Foundation is critical partner in Cherokee’s marketing efforts


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The health of Cherokee cultural attractions and the local economy depend on effective marketing strategies. Creating a uniform marketing collaborative was a logical step in the formation of the Greater Cherokee Tourism Council (GCTC), the body responsible for driving visitors to Cherokee attractions.

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“Foundation grants are crucial to the GCTC efforts,” said Robert Jumper, EBCI Interim Marketing Manager, and head of the GCTC. “If we didn’t have these funds, it would drastically impact the visibility of Cherokee and our partners.”

The GCTC includes Cherokee Historical Association, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Qualla Arts & Crafts, EBCI Fish & Wildlife Management, EBCI Transit, Sequoyah National Golf Club, and EBCI Travel & Tourism. The strength of this project ensues from the diversity of individual participating organizations which help to generate comprehensive annual marketing strategies. The partners assist in the creation of advertising copy, media purchases, website and social media enhancements, and online advertising.

“The overall goal of our marketing campaign is to drive overnight visitation,” explained Robert. “We are advertising during specific times of the year, and we are increasing the use of digital advertising, and using video to capture attention.”

CPF grant funds allow GCTC to conduct exhaustive research that provides detailed demographic analytics on Cherokee tourism. Thereby affording the GCTC with tools to evaluate and assess the visitor’s length of stay and their reasons for visiting Cherokee. They also work with Element Advertising as a lead expert marketing contractor, which refines the research data, prepares the media plan, and executes the advertising purchases based on GCTC’s feedback.

For example, the research study categorizes the prime reasons people visit Cherokee. Consequently, identifying the Cherokee visitor’s originating location and visitation canons assist the GCTC in the development of target advertising tools.

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Some recent significant research findings—past visitors rate their level of satisfaction with a Cherokee visit at 4.26 on a scale of 1-5.  And 42 percent of those familiar with Cherokee in the region say they will probably visit Cherokee within the next year.

“The detail of the raw data and the research we conduct continuously makes this whole process really a science,” said Robert. “We know we are properly targeting the dollars the Foundation provides, and our results prove that with detailed analytics for both print and online advertising.”

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Millennials and baby boomers are prime target markets, and GCTC is presently attempting to influence their travel plans to include Cherokee through sophisticated online advertising purchases and strategies.

For several years the Foundation has awarded GCTC grants to support annual marketing campaigns; in 2016 the organization received $750,000, half of its entire marketing budget.

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