In our ever-changing world, most everyone is looking for authenticity, especially in businesses. Knowing who to trust, especially in times of economic hardship, is vital. When looking at these issues in terms of marketing, it is important to offer clients the same authenticity.
For small businesses, it is even more important to be authentic. Many people are looking to the community and supporting small businesses in hopes of helping them to remain open during the pandemic. When making purchases of their own, they are more apt to work with a company they can trust, so authenticity is important.
Because Stephanie was born in Germany and grew up in Southeast Asia, she has been very fortunate to travel a lot because she has family worldwide. Stephanie shares, “My international background has given me a great perspective on how different cultures welcome their visitors.” This gives her the unique ability to understand and connect with her clients.
After a move to Nashville to pursue her master’s in Marketing more than four years ago, Stephanie Verheyen is using her marketing background with a concentration in events in Trove Hospitality, her new small business.
Stephanie has taken the experiences she has learned in digital marketing and PR from other positions to add to her arsenal of skills. After losing her job in events during the pandemic, Stephanie was given the opportunity to begin her adventure in Trove Hospitality through her network.
Because she began her business during the pandemic, it started slow, but slow isn’t always a bad thing. It allowed her to find out what did and did not work in terms of marketing. The slower than normal start enabled her to start her business with a solid foundation to grow her business. She was able to learn the ins and outs day by day. Stephanie said it was “the silver lining” to the slow start.
Trove Hospitality is a full-service concierge and vacation planning company that creates custom vacation itineraries for people coming to visit Nashville, focusing on small businesses and the things that are a little bit more unique.
As a small business owner, Stephanie created her company with small businesses and local shops in mind. She wanted to create an atmosphere where she could give her clients a more personal approach. “to be like your friend who happens to live in the city that you're talking to. That's exactly what my vision is.”
To achieve her goal, Stephanie needed to develop a marketing plan focusing on her target audience. Luckily for Stephanie, the marketing portion of business ownership is her expertise.
Many people don’t have the same level of trust they did pre-pandemic. Stephanie says that “there have been some pretty harsh realizations for people over the last year or so.” Because finances are tighter, whatever the reason, being authentic with your clients will help develop a genuine relationship with you. They will trust you and trust your business.
Another key focus for Stephanie in growing her business in Nashville is developing partnerships with other small businesses that she can refer her clients to. She hopes that through these partnerships, she can foster relationships with local business owners and pass that authenticity on to Nashville visitors.
There is a debate on which type of media is most effective in the marketing community, traditional media or the new era of digital media. While each has its benefits, Stephanie feels they are both critical in a marketing plan. Because you never know where your target audience will be exposed to your marketing.
When asked if there was a place for traditional marketing, Stephanie said, “Oh. I think the most important thing to remember is that digital marketing techniques were born out of a necessity to adapt traditional marketing.” She shared that social media ads are the new magazines, banners are the new billboards, and influencer marketing is the new word of mouth.
Digital marketing may be growing in popularity based on the new normal that has come out of the pandemic. Still, traditional marketing should not be forgotten because it will always have a key role as it is the foundation of marketing.
While there have been shifts in marketing strategy, Stephanie shared that developing a solid marketing plan has stayed the same. She says it’s all in the details. She added, “Having a very detailed plan in almost more detail than you might think is necessary is going to be the best way to prepare for any eventuality.”
One thing to remember is that a marketing plan is not set in stone. It is a living document that is flexible. You must also be flexible when creating strategies or adjusting current ones to recent trends. For your business to thrive, your marketing plan must help it to do so.
Because Stephanie is in the beginning stages of her business, she is concentrating on tracking everything. Her goal is to get everything functioning to its best possible capacity. From that point, she will be able to see from her data what is working. While data is essential, Stephanie says it is crucial to know what will work organically and what may need some help from the limited budget of a new business.
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