Homewood hoping for home run with marketing campaigns

  A panel from a comic-styled series designed by
  local artist Marc Alan Fishman intended to appeal
  to couples and young families in Chicago who might
  be considering a move to the suburbs.
(Provided image)
 

 

Plans for a pair of marketing campaigns aimed at attracting businesses and residents to Homewood were unveiled at the village board meeting March 26. 
 
The village is asking people to “Think Homewood” and sending locally made baseball bats and faux trading cards to developers in two projects going public this month. 
 
  Marketing consultant Mary 
  Jane Maharry, left, looks on 
  as Homewood Economic
  Development Director 
  Angela Mesaros displays 
  two baseball bats made 
  by Homewood Bat Co. 
  Homewood bats will be 
  included in packages 
  sent to prospective 
  developers.
(Photo by 
  Quincy Crump/H-F 
  Chronicle)
 
The "Think Homewood" message is presented through comic strips and will be advertised  in print, on mobile devices and on the CTA’s Blue Line. It’s designed to attract young, professional families to Homewood. The village also developed radio spots.

The idea for the baseball theme promotion for developers came out of necessity. Village spokesperson Mary Jane Maharry said no developers responded to the village’s 2017 request for proposals for a mixed used development.
 
“It became clear that the standard passive approach typically used by municipalities was not working for us,” she said. “We had to be more direct, distinctive and assertive to draw interest from developers.”

The baseball card theme was developed to catch eyes and start conversations, she said.
 
“This campaign taps into Homewood's love of baseball, timed with opening week of the Major League baseball season, and Homewood Bat Company being a unique business in Homewood,” Maharry said. 
 
  Packages of faux baseball 
  cards tout the attractive 
  features of Homewood.

  (Photo by Eric Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)
 
White Sox announcer Jason Benetti, a Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduate, did the voice over for a “highlight video” on the site that showcases several available properties. 
 
Twelve developers on a target list were sent a bat designed by Homewood Bat Company and engraved with the business’s logo. With the bat was a pack of “baseball cards,” each conveying facts about the village, its residents, possible incentives and details about properties. 
 
An additional 19 developers will be getting only cards.
 
“The cards highlight that Homewood has a great downtown with easy access to Chicago by train,” Maharry said. “Our community possesses many amenities and there is a market demand for apartments, all the attributes for a successful mixed use development.”
 
The investment for the baseball campaign was $3,800, Maharry said, which includes the graphic design by Andy Mead, printing and distribution.
 
“This is something we realized we had to do to draw the attention of developers, to make them realize that Homewood is here and has a lot to offer,” Village Manager Jim Marino said. “We have five sites in our downtown that we want to develop, so this is a way to really draw their attention.”

The “Think Homewood” project began in January. It’s the first time the village has directly advertised toward Chicagoans, Maharry said. 
 
“The specific audience we hope to attract is young families or young people who are considering a move out of the city and are looking for a diverse, creative, affordable suburb with award-winning schools, interesting things to do, unique shops and delicious restaurants,” Maharry said. “The specific areas of the near south, near west and near north sides (of Chicago) as well as commuters were a focus because of the concentration of those young people and their likelihood of moving to a south suburb.”

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A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.

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