The DMO Download

A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.

Changing the Public’s Perception of “Hillbillies”


Read the Latest in Rural Tourism News

This week, check out stories about Scottsdale’s successful advertising campaign, how the town of Pageland is holding onto its rural identity, about how one documentary is changing the perspective on “hillbilly,” and so much more. Keep reading!

Experience Scottsdale’s Marketing Campaign Inspires Visitation

Experience Scottsdale’s advertising campaigns have been very successful in attracting tourists to the city of Scottsdale, Arizona. Experience Scottsdale is a nonprofit organization responsible for promoting Scottsdale as a luxury travel destination. The article highlights the findings of a recent study conducted by Longwoods International, a prominent tourism market research firm, regarding the impact of Experience Scottsdale’s advertising efforts.

Here are some key points from the campaigns that DMOs should note for their own campaigns:

  • Positive ROI: Experience Scottsdale’s advertising campaigns have demonstrated a strong return on investment (ROI). For every $1 spent on advertising, Experience Scottsdale generates $116 in visitor spending and $4 in state and local taxes. This indicates that their marketing efforts are highly effective in bringing tourists to the area and boosting economic activity.
  • Long-Term Partnership: Experience Scottsdale has been working in partnership with the city of Scottsdale and the town of Paradise Valley for 36 years. They represent around 400 tourism-related businesses in the region and aim to enhance the local community through tourism.
  • Efficient Campaigns: Longwoods International’s study found that Experience Scottsdale’s advertising campaigns are highly efficient. They achieve a high recall rate among travelers in key markets (New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles) at a lower cost compared to similar organizations of their size and budget.
  • Positive Impact: The research also revealed that consumers who recall Experience Scottsdale’s advertising are not only more likely to visit but also more likely to view Scottsdale as an attractive place for various purposes, including living, working, starting a business, attending college, buying a vacation home, and retiring.
  • Diverse Promotion Efforts: While advertising is a significant part of their efforts, Experience Scottsdale also engages in other activities such as public relations, convention sales, and tourism training, all contributing to the economic development and promotion of Scottsdale as a travel destination.
  • Community Support: Experience Scottsdale’s programs and initiatives are vetted and approved by various stakeholders, including the Scottsdale City Council, the Scottsdale Tourism Development Commission, and their own board of directors, which includes representatives from various sectors.

The article highlights the importance of effective marketing in the tourism industry and how Experience Scottsdale has managed to not only attract tourists but also shape positive perceptions of Scottsdale as a place to live, work, and invest. Destination marketing organizations (DMOs) can learn from Experience Scottsdale’s successful advertising campaigns, efficient use of resources, and the impact of their efforts on both tourism and the community. Efficient and targeted marketing, along with a long-term commitment to promoting a destination, can yield substantial returns.

This Small Town Holds Onto Its Identity Despite an Influx of New Residents

Pageland, a small town situated on the border of South Carolina and North Carolina, faces a predicament as it grapples with a substantial influx of new residents primarily driven by its proximity to the expanding Charlotte metropolitan area. With a current population of 2,500, Pageland is undergoing rapid growth, and if current development trends persist, it is projected to double in size by the end of the decade. This surge in population has brought both opportunities and challenges. On one hand, it offers economic prospects for the town, but on the other, it has raised concerns among longtime residents. They worry about overcrowded schools, strained emergency services, inadequate infrastructure, and an increasing cost of living, all of which could potentially erode the town’s unique identity and close-knit community feel.

Local leaders, including the Chamber of Commerce president, stress the importance of managing this growth thoughtfully. They emphasize the need for Pageland to preserve its distinct identity and instill a sense of pride in its existing and incoming residents. However, as the town undergoes this transformation, some residents have observed noticeable changes in their daily lives, such as not recognizing everyone at the grocery store, highlighting the shifting dynamics within the community.

The rapid growth in Pageland is largely attributed to the housing market in nearby Charlotte, which is operating at full capacity, prompting individuals to seek more affordable and accessible housing options in Pageland. In response to the challenges brought on by the influx of new residents, Pageland officials have implemented significant impact fees. These fees are intended to fund essential enhancements to the town’s infrastructure and services, ensuring they can meet the demands of the growing population.

This transition poses a unique challenge to Pageland, which historically enjoyed isolation due to limited economic opportunities and its distance from larger cities. Now, as it becomes increasingly integrated into the Charlotte metropolitan area, the town grapples with maintaining its rural lifestyle and distinct character in the face of rapid urbanization. In essence, Pageland strives to balance the benefits of growth with the need to preserve its cherished community identity.

Changing the Public's Perception of “Hillbillies”

The documentary film “Hillbilly,” co-directed by Ashley York and Sally Rubin, delves into the complex and often misunderstood cultural identity of people living in Appalachia, particularly in Kentucky. The film explores the impact of the term “hillbilly” on the people of this region, the stereotypes associated with it, and the efforts to reclaim and redefine the word.

The documentary follows Ashley York’s return to her hometown in Kentucky during the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, where she interviews her family members, including her grandmother Shelby, who are staunch Trump supporters despite being lifelong Democrats. Through these conversations, the film examines the diverse perspectives within the community, from the descendants of coal miners to LGBTQ+ and Black individuals living in Appalachia.

One of the central themes of the film is the lack of understanding and knowledge about the people of Appalachia, and the filmmakers aim to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding this region. The article highlights the importance of deconstructing and reclaiming the term “hillbilly,” similar to how the LGBTQ+ community has reclaimed the word “queer” in recent years.

In addition to its exploration of cultural identity and politics, the article mentions the historical context of the term “hillbilly” and how it has been used to stereotype and stigmatize people from the Appalachian region, perpetuating negative perceptions.

Overall, the article underscores the significance of “Hillbilly” as a documentary that seeks to challenge stereotypes, shed light on the diverse perspectives within Appalachia, and prompt discussions about the cultural identity and political dynamics of the region. For rural DMOs, this could be an interesting watch as the documentary seeks to understand the perspective of outsiders on rural life.

A Comprehensive Marketing Strategy Made All the Difference With This Destination

Visit Crawford, the destination marketing organization for Crawford County, Pennsylvania, was struggling to communicate their offerings to potential visitors. A disjointed marketing strategy and a lack of resources left the organization with ineffective ads, a limited digital presence and an unfamiliarity with its target audience and community brand. When new leadership took the helm, Visit Crawford realized that they needed to outsource their marketing efforts to achieve the results they needed.

Visit Crawford collaborated with Bull Moose Marketing to create a comprehensive marketing strategy that helped leverage the county’s heritage tourism offerings, cultural touchstones and rich history to help the region stand out. Beginning with a variety of workshops, the organization worked with us to identify the region’s unique value proposition, target audiences and other key points to help build a strategy that would put Crawford County on the map as an ideal tourism destination. This yielded a unified brand voice and strategy, increased engagement on social media, more stakeholder participation and more.

This shows how a comprehensive heritage tourism marketing strategy can make all the difference in a DMO’s marketing efforts. Learn more about how Visit Crawford and Bull Moose Marketing collaborated to overcome challenges and achieve goals here.

  • Paige Schamberg

    Content Production Manager at Bull Moose Marketing. A lover of literature and a sunshine enthusiast who probably drinks too much tea. Connect with me on LinkedIn @paigeschamberg

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