Marketing in Asheville is a strange thing, because Asheville is a strange place. It’s incredibly conservative in some ways, flamingly liberal in others. It’s touristy, but we have industry and sectors that are completely local-focused. You have hippies and beatniks and back-woods folk and punks and artists and migrant farmers and button-down suit & tie guys. Usually within 3 feet of each other.
Since Asheville is so diverse in so many ways, marketing – and especially marketing direction – here can be difficult to really pinpoint. “General broadcasting” is not nearly accurate enough for the Asheville market. Because you have so many disparate ages, beliefs, backgrounds and lifestyles, sending out a poorly planned and executed “blanket” email or postcard or newspaper ad can seriously water down your message, and cost a lot of money for not a lot of results.
So – what do you do? Do you focus on one group? Do you try to hit everyone with a “universal” message? Do you play on the differences? Well, sort of all of the above.
When you get ready to market to Asheville (you ARE planning on marketing, right?*) you need to do a couple of things:
- Define yourself from Asheville’s point of view – not the other way around.
- Define your audience and what they really want – not what you think they want or want them to want.
- Define your marketing project and your goals for that project – brand recognition, sales, contacts, leads – whatever.
- Define how much of Asheville you need to reach to be successful – not so much in your business, but more in your marketing
Once you have these things laid out, you can then start building a compelling, accurate and functional marketing plan. When it comes to marketing, design (as much as I hate to admit this) is secondary to planning and coming up with a compelling concept that works with your audience and actually addresses your goals. Just as important as the concept, though, is the overall marketing scheme – the research and knowing and understanding your market. Without that understanding, you’re really missing the point – and you’re going to pay a helluva lot more to market improperly.
Now comes the sales part: We’re Asheville. We’ve been Asheville our whole lives. We’ve seen things come and go here – and we understand what makes Asheville, Asheville. We can help you with the definitions (above) and we can help you find, reach and affect your market. We can make you look fabulous in Asheville (and other places.) Since we are so soaked through and through with Ashevilleness, we know what we’re doing here. We know the questions. We know the market. We know the marketing.