Media Blitz Touts New Brand

To jump start the tourism season, Hamilton County Tourism will hit regional air waves, magazine pages, computer screens and smart phones with a new advertising campaign. This new effort builds on the successful 2013 campaign, which resulted in a huge return on investment. For every ad dollar spent last year, visitors spent $158 in Hamilton County.

"Our goal is to build on that success, while also introducing our new brand into a multi-level strategy including print, radio, TV and digital," said Karen Radcliff, Hamilton County Tourism Deputy Director.

The $540,000 campaign investment, which launches April 14, will promote Hamilton County getaways focused in four media markets - Chicago, Champaign, Ill., Fort Wayne and Louisville.

Hamilton County Tourism created two new, 30-second radio spots. One features things to do in Hamilton County and another promotes girlfriend getaways, while the 30-second TV spot gives viewers an up-close look at a "visitor's" travel photos.

In addition, Hamilton County Tourism introduced a co-op advertising program in partnership with Carmel, Noblesville and Conner Prairie, to include two-page ads in lifestyle magazines including Indianapolis, Bloomington, Fort Wayne and Louisville. The editorial-style advertisement offers more content and photography to lure visitors, and includes three new markets designed to increase reach.

Hamilton County's digital marketing strategy includes comprehensive and responsive SEO plus online ads on search engines and targeted and vertical ad networks focusing on lifestyle and travel.

"We are taking a holistic approach to our marketing, attempting to reach our consumers in the places they are most receptive to our message," Radcliff explained. "We're very excited to deliver a multi-layered, digital campaign this year in the same manner in which we built our more conventional ad campaign.

Carmel Marathon Sprinting to Top of the Class

When Todd Oliver met with Carmel Mayor James Brainard in 2010, to propose an event that Oliver knew would cause street closures and congestion, he got the green light despite the challenges. Why? The Carmel Marathon was going to be more than just another weekend race; it would become part of Hamilton County's economic development arsenal attracting out-of-towners, who'd do more than race through city streets.

The Carmel Marathon - April 12 is billed as a "not-to-be-missed" event where the course is fast, and there's lots to see and do throughout the weekend. In addition to the marathon, there's a half marathon, an 8K, Marathon Relay and already sold-out Expo. The event quickly gained traction. Every hotel block is filled, and lots of runners want early arrivals on Thursday and late departures on Tuesday to spend more time in the area.

Runners World magazine named the marathon the featured run for April, and it's become the 132nd largest marathon in the U.S. Oliver, Carmel Marathon's Race Director, is hopeful the race will break the top 100 by 2016, maybe sooner. Not bad for a newcomer to an increasingly crowded field - there are more than 1,000 marathons annually across the country.

Oliver credits the races popularity to several factors, including the course itself, which begins and ends at the Carmel City Center, and winds through streets of downtown Carmel, where runners are greeted to live music at various locations.

"It's another example of how high-caliber sports events can help people discover Hamilton County," said William Knox, director of Hamilton County Sports Authority. "People are traveling to Hamilton County from Montreal, Germany, Japan and throughout the country for this event, and we're finding they want to extend their time here." Knox said.

Nearly 20 percent of race participants will be here from Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee.

Nickel Plate Home Wins Award

The Judge Stone House, an 1840s restored home on 8th and Maple Streets in downtown Noblesville, is recipient of the 2013 Indiana Historic Preservation Award for the Outstanding Historic Preservation Fund Rehabilitation. Owned by Hamilton County Tourism, Inc., the building and adjacent 1900s Stephenson House; are home to the Nickel Plate Arts initiative and eight studio artists. The collaborative project included support from the City of Noblesville and a grant from Indiana Department of Historic Preservation for masonry tuck-pointing.

Fishers Arts Plan Recognized

Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association awarded the Town of Fishers Community Art Master Plan its 2014 Hoosier Planning Award for Outstanding Plan recently. The master plan focuses on the town's public art vision, identifying guidelines and priorities for introducing more public art to support quality of place development throughout the community.