“I’m happy to re­port that the ma­jor­ity have given us feed­back both in that meet­ing and since then,” Tar­ren said. “Some have ac­tu­ally asked us very pointed fol­low up ques­tions from which you build an ar­ti­cle. Oth­ers have said they are plan­ning trips down here.”

When meet­ing with ed­i­tors, Tar­ren said he, Bar­row and Ste­wart em­pha­sized the story of El Do­rado.

“No­body cares about one more place to see your artists,” Tar­ren said. “Its legacy from the first oil boom in the ’20s for­ward and its beau­ti­ful down­town area, the his­toric main street and the over­whelm­ing sup­port for the arts. All of those things I just said are wo­ven into the story that got pitched to our me­dia tar­gets.”

From a PR stand­point, MAD’s fu­ture will be to con­tinue telling the El Do­rado story and rais­ing aware­ness of the per­for­mances com­ing to the dis­trict, some of which will not be mu­si­cal, in­clud­ing co­me­di­ans, cir­cus acts, off-Broad­way plays and oth­ers.

The dis­trict’s ul­ti­mate goal is to at­tract peo­ple to El Do­rado who will spend money and cre­ate job growth, Tar­ren said. This will in turn pos­i­tively im­pact the tax base, which will help the city with in­fra­struc­ture projects, he said.

“When you have pub­li­ca­tions around the re­gion, state and coun­try that are talk­ing about this crazy lit­tle project in El Do­rado and all th­ese cool things that they are do­ing, that el­e­vates us on the nar­ra­tive, and el­e­vates us in peo­ple’s per­cep­tions,” Tar­ren said. “If peo­ple don’t know we ex­ist, then they won’t pay at­ten­tion. If they know we ex­ist, they will pay at­ten­tion and then they might show up with $100 in their wal­let to spend on stores around town.”

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