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Marketing firm provides services to Natchez Pilgrimage Tours

By TIM GUERCIO

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Angela Smith of Springfield, Missouri, said she has had a lifelong affinity for Natchez, and she feels fortunate to have been able to combine her love of Natchez with her marketing and advertising skills.

For the past 18 years, Smith has owned ADsmith, an advertising and marketing firm based in her hometown, Springfield.

Last year, she signed on to provide marketing and advertising services for Natchez Pilgrimage Tours.

That business relationship, Smith said, grew out of Smith’s visits to Natchez throughout her lifetime.

Smith said she first became aware of Natchez when she was 12 years old growing up in Springfield and her mother had read about the historic city overlooking the Mississippi River.

Smith said she finally got to visit Natchez in the early 1970s while on a family vacation driving to Pensacola, Florida, when her father made a detour so they could all see the town about which her mother had been reading.

During the visit, Smith said her mother fell in love with Natchez and Smith did, too.

That experience started a lifelong love affair with the city of Natchez, Smith said, adding that her family came back to Natchez more times.

Visiting Natchez is a tradition Smith said she has carried on with her own family, visiting Natchez for spring Pilgrimage, and sometimes for the fall pilgrimage, every year since 1996.

Smith said the Natchez Pilgrimage Tours opportunity came to her through her work as a docent at Oak Hill Bed and Breakfast for the past 11 years for fall Pilgrimage tours in Natchez.

“The first thing that we did was update the website visually,” Smith said of her company’s work for Natchez Pilgrimage Tours. “Our main function for them is to keep the content fresh, constantly changing pictures of the river, pictures of the cemetery and uploading as many pictures of historic properties as we can.”

With photographers and videographers on her staff of 20, Smith said her company is able to constantly assist the staff at Natchez Pilgrimage Tours.

“We have a contract for 10 hours of service per month,” Smith said, “to work on the website, and we probably give another 10 hours because we love it.”

Pilgrimage Tours officials said they are happy to have Smith’s company helping promote Natchez Pilgrimage.

“I’m thrilled that we still have a pilgrimage after 87 years,” said Eugenie Vasser Cates, president the Pilgrimage Garden Club and board member of Natchez Pilgrimage Tours. “We are making every effort to let people know that we are still here. It is time to market Natchez in a different way, through the internet and with social media. It’s nice to have a firm that gets it.”

Smith said she believes in Natchez as a great tourist destination and has even done some research that supports her statement.

From an in-house ADsmith database of respondents in and around southwest Missouri, Smith said she sent out a survey online to people who confirmed that they like travelling and tourism.

Of those who answered the survey online, Smith said, 68 percent said they like to visit historic locations.

In another online question, Smith said, her respondents said they would be willing to, and do, drive up to eight hours to get to their destination.

“The internet helps people make their travel choices,” Smith said, “and they also use the internet to do research on their destination before they choose it.”