Effective communication of Native American Tribal culture providing awareness,
reverence, visitation, preservation of culture, sovereignty, and economic and spiritual growth for Tribal members.

The Benefits of Bigwitch Cultural Tourism Marketing for Native American Tribes:

  • Clean economic growth through geotourism. Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the distinctive geographical character of a place—its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture, and the well-being of its residents.
  • Economic Independence
  • Interest in, awareness of and reverence for Tribe history and culture
  • Consistent and accurate representation of unique culture, people and history
  • Preservation of culture and traditions
  • Generating awareness and pride among Tribal members of history and culture
  • Providing financial opportunity and personal fulfillment for Tribal members
  • Preservation of Tribal traditions, language, and sovereignty

About Us:

Bigwitch, 100% Native American-owned. Owner and President Mary Jane Ferguson was Marketing Director for the Eastern Band of Cherokee for 9 years, past board member of Cherokee Preservation Foundation, Board member for Cherokee Historical Association and the Museum of the Cherokee Indians and President of AIANTA (American Indian, Alaskan Native Tourism Association).

Bigwitch is founded with the experience, appreciation and understanding of a Tribe’s concern (especially among the elders) of publicizing, promoting, or the “selling of our culture.” Regarding concerns about “selling our culture,” Bigwitch wants to achieve the opposite result through effective cultural marketing. A Tribe’s very sacred, private cultural traditions should remain so. Other Tribal cultural and historical facts story are communicated with respect, leading to awareness of and reverence for the Tribe and pride among the Tribal members.

Bigwitch is the first Native American-owned company created for the purpose of working with Native American Tribes to establish Tourism Departments, Marketing Programs, Events, and Cultural Branding to drive clean economic growth and awareness of and reverence for the Tribe’s culture, both internally and externally through tourism.

Bigwitch is founded with the experience of successfully marketing the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, moving them from an 11-year-over-year decline to record increases in visitation, levy and brand recognition. This result was accomplished by building a marketing program from the ground up: from establishing the Travel and Promotion department, cultural authority, destination partners, obtaining funding, establishing budgets and identification, evaluation, and enhancement of cultural entities and visitor experiences. Then, identifying the distinctive cultural brand positioning based on the cultural traditions unique to the Tribe, development and approvals of a marketing strategic plan consisting of: Brand positioning, target audience profile, packaging/itineraries and tactical/media plans.


Bigwitch brings experience, expertise, and services unique to and created for the challenges of Native American cultural marketing, as well the classic marketing services of traditional world-class advertising agencies to your cultural marketing challenge.

Bigwitch Tourism Tribal Consulting Services:

Gain consensus on the necessity, structure, and establishment of a cultural association and authority for consensus on identifying and prioritizing the tribe’s cultural traditions, arts, regalia, song, dance, and history for communication in the cultural awareness and branding campaign in a manner that generates reverence, not degradation.

Work with council and chairman/chief to establish the opportunity for economic growth through tourism, develop top-line plan with projections, and establish necessary foundation budgets and partners. Public Awareness campaign for tribe as to the importance and opportunity of tourism.

Establish/refine Travel and Promotions Department structure, resources, and operations.

Evaluate and prioritize cultural facts, distinctions, and tribe destination features and experiences for marketing.

Identify and prioritize tribe features and experiences for execution of marketing and branding campaign.

Identify, enhance and structure the cultural entities, attractions, and historical sites for allowing tourists to experience the culture.

Development of cost/value proposition of the experiences and development of packages, including visitor experience, accommodations, meals, etc.

Evaluation/development of event schedule.

Development of co-op partners and sponsorships for events and cultural tourism.

Identify stakeholders and beneficiaries of a proactive and successful tourism economy. Obtain participation, endorsements, funding, and budget approvals.

Identify and reach your prospects psychographically, demographically, and geographically, including international.

Establish goals and measurement matrices/procedures.

Establish cultural brand story and supporting facts.

Evaluation of tribe’s current and past marketing programs from a visitor’s perspective.

Destination product/experience evaluation and enhancement for visitor/brand fulfillment.

Strategic marketing planning and execution.

Marketing/Cultural Branding/Advertising Services


It all begins with a question: What in the world are you trying to do? And we literally mean, what historical, cultural, and natural features do you have that will distinguish you in the world. We ascertain what collective knowledge we have to position you according to your assets; we discover what critical insights are missing; and we go find them using our suite of proprietary research tools designed for full discovery in the destination, your constituency, and your competition.

Specialty Discovery Suite:
– State of the Industry Scan
– Brand Audit
– Competitive Analysis
– Destination Immersion & Workshop
– Stakeholder Interviews
– Quantitative/Qualitative Studies: Past Visitor and Prospective Visitor Quantitative Studies and Advanced Focus Groups


Oh, branding. Everybody from the blacksmith to the designer does branding, and everything from a logo to a single TV ad is called a brand. At Bigwitch Marketing we define a brand as “a destination’s distinction communicated consistently over time.”

We rake all the gems (visitor experiences/features/assets) that support a destination brand distinction into a pile. We then rub them up against the competition and test them among your constituents for a leading brand distinction.

Branding Suite:
– Stakeholder Interviews
– Brand Audit
– Competitive Analysis
– Influencer Interviews
– Brand Workshop
– Segmentation Analysis
– Usage and Attitude Study
– Brand Story Development
– Focus Groups
– Brand Architecture and Positioning
– Brand Strategy
– Strategic Plan


This is where the magic happens. It all comes down to the content in front of your prospects. Does it touch their emotions? If not, it’s not worth the ink or pixels it’s written with. This is where Bigwitch Marketing excels: taking a destination’s supporting historical/cultural, natural experiences or facts, then communicating them in a manner that makes your prospects laugh, smile, think, and feel. And guess what? When they do, they remember. Clients comment that our campaigns are “so different from one another and from what is out there in the industry.” That is because our process truly identifies the unique features and experiences and communicates them in a manner that connects emotionally and personally. Emotional connections are highly effective opportunities to produce brand awareness, association, and visitation.

Bigwitch Marketing executes its standard-of-excellence process for all known creative projects:
– Logo/Branding
– Themeline Development
– Outdoor/POP/In-store
– Ad Campaigns: digital, traditional, direct
– SEM, PPC, Remarketing, Key Phrase/Word Banking
– Website Design/Programming
– Banners
– Wayfinding/Signage
– Collateral
– Broadcast, TV, Radio/Direct Mail
– Motion Footage
– Mobile App
– Press Kit
– Group Planners/Tour Operator Packages
– Vehicle Wrap
– Packaging Design/Development
…and some yet to be discovered.

Our message is developed and expressed in design that truly comes from elements distinctive to the destination, rather than design trends. We create the message to transcend all media outlets. We then take it home. Stand it on the fireplace mantel overnight and study it and sleep on it. We have a saying about designing versus decorating: “If it’s not adding, it’s taking away.”

Unlike a lot of digital marketing firms, Bigwitch Marketing’s Digital Marketing Department’s strategy, planning, and execution are rooted in 30 years of branding, advertising, and marketing, with the understanding digital is the medium, not the message. Digital channels without compelling content/creative is like a NASCAR vehicle without a driver.

Digital Marketing

Bigwitch Marketing operates 4 Digital Departments:

1. Foundation — Website architecture, content development, design, programming, key phrase banking, SEO, CMS, mobile app development, analytics, monitoring, maintenance, training, data exchange

2. Outbound Direct — Digital Direct Campaigns, CMM (Customer Marketing Management), e.g., Newsletters, E-Message Strategy/Execution, Native Advertising, Influencer Relations, Content Curation/Development

3. Social Media — Audit of current online social media presence, activity, and effectiveness. Annual plan (plug-in foundation recommendations, viral activity concepts, monthly activity/response/posting/engagement strategy), content development, data exchange

4. Outbound Search — Deployment/supervision/reporting of PPC Campaigns Display/Motion Video


There was a time when someone said, “Hey, there is this new thing called television, we could put ads on it.” Since then, we have seen an evolution of media, in particular during the digital age. We keep in mind, whether digital or print, it’s the vehicle of the message, not the message. We ascertain the most cost-effective means to communicate our client’s brand then track, measure, and tweak frequency balance, as well as media integration.

We provide the following media services, considering all forms and available media:
– Evaluation competitive/spend analysis
– Cost analysis
– Planning
– Negotiation
– Purchase
– Production/trafficking
– Accounting
– Reporting


Optimize all marketing disciplines to deliver the most effective method for communicating your brand to your most likely prospect within budget, exceeding client’s expectations.

Bigwitch Marketing Planning Approach:
– Goals
– Brand Architecture/Experience/Affinity Target ID
– Brand/Marketing/Strategic Planning
– Tactical/Creative/PR Execution
– Analytics, reporting, tweaking

Co-Op Architecture

Taking co-op to the next level with a disciplined, systematic program partnering our clients with noncompetitive marketing, products, services, and attractions that serve the same customer profile to share marketing tactics and materials (ticket exchange, links, databases, etc.) They are each already producing, therefore reaching each other’s prospect and customer base for essentially no cost.

V.E.E.P. (Visitor Experience Enhancement Program)

We work with you to identify and prioritize the visitor experiences most supporting brand positioning and distinction. We then recommend enhancements to existing visitor experiences supporting brand positioning. Lastly, our team conceptualizes new visitor experiences within destination and proximity for packaging and ownership.

Passport Program

Bigwitch Marketing Cultural Map & Heritage Guide/App Program consists of a pocket-size self-folding map with participating merchants/attractions and businesses on one side and the Cultural Story on the other, and/or an App providing information and self-guided tours through the attractions and destinations of an area. The maps are available at all participating merchants in counter displays, and the App is available for all mobile platforms.

Affinity Target Marketing

We first identify the features and experiences of the destination with the most prospect potential. We then identify the Affinity Groups to which they appeal and rank them based on number of prospects within the DMA (Designated Marketing Area).

Work Experience


AIANTA (American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association)


Cherokee Nation

Cherokee, North Carolina

Harrah’s Cherokee

Unto These Hills

Museum of the Cherokee Indian

Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc.

Oconaluftee Indian Village

Cherokee Historical Association

Cherokee Historical Association Marketing

Cherokee Fisheries and Wildlife Management

Cultural Tourism for Cherokee

Our Team

Mary Jane has over a decade of experience developing marketing strategies to promote destinations and tribal tourism. For over 11 years she worked for The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians as Executive Director of Marketing and Public Relations. As Executive Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Mary Jane has a wide range of abilities in public relations, communications, branding, strategic planning, marketing, and event promotions. She knows how to lead an organization through a campaign, delegating tasks while also providing creative and strategic insight to leverage a destination’s assets.

Mary Jane is the owner of Bigwitch Tribal Tourism. She is also one of the Board of Directors for The Cherokee Preservation Foundation and The North Carolina Governor’s Western Residence. Being a key player and community member, Mary Jane is able to implement strategies for Cherokee, North Carolina, making it a premier national destination. She is also the former Southeast Tourism Society Board member and President of AIANTA (American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association), and is a voice in tribal tourism and marketing.

Lloyd Bigwitch Long Jr. has over 30 years of experience as a business manager and business owner with excellent management skills. He uses these skills to lead by example in order to obtain the highest possible result. With outstanding verbal and written communication skills, he is a motivated team leader and has portrayed these skills into civic and community projects. Lloyd actively organized and promoted the first Madison-Morgan Cultural Center Antiques show, which The Maine Antique Digest, in 2012, proclaimed to be the “Best Little Antique Show in America.” In addition, he is currently organizing and promoting the upcoming show The Timberlake Exhibit in January 2017 at the Madison Cultural Center.

Lloyd has worked at Reynolds Plantation Resort as a Golf Advisor/Starter since 2012. Lloyd has also served as a Service Manager at Reams Construction, handling day-to-day service calls for Firestone Tires, Bridgestone Tires, and Tires Plus for the entire United States. He has also accomplished many projects as a government contractor from 2010 to 2012 through the SBA-8(a) program. One project was designing and building the Romano Mazzoli Federal Building GSA 9th Floor Retrofit in Louisville, KY. In 1983, Lloyd started Woodmaster of Gwinnett Inc., a cabinetmaking and installation business from scratch and was CEO for 26 years. The company started out with three employees and grew into a million-dollar business with as many as 14 employees. As President and CEO of Woodmaster of Gwinnett Inc., Long was highly involved in marketing and promoting the business that was later renamed Bigwitch and Associates Inc. in 2006.

Find out how we can help you:

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Our Location

Cherokee, North Carolina

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