New Jersey Historic Trust Wants Better License Plates!
Attention MWW PR and Coyne PR!
The New Jersey Historic Trust mission is to advance historic preservation through education, stewardship and financial investment programs that save our heritage and strengthen our communities. In addition to its role as the primary provider of bricks and mortar grants to NJ’s historic properties, the Trust also administers the heritage tourism grant program funded by the Discover NJ History License Plate sales. The Heritage Tourism Taskforce finalized the New Jersey Heritage Tourism Masterplan in 2010. As part of its work, the taskforce established criteria for the Heritage Tourism grant program, the funding for which results from the sales and renewals of the license plate.
The Discover NJ History license plates were first sold in 1997. The initial sales were attributed to word of mouth and support by the history community, since the plates were never professionally marketed. The Discover NJ History license plate was never a major seller in comparison to the seventeen specialty plates, but sales held steady for many years. However, in the past four years, there’s been a serious decline in sales and renewals, resulting in a corresponding decline in the amount of funding available for the heritage tourism grant program. Internal NJHT efforts at marketing included reaching out to our grantees to ask for assistance in promoting the plate, creating promotional materials for conferences and workshops, placing ads in various program books, and offering VIP parking at our conference for anyone displaying a license plate. A review of all specialty plates’ sales figures indicates that most plates –while also declining in revenue – earned more revenue from higher sales volume initially, so the resultant trend may not have as significant a financial impact on funding critical to the plates’ mission as the decline in the history license plate sales is having on heritage tourism grants.
In 2016, the Historic Trust engaged Integrated Marketing Services to undertake market research to determine why the sales are low and to gauge public perception. Not surprisingly, the results of the survey indicated the following:
1) Lack of awareness about the Discover NJ History plate
2) Design and slogan does not call attention to the ‘cause’
3) Unattractive – image is not easily recognizable, doesn’t stand out 4) Difficult to purchase a specialty plate
Scope of Work:
Based on preliminary research and an existing marketing and messaging package, the Historic Trust intends to ultimately increase sales of the license plate, to engage the public more broadly in heritage tourism, and enhance the public’s appreciation for our historic sites.
Expected tasks and deliverables include:
- Create an ad plan for use across all media
- Create an ad budget that includes cost estimates for placing ads across all media
- Create and implement banner and text ads
- Develop a social media plan
- Create and post social media content
- Develop email campaign and prepare content for deployment
- Begin digital ad campaign (search engine marketing, text ads, display ads, social media ads, and other display ads on relevant website)
- Optimize search engine marketing campaigns to maximize dollars spent
- Begin public relations outreach to identified primary audiences and other relevant groups for co-promotions
- Use analytics to determine and report that advertising/marketing efforts are successful
- Coordinate with Journey Through Jersey to develop a landing webpage for the Discover NJ History License Plate Fund for Heritage Tourism
Suggestions about additions or changes to the given Scope of Services are welcome. Proposals should clearly identify the likely tasks to be undertaken, data needs, expected outcomes and clearly articulate what, if anything, would not be achievable within the project budget. Tasks should be linked to a timeline, itemized cost proposal, and a suggested payment schedule. The Historic Trust estimates this SCOPE OF SERVICES to cost between $18,000 – $25,000 and be completed in three to four months.
Dorothy P. Guzzo
New Jersey Historic Trust
PO Box 457, Trenton, NJ 08625