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22 min read

Episode 11: Marketing a Place w/ Seb Slater Shrewsbury BID

Episode 11: Marketing a Place w/ Seb Slater Shrewsbury BID

In this episode of The SME Growth Podcast, Dave Parry and Richard Buckle are joined by Seb Slater, Executive Director of Shrewsbury BID, to discuss his expertise in place marketing. Learn more about the process of marketing a place, specifically to Seb's experience in marketing Shrewsbury. A great listen to anyone interested in place marketing or Shrewsbury as a whole!

Get the most from this episode in the form that works best for you: watch the episode, read the transcript or access further resources mentioned in the episode. 

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REad the transcript

Please note: Whilst all transcripts are double checked for accuracy, they are transcribed via Otter.AI so may contain errors.

David Parry 01:17

Hello, and welcome. You're listening to The SME Growth Podcast from Wellmeadow. And I'm Dave Parry. And my co host with me today is Richard Buckle

Richard Buckle 01:38


David Parry 01:39

And we have a guest do have a guest today, Seb Slater, Director of the Shrewsbury Business Improvement District. What we call The BID. So thanks for joining us.

Seb Slater 01:50

Good to be here.

David Parry 01:51

So we decided today it'd be a good opportunity to talk about a slightly different aspect of marketing. And that is not marketing a product or service per se, but marketing a place, a bit different.

Seb Slater 02:03

Certainly is

David Parry 02:05

Different aspects, some overlap, of course, some commonality, but we thought we'll ask you a little bit of the differences and the challenges because that's, that's a large part of what you're involved into at The BID, promoting Shrewsbury as a town

Seb Slater 02:16

It is. Yeah. So we work with with 500 businesses in the town centre, promoting the town supporting them in a variety of ways. And then we're also involved in shaping the town but they're promoting is when The BID was started, like the key priority. Putting Shrewsbury on the map, making more people know about it and making those that already know about it come and use the town more often.

David Parry 02:36

And a lot of people listening to this who may be in more traditional marketing roles and promoting other types of products and services may not realise that there's a whole body of thinking around this there's an institute isn't it is to a place management. There's a lot of research done on how to manage and promote places

Seb Slater 02:51

Yes and that's that's actually all happened quite quite recently. So the IPM comes out of Manchester Met, and they've been doing a lot of research around place, place management, place marketing, place shaping, all these kinds of things, you know, the importance of place has really gone up the agenda. And, you know, in Shrewsbury working with the councils, The BID is hopefully making a really positive impact on how the town's evolving.

Richard Buckle 03:16

So for the uninitiated, how is it? How do you think differently about marketing place to say a product or service,

Seb Slater 03:24

I guess, product often will have a more clear set of audiences that it's trying to appeal to. Whereas a place in in many ways doesn't quite have to be all things to all people but you are trying to attract a huge variety of people, whether it be people coming to study in the town, people come in to shop people come into work, perhaps older, retired, people. You need to kind of appeal to all of them. Because the economy relies on it in that way. So it's yeah, that's the challenge appealing to such a wide variety? But still having quite a clear sense of what you're about as a place and having a clear brand.

David Parry 04:03

I should imagine not only have you got that layer of complexity, so many different types of users. But a town is different things to different people in the sense that you can use it for so many different things. Some people might just be coming in for a night out others are coming for their shopping. It's a massive array of things to see and do and use a place for isn't there? 

Seb Slater 04:21

You're absolutely right. And I suppose the brand in a way you've got to look at what what applies to everyone what is the canvas that all this stuff happens on and that's and that is the town its heritage, its buildings and all that. So for Shrewsbury? Certainly that's kind of the core essence of our place is that heritage and, and that independent spirit that's been here for a long time you know, Charles Darwin born here and we very much play on that that kind of independence and entrepreneurial spirit that's here. And that then is the basis for what a lot of other things can be layered on top of and I suppose that's where Original Shrewsbury which is the brand that the bid runs with if you like for the town and It's based on really that kind of independence and heritage.

David Parry 05:04

And I guess when I'm thinking about, say, a retail sector, whatever, as the seasons change, they may well change the mix of products, they're promoting to suit seasons, when you're doing a place, the product itself doesn't change, you still got the same shops and the same offerings and the same heritage around it. But the offering definitely changes in other ways through those seasons, doesn't it? The way you promote the summer version Shrewsbury must be very different to the way you promote the winter version.

Seb Slater 05:29

Yeah, absolutely. Right. Yeah. So a place like Shrewsbury has a strong tourism element to its economy, which thrives at certain times of the year. And businesses obviously respond to that and have different products and, you know, availability. And, yeah, I mean, let's take the summer, particularly actually through COVID. You know, Shrewsbury was a brilliant destination for people who couldn't perhaps go abroad in the usual way we're looking for, perhaps a new place to explore and so yeah, the summer was a very different time we dressed the town in a very inviting fun, vibrant way. Lots of businesses were able to open out onto the street and yeah, appealing to that to that visitor market probably more. Well, I wouldn't say necessarily more than the locals because of course, they really enjoyed that that atmosphere and vibe to but yeah, there are patterns throughout the year as a place, for sure. 

Richard Buckle 06:20

It was a good sort of trying to remember back to it was a really good, a little bunting out, wasn't there and everything? A real kind of summer holiday vibe feel about the town centre wasn't that it was almost became a destination, just because of the kind of the dressing of the town, wasn't it?

Seb Slater 06:36

Absolutely. When people arrive in the town, you want them to feel a certain way you want them to be enjoying themselves, frankly, so

Richard Buckle 06:43

Regardless of what you're coming in for really wasn't it, if you're coming into work, you still thought this is a great place to come to work. Because the town looks, it looked upbeat, it looked fresh, it looked Yeah, I had that holiday feel to it, even if you were going into the office, but if you were coming in with friends for drinks or something, then it was you still had that. So it was

Seb Slater 06:59

Yeah, I think you can't underestimate the value of that that vibe that you create, because people feeling good will go and tell the town felt great. I had a great meal. And it just sort of builds from there. So yeah, that atmosphere is crucial to the work we do as well as the outward marketing, which we might talk about. Yeah, just that experience is so important.

Richard Buckle 07:19

saying is that was that whole piece about, you know, trying to be all things to all men, but at the same time, not diluting the brand in any way. Because there is that danger, isn't it? How do you sort of prioritise who's the beneficiary when you're looking at a place? Can you even do that?

Seb Slater 07:37

Obviously, we run a lot of different campaigns, and they will have different focuses. But underpinning it all, is the Shrewsbury brand Original Shrewsbury. And I think, as I said, before, you know, linking into the heritage, the independent feel nature of the town, actually, a lot of stuff can sit on top of that, whether it be you know, a work campaign, getting more businesses to relocate here, whether it be going out for some interesting food and drink, all these stuff can layer on top of the Original Shrewsbury brand

David Parry 08:11

One thing that strikes me is is maybe different. And a big challenge for you guys that promoting something that's a common good, you don't own the town any more than anybody else owns it. But lots of people have got an interest in making it more successful. So unlike, say, a commercial organisation, that it is pretty much solely responsible for marketing, its products, maybe with the manufacturer that you've been supporting, but they're linked, you've got to deal with the fact that lots of other organisations are also trying to promote the town, the place the events that are going on. And you've got to make sure you don't trip over each other or send mixed messages. So there's the tourist office, there's the council, there's the businesses, the people put on the events, you know, everybody's doing all trying to do the same thing. But how do you coordinate that? Or is that impossible, and you, you just have to try your best?

Seb Slater 08:55

I think in terms of promoting the town as a whole, we do take a lead on that as The BID. But other organisations absolutely have their part to play and can compliment that. And actually, they probably have slightly different audiences. I mean, you take social media audiences, we'll all, there'll be an overlap, of course, but actually, it's really valuable for for partners to be amplifying each other's messages were appropriate. And businesses doing their own social. So that's all good. You know, I don't think we sort of think, oh, gosh, there's too many people talking about the same thing. That's good 

David Parry 09:27

And there's no formal coordination, but there doesn't need to be you're saying, it just works.

Seb Slater 09:32

There is some coordination we you know, the partners meet very regularly to talk about promotion, and PR and marketing and so on. It seems to work pretty well.

David Parry 09:41

I guess there's that brand you talked about Original Shrewsbury and people know to talk about the independent shops and the heritage. So we've got the message out well enough around those businesses and other organisations in town. We know which aspects to major on in our messaging.

Seb Slater 09:57

Yeah, I think I think the brand has been a real success. So in that sense that it that it landed well with people, I mean, it takes time. It's been, I think, 10 years now that the brand has been around, but it's well established people know, know what we're about as a town. And we're all playing our part to amplify it

David Parry 10:11

We'll come back to that a bit later, perhaps about the messaging and how we've chosen that then, how it is chosen for the town? In often we're talking about when we're looking at the various aspects of marketing for different products and services we talk about first, who is it we're talking to, the buyer personas, and you mentioned earlier, there's a really wide range, but just thinking of each of those aspects picking up on say, geography to start with? How do you divide up the various people we're talking to me through the lens of geography and where they come from?

Seb Slater 10:40

Yeah, you're right, we do think about audiences geographically, partly because that's how the data is available to us. So we, we can see the amount of people that are spending money from different locations, and we've split those audiences into five key categories if you'd like. And so the first being what we call 15 Minute Town, and those in Shrewsbury would know SY one, two, and three is kind of within the ring road. And that's what we talked about as our kind of core 15 minute town audience that can get in within 15 minutes. We then talk about The Doughnut, which is SY four and five, slightly further out, probably coming in by car or perhaps public transport. And then we go out further to what we call our Core Catchment or Neighbours, those people that are regularly coming into Shrewsbury, it is their main centre, but of course, we want them to come in probably more often. So a key audience, we go out further the region, people within an hour and a halfs drive, so very much could come to us before a day out. And of course, a lot do but a lot, don't. So it's a big market for us to audiences in terms of size. And then we look at the whole of the UK because there's an important market there of people that perhaps getting to know Shrewsbury not heard of it before and want to come and spend a few days with us, which you know, from from a spend from a tourism point of view is is absolutely brilliant. We want to encourage more of that.

David Parry 12:02

We are reasonably centrally located, there must be quite a large population that fits into that sort of neighbours, and you're not too far away, an hour's drive away and get quite a few people.

Seb Slater 12:14

Well, an hour and a half. So you take that region an hour and a half drive you are taking in the conurbations of Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool. So yeah, there's huge numbers of people and huge, huge opportunity.

Richard Buckle 12:26

And I think, Do you do anything around ages in terms of you know, splitting out the buyer personas by you know, Shrewsbury population demographic? How do you? How do you go about looking at that and marketing to those?

Seb Slater 12:40

Yeah, we do think about those. And they obviously are looking at different things, students these days, younger people, perhaps more into TikTok than the local newspapers. So I think you know, our marketing, we try and cover quite a lot of bases, so that we are, you know, appealing to those different those different ages. 

Richard Buckle 12:59

And have you seen a visible shift in that since the university has come here, are we seeing more of a kind of student focus, or

Seb Slater 13:09

I think that young people education is a really key part of Shrewsbury's economy and place, I don't think that's necessarily shifted a huge amount over over, say, the last 10 years. But we think we can do more, you know, I mean, it's a wonderful place to learn, I think Shrewsbury. it's a it's a big enough place that there's enough going on, you know, it's exciting, but it's also a safe place. It's not too big. There's a real sense of community. So we think there's probably more we can do with with education.

David Parry 13:43

They must be a good partner in promoting the town because they've got maybe 600 students, they're probably talking to 1000s who are considering the town, and they're obviously promoting it as a good place to learn as well. So they they're very much in partnership with what you're trying to do.

Seb Slater 13:55

Yeah, and they are one of those partners that I referred to earlier that can amplify, can share messages. And I'd say that the colleges are the same. I think the biggest UK Higher Education College is here in Shrewsbury bringing people from quite a wide geography going back to the geography actually. Yeah, big catchment all coming into Shrewsbury. So yeah, a really another key partner in promoting the town.

David Parry 14:19

And how do you split out the messaging between people who know the town already and regular visitors, maybe even inhabitants residents locally, or new people who've never never come in before maybe if you live a little bit away, don't really even know where it is, you know? How do you tailor what you're saying to those people? 

Seb Slater 14:35

In a strange way, you're saying quite a lot of the same things which is about the place. You know, selling what is brilliant about the place? Yes, sure, people that haven't heard of as you need to do a bit more explaining of how to get here. And actually, the channels are quite different. I think that's probably the the biggest thing you know, when you when we're trying to attract people from the UK then it's it's PR is is a massive one, you know, if you can get a a big article in The Times, then that's that's doing a great job. And it resonates well, locally. I would also add.

David Parry 15:07

There was one locally wasn't there, it was in the time, Sunday Times or something.

Seb Slater 15:11

Before Christmas, we had those absolutely brilliant feature from Christina Lamb. About Shrewsbury being the most festive UK destination, which you know, you can't kind of buy that kind of coverage because that is positioning Shrewsbury in a way which is fantastic for the town. People reading that up and down the country. If they hadn't heard of Shrewsbury, they obviously know now and thinking about it, but locally, people are feeling proud about that.

David Parry 15:35

And anybody locally have any hand in making that happen? Or is that just if a journalist decides to do a feature, we're just lucky or not?

Seb Slater 15:41

So that particular piece came through the Prince Rupert hotel and the work that they'd done through the pandemic, which Christina lamb had, had been part of and covered. And she wanted to, she fell in love with the town. So she wanted to come back and do a piece once once we were all back open. But a lot of the other PR Yeah, it's worked from ourselves, partners as Visit Shropshire constantly beating the drum, getting stories to journalists and say, Well, what about this? You know, the, we've got a great river in Shrewsbury loads going on, why don't you do a piece about the river and that sort of thing? So yeah, it doesn't, doesn't happen by accident. Certainly, we're constantly pushing that. 

Richard Buckle 16:20

When you're looking at your different kind of buyer personas, if you've got certain objectives that you're trying to achieve with them? Or if you are they is it? Is it one size fits all? Or do each, we've got different goals that you're trying to try to achieve with each of them?

Seb Slater 16:33

Definitely different goals. Yeah, I mean, I suppose if you take people that live, really close to the town, pretty much, they're all coming into the town at some point every month. But actually, our objectives are coming more often, we give them more reasons to come in maybe three times a week instead of two times a week, then you go out further, and they might not be accessing the town quite as often. So it's a it's a different objective. And then, you know, going further out again, there might not ever have been. So the objective is to get in there once and you know, we often find people come at once and fall in love with the town. They go, Wow, I can't believe I've been here before. That's a real impact, and then go away and tell their friends. So yeah, in short, different objectives.

David Parry 17:18

So let's move on then, until you've already mentioned earlier, actually, about the different channels and how we get this messaging out to these different audiences, these different buyer personas and maybe tailoring it, because we know that some audiences will use some channels more than other, I should imagine, just like anybody else in a marketing role, you're using the full range of of options available to you through social media, conventional, traditional routes, as well. But let's just explore some of those from it, and maybe try and work out which ones work better for you in different circumstances. So starting off with maybe social media, we mentioned that a lot. It's not one size fits all there either. Are there lots of different types. But where does that work particularly well, when you're trying to promote a place 

Seb Slater 17:58

We have a really strong local social media audience, and that is very responsive to new exciting things happening in the town. And actually, new businesses is probably one of the most popular things on our on our channels. And can be shared hundreds of times. And actually the business then says, you know, that actually made a really big impact to our launch in the town centre. So yep, social locally, very engaged audience. Going further out, we might do social campaigns, you know, paid campaigns, so they're not necessarily following us. But they might have an interest in, I don't know, heritage, food and drink, so we can target an ad to them to say, Have you thought about Shrewsbury for for X, Y and Z? So yeah, even within social doing quite different things with different audiences.

David Parry 18:46

And are we on all the major platforms, are we on TikTok even these days

Seb Slater 18:50

We're on Tik Tok, we're still getting to grips with it if you like and, yeah, so much more to do in that area. But our main one, Facebook and Instagram and Instagram has been growing the most quick of all our audiences I think we're up to over 40,000 now across our channels, but our reach is is in the millions each year.

Richard Buckle 19:13

What sort of things you're putting out on is it just displaying good images of the town? Is it what what sort of content are you producing?

Seb Slater 19:20

Yeah, photography and video is key thing for us. And, you know, Shrewsbury

Richard Buckle 19:27

Lends itself to it really, 

Seb Slater 19:28

It really does and actually, video particularly as well, it can get across that vibe in a really good way. So, yeah, my photography videos, content directly from our businesses is also you know, goes down well, behind the scenes if you'd like giving people a little glimpse into different areas. It's got to be interesting, you know, it can't just be a bland picture of a product really anymore. It's got to be you know, people on social are looking for interesting stories. They've got, you know, short attention span you've got to really grab them. 

Richard Buckle 20:01

We found anything that particularly works in terms of engaging them all the marketing that you're doing. What what is it that you find really resonates when it comes to that sort of place? Is it? Is it a behind the scenes with a business or just seeing a nice park? Or is it? Is there anything in particular that springs to mind?

Seb Slater 20:19

I mean, look, brilliant photos and brilliant photography, really? Just works. Yeah, people just think, Wow, that's beautiful. That will get a lot of almost

Richard Buckle 20:30

Regardless of what the subject is, if it's done well. And it looks good.

Seb Slater 20:33

Yeah, I think that is true. But as I say, new new things happening, that that gets people excited. Oh, you know, something that sort of makes someone sit up and go, Wow, I didn't even realise that. I didn't think that would be that, you know, so that. Yeah, I'd say those two things.

Richard Buckle 20:49

I think we've seen that we've had people come to speak here, haven't we, that they've, we've taken them out after. And they've maybe they've come from, you know, London way or something. And they've come out in Shrewsbury and thought well hang on a minute. This is this is almost got that kind of London esque feel in places in terms of the quality of the establishments and what's on offer. 

David Parry 21:10

But no surprise as well as I think people must have. It must be a big challenge. You've got here that there are those that you mentioned earlier that know nothing about Shrewsbury. Almost harder, though is those that think they know about Shrewsbury? It's really they've got this view of it in their mind. Yeah, as a bit of a sleepy backwater market town, you know, whatever it may be. And then they get here, I find that there's actually some quite funky bars, and there's some great shops, what's going on, live music, and they weren't expecting that your clients even from Kenilworth elsewhere in the Midlands that come over and eyes popping out. I really didn't know this was here.

Seb Slater 21:40

It's an interesting point.

Richard Buckle 21:41

I suppose that's, you know, taking it beyond shoes, but it's probably true of many places, isn't it? There's always that local, once you get the locals guide to it almost you find the good places you find the good spots, and it's about promoting that, isn't it in an accessible way? So there are other ways that you're doing that. It's a, you know, email website, how else are you trying to get the message out? What's working? 

Seb Slater 22:03

Yeah, I mean, we do we do all that. I mean, our email list is, by and large, I'm sure people that have already been and kind of already know a bit about the place, and they just want to know what the latest events are, what new things are happening.

David Parry 22:15

How do you capture email addresses to people volunteer them through a form?

Seb Slater 22:19

I mean, through through our website, so we run the town's main visitor, customer website, Original Shrewsbury. So we get quite a lot of signups through that. competitions that we run. And word of mouth, all our businesses, you know, all their employees and so on. So yeah, we haven't we have a decent mailing list. Yeah, that is mainly people that know about the place. Yeah. What was the other one? You mentioned?

David Parry 22:41

On our websites, when other things you can do around? Yeah. Do you do pay per click? For example? That's some businesses do that a lot. Some don't.

Seb Slater 22:48

We do through social. Yeah, we don't do so we have done a few campaigns through through Google and so on. But yeah, mainly social, when we're targeting people that don't know about us, but would be interested in a particular aspect of our offer. 

David Parry 23:02

Notice you do it surveys, some sort of visitor surveys as well, how does that work? How does it help you?

Seb Slater 23:07

So we advertise at the station, for example, when people are arriving, and then leaving to tell us how they found their stay or their visit to Shrewsbury. And that obviously helps us measure how we're doing in various areas such as cleanliness, or how did they find the atmosphere? Were there things that could have been better. So we get some really useful feedback that we can use ourselves and share with partners. But we also get them email addresses, so we can do things

David Parry 23:36

I'm interested as well about how you work so that sort of the town gains more generally, out of the big events, some of which Shrewsbury's already very well known for the flower show, for example, is very well known nation winnd. Coaches come in from all over for the Shrewsbury Flower Show, but there are others as well, on this, there's a good local events company isn't as always running Food Festival, children's festival, and Oktoberfest is on. How do we make sure that the town benefits more generally, rather than just the event having attendees that come in? And go just for it?

Seb Slater 24:04

Yeah, well, some of those bigger events, pull in people that haven't been to the town. And that's, that's quite clear, and particularly from that region, think, say, the food festival. So in many ways, the event is introducing Shrewsbury to those people. And we hope that they have a, obviously a good experience at that event, but they glimpse a bit of what's going on. And we'll come back and we're doing some work at the moment with those event organisers to see if we can join up our marketing a bit more. You know, obviously, they have their own database of people that have been and what messages can we be sending their way to make sure that we're getting on the back of it, but I think, I think businesses widely accept that on those days, although business can sometimes be a bit tough because it's a different kinds of day. The longer term profile gain is certainly worth it for the town.

David Parry 24:53

Alright, something we talked about with all of the businesses we work with is that concept of collaboration of partners and either borrowing piggybacking on someone else's audience can benefit both parties. That seems to be a classic example, where its got a tremendous following all of its own. Yeah. And we need to show them what else there is here while they're here.

Seb Slater 25:12

Absolutely. And actually Food Festival this year, we're talking about doing some activities, not just in The Quarry where the main events happen, actually really bringing some of that through the town. So hopefully some exciting announcements on that soon.

Richard Buckle 25:25

Is there anything that you can you can do when you're marketing a place that protect a business couldn't do thinking maybe like signage? Is there anything you've seen that like that when it comes to place marketing that this is something that maybe a business on its own? Couldn't do? Or is that is that even a thing? Or do you?

Seb Slater 25:44

I think many of the same principles apply if you had a shop or store, you can do things physically. For us, if you like, the town is the shop, you know, it's how do we make the whole experience? And of course, there's such variety, so it is a bit different, but yeah, signage, but that would be the same in a shop potentially there. I mean, there is just general town town dressing, which we picked on earlier, but it's that's a key part of it, but a shop, you know, shop window, yeah, they have to do all that as well. So it's just on a on a bigger scale. And obviously, trying to incorporate a sort of wider variety of uses rather than being very specific with to shop might be

David Parry 26:23

There's a lot of commonality, then Isn't there anybody thinking of marketing a place it's they can still bring a lot of the toolkit that they have for marketing, anything else. So let's talk a bit about the key messaging then. And I was just looking around to see who else well, places are there that are really good at messaging. And the one that came out straightaway and possibly listeners will immediately recognise it is the I Love New York campaign with a very distinctive logo with the heart, you know, I heart NY and you see on T shirts on capsules, you know that that must be up there. And you guys who are experts around place as one of the the exemplars really of how you embody a place in a logo and a key message. And there's a few other ones around, I found mainly American examples where they focus on what's different about that place. And I found straplines, like, Keep Austin Weird, or Only in Nashville, or What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, you know, we can imagine they're all hitting the spot. But so, thinking about Shrewsbury, then how do we how do we summarise the essence of Shrewsbury? What is it what the key strapline is that we use key benefits?

Seb Slater 27:24

Well, our brand is Original Shrewsbury. And so if you like, it's just one extra word apart from the place, which is original, which we think when you put it alongside photography, and other assets you can show is about the heritage, about the independent spirit about interesting stuff happening. So that's kind of our core, our core brand, really?

David Parry 27:44

And how do we do in attracting people to the town? Does it work? You know, we were successful in getting a lot more new people here and a lot of existing visitors go more often?

Seb Slater 27:54

Yeah, I think we are I think if you just go and speak to businesses and ask, okay, over the last few years, how has for example, particularly the summer, you know, what, how does that feel? We are getting more and more new people, there's more demand for more hotels and so on. So, no, I think it's certainly working

David Parry 28:12

On the back of that. How do we measure it? You saying there's a good feel for that people feel it's busier? You're not short of data, either? What can you get access to people might be surprised quite how much in a commercial environment, you know, your sales and your inquiries? Yeah, that's a very we're all familiar with that. Was it like in a place you don't sell? There's no one point of sale is there for places it's very, very disputed. So how do you measure it?

Seb Slater 28:37

It's a really good point. I mean, we've been measuring footfall for years, pretty much since The BID began. And we got two cameras that physically counts, people walking down the street, which is, which is a great barometer. And for years, that was kind of what places relied upon was just footfall numbers. But of course, that doesn't relate necessarily to spend, which is really important to the economy. So we've now getting much richer data, which is, which is brilliant, because we are able to measure, like you say, where people are spending money in terms of sectors, you know, we've seen a real increase in food and drink spend compared to pre pandemic, retail is actually holding up pretty well, compared to a lot of places across the UK. But we're able to see the trends there across sectors, but also where are people coming from? So in terms of measuring the history economy, which is your earlier question, you we can add up our region and our UK audience and see that spend over a year, compare it to the previous year and so on. So, yeah, we've got a pretty good handle on on where people are coming from. 

Richard Buckle 29:39

And that data is feeding back into your marketing efforts, presumably? 

Seb Slater 29:42

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. So we've got certain objectives. If you take next year, for example, around the visitor economy we'll be able to see, okay, we've tried these three campaigns all about the district as it had an impact.

David Parry 29:56

It's really quite interesting actually, just to think different. leave for a moment about how other people have to do something which is aligned to a challenge. And we all have. So really thank you for coming in today. So that's been brilliant to hear about a very different thing to have to be able to market. I think it's probably a good lesson anyway, that whatever you're doing, try and look at examples where other people are a bit different from you just to see if you can borrow ideas from it. Great, very useful. Thanks. Thanks, Rich as well. So you've been listening to The SME Growth Podcast from Wellmeadow. Please subscribe to the podcast wherever you get your podcasts from, and perhaps more importantly, tell your business friends that were here, ask them to come along. And until next time, good luck with your businesses. And we'll be back next week. Bye.

Further resources

Take a look at the work Seb does as Shrewsbury BID and Original Shrewsbury.

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