By Katy Savage
Mondo Mediaworks is pulling out of a one-year $150,000 contract to market Rutland County three months early.
Mondo, the Brattleboro-based digital marketing company, was hired by the Rutland Regional Chamber of commerce and Rutland Economic Development Corporation two years ago to produce digital marketing campaigns for Rutland and the surrounding area.
The company is shifting away from digital marketing to focus on video production, and is down-scaling from 14 employees to three.
“It was the most difficult choice I had to make since I started the business eight years ago,” said owner Luke Stafford.
Stafford said there’s more competition now in digital media. He said Mondo made significant investments and new sales didn’t come soon enough to offset them.
Chamber of Commerce Director Mary Cohen said the marketing campaign will continue despite Mondo’s sudden announcement last month.
“At first we were a bit surprised, however, this is a vendor that we can replace,” she said. “This project is much bigger than Mondo Mediaworks.”
Mondo will end its contract, which was supposed to expire in March, Dec. 31. Rutland-based Green Mountain Marketing and Advertising, Inc. will manage the website and social media campaigns for the time being.
In January, Cohen said the board will consider hiring a new public relations firm.
The initiative to market the Rutland area began in the spring of 2016 to support business growth and increase the workforce.
A contract with Mondo began in April 2017. The company made videos, launched a website and started social media promotion in October 2017.
The campaign has reached a total of 4 million social media users across all platforms, Cohen said, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter though it’s unclear what impact that has had. It also purchased TV ads on cable networks in Vermont, Boston, Hartford and the New York/New Jersey metro area.
“It is extremely hard to measure the full impact,” Cohen said at a recent Select Board meeting in Killington. “We can only speak anecdotally… and we’ve heard lots of success stories.”
The campaign focus changed from the first year to the second year, to focus on stories of people who live in Rutland and those who have chosen to move to the area – answering the question, “Why Rutland?
While Mondo will no longer be the vendor in charge come January, the marketing initiative will continue.
Along with strong support from the business community, Cohen and REDC Director Tyler Richardson are currently in the process going town to town across Rutland County, asking each of the 27 towns to contribute $1 per resident toward the regional marketing campaign.
Cohen said the 10-year campaign is still in the brand awareness stage. About $175,000 was spent the first year and $150,000 the second year with Mondo.
Cohen was optimistic that the campaign would bring more people to live in Rutland County.
“We think our objectives are strong,” Cohen said in a phone interview. “We intend to move ahead with the same objectives.”