Economic Development Trends and Take-Aways Aug. 2016

From the Thought Leadership Team at USDM Digital®


TREND: Recruitment Marketing Trips.
One of the best and most traditional methods for recruiting business is for EDCs to organize recruitment marketing trips. Most EDCs make their best marketing assumptions regarding competitive advantages and try to market their community to companies that fall into targeted industry ranges. But, is this strategy really effective?

With today’s capabilities in managing digital data, executing a recruitment marketing trip based on presumed competitive advantages and targeted industries is an underdeveloped approach to economic development recruitment. A Next Practice approach to these valuable trips is to develop and launch a digital recruitment marketing campaign prior to the trip, to maximize strategic advantages in company targeting. Through these digital campaigns, EDCs can better identify interested corporations in advance of their trip and pre-target new markets that have potential to be future market destinations for recruitment. A digital recruitment marketing campaign can provide actionable insights and informed justification for recruitment marketing trips to all markets both foreign and domestic.

TREND: Communications with Site Selectors.
IEDC’s “Working with Site Selectors” research paper recognizes the internet has sped up the site selection process. With easier data access and more companies offering site selection services across the globe, communicating your critical information is essential. As projects have gone from spanning 18 months to being “reduced to just weeks of EDC involvement,” is it still effective to deliver what might be viewed as stagnant data to your prospects?

Many digital platforms currently promote the standard data sets that communicate your community’s strengths to site selectors evaluating you. Going beyond that and developing a digital strategy with connected data enables your EDC to track the types of digital material site selectors are viewing and downloading. Connected data can track your website, social or public relations content downloads, which of your branded online articles get response, which website pages or social pages are viewed, and much more. Connected data gives your EDC the market intelligence to be informed about and interact with site selectors throughout their fast-paced process.

TREND: Moving From Broadcast Marketing to Digital Engagement
The EDC industry is starting to move from a “broadcast” marketing approach to a Digital Engagement approach. While traditional print advertising has long been favored to raise brand awareness and attract interest, such one-way communication without interaction is outmoded in today’s 24-7 connected, on demand, digital world. Today’s consumers want their information instantly, when, where and how they want it, along with the ability to speak back to you with an inquiry or request. Today’s EDCs are embracing digital marketing strategies and tactics to leverage superior insights from data and track marketing results and return on investment

Demonstrating to your board, investors and community that your marketing efforts are producing site visits and fam tours is critically important. Using traditional, offline, economic development marketing practices often results in a “best guess” of how a prospect entered your pipeline or what attracted them or what closed them. But, implementing an up-to-date, digital marketing and engagement strategy, smart data analytics, programmatic advertising, and real-time dashboard reporting, can deliver vastly improved insights for decision making and more accurate ROI on marketing efforts. Using smart data gained from your digital assets and programmatic advertising tactics, you can build digital profiles to target and remarket to best prospects; you can optimize you CRM, sales pipeline, and social engagement; and you can capture and graphically present sales and marketing ROI data in C-level reports for your leadership board and investor partners.

A smart digital marketing program empowers you to engage prospects across multiple channels and platforms they are using; to leverage vast and valuable data, and to track and report your success.


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