From the Thought Leadership Team at USDM Digital®
WHAT’S TRENDING… AND OUR TAKE ON IT
TREND: Increasing Brand Awareness
Economic development marketing is about establishing your brand and attributes such as pro-business community, skilled workforce, connected infrastructure, great quality of life, and others. Every EDO wants to brand their community as the place for corporate relocation, but if your EDO is relying on traditional marketing strategies for branding, your EDO is missing opportunities. With traditional marketing, brand awareness has a limited geographic reach. Digital marketing, especially data-driven digital marketing, can deliver highly targeted, worldwide brand exposure and relevant reach. Digital branding is critical to building a qualified prospect pipeline.
An important “Next Practice” is EDO Digital Branding, which includes much more than a website and banner ads. Digital branding is a two-step process of 1) using Smart Data to test and refine the brand message; and 2) using digital test campaigns to identify high value target prospects in targeted sectors. We believe more EDOs will begin to use Smart Data to refine brand messaging and build brand awareness with target prospects as they discover the power of data and digital.
Trend: Supercharge Lead Generation
Before your last project was a win, it was first a lead. That lead could have come from the local real estate community or from your partnership with your state/regional economic development office. This traditional process of lead generation expects your EDO to be reactive in the lead generation process — a hurry up and wait approach to economic development marketing. When your success is based on converting leads into announcements, can you leave your lead generation strategy to others?
EDOs are starting to take a very pro-active approach using digital lead generation. While there are many great EDO websites, a website alone is not a pro-active digital strategy. Using a mix of digital tactics is the key to pro-active lead gen. Part of the lead generation program is “knowing who is interested before they contact you.” Using digital footprints to monitor the interest of prospects to your website, your social pages and your digital campaigns removes the surprise element when an EDO is contacted by that important lead.
Trend: Pre-Trip Digital Marketing
Economic development marketing trips are a pro-active means for EDOs to take ownership of their lead generation process. But are the traditional approaches of hiring an expensive meeting scheduler or using in-house resources to data-mine market contacts costly while not generating qualified interest? With the type of resources that your EDO is investing in your marketing trips, is there a better way to amplify pre-trip marketing?
The digital strategy for pre-trip marketing is to use Smart Data to identify and attract interest in specific sectors prior to a trip. Pre-trip marketing can hone in geographically and by sector to assure that the meetings are pre-qualified. And pre-trip digital marketing will uncover additional interested prospects that might not have been discovered otherwise. Highly competitive EDOs will use digital to refine marketing trips to report better outcomes.
For more information on these topics and much more related to digital marketing for economic development, please see us at our Learning Lab (Monday, September 26th at 7:30 am) at IEDC’s Annual Conference in Cleveland. We will be sharing insight into “Bridging the Digital Gaps” for Economic Development and how to make your EDO ready to identify your next lead and turn it into your community’s next announcement!
Clifford Ward | Managing Director of Client/Partner Development