The Decatur Macon County City Limitless marketing campaign, launched in May, is sharpening its focus as it enters 2016.

Since its launch, the program has been visible in a variety of advertising venues and has also recruited about 520 ambassadors who help promote the community. Nicole Bateman, community marketing manager who works with the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County, said that anyone can help promote the community by spreading a positive message of what a great place the Decatur area is to live.

The marketing campaign has gotten off to an aggressive start, but Bateman said there is room for improvement.

“We recognize there are things that need more work,” she said in a recent article by Herald & Review reporter Chris Lusvardi. “We’ll work on those things. We have a better story to tell each year because we have more to add to that story.” Bateman’s position is funded for five years through the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Five areas of focus have been identified for the coming year: jobs, entertainment, education, safety and housing for young professionals.

The goal in the jobs arena is to help those in the workforce connect with the necessary resources to work in the career area of their choosing.

Bateman said entertainment events in the community need to be marketed more aggressively and more people need to realize the options available for local entertainment.

In education, the goal is to highlight the choices residents have and to tell the great things that are happening in Decatur’s schools, Bateman said.

Safety is also a matter of marketing. The Decatur area has seen a marked decrease in crime over the past decade, contrary to some perceptions about the area. Bateman said it’s important that the community “tell the whole story. We want to show how far we’ve come.”

Housing for young professionals is important to keep members of that age and experience in the community. Bateman said part of the goal is to find out exactly what that group wants in terms of housing and how to provide that.

While marketing campaigns can be intricate and complicated, most residents can help out by doing a couple of things. First, check the facts before speaking about the community. We often hear some residents talk about “high crime,” as if misdeeds are rampant in the street. That simply isn’t the case.

The best approach for residents is to be willing to share their experiences about the community. While City Limitless has done a good job of raising awareness inside and outside the community, the real sales job has to come from residents spreading the truth about the Decatur community.

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