In January, USDM Digital® published its Top Five Economic Development Trends for 2017, covering a wide range of topics USDM had been tracking through the end of 2016. Now, four months into the year, the main trend and concern today continues to be the number one trend we forecast — talent attraction.
Economic development organizations across the county continue to express concern about having a labor pool that satisfies a project’s desired growth plans. The interesting takeaway from recent conversations is that almost every economic development organization believes they have to address this issue alone. We believe a better solution is a coordinated and cost-efficient Co-Op Digital Marketing approach.
A collaborative, cooperative effort of like-minded organizations within a local economic development community that share similar goals and targets audiences can combine their brand messages and marketing budgets for common benefit. You can leverage the brand and resources of your area’s workforce ecosystem to extend the reach of your marketing efforts and meet your audience – whether laborers, engineers, coders, or millennials – where they now spend much of their time, online.
Your Co-Op Digital Marketing program can leverage the resources of the following partners:
- Local school district
- Higher education
- Staffing agencies
- Non-profits that touch workforce development
Each of these organizations, and others that have been overlooked, are marketing their services to talent looking for economic opportunities and many of those audiences are the same groups of people that the economic development industry is trying to reach.
While many EDOs are still relying on traditional strategies they’ve used for years for talent attraction, a gap has emerged between EDOs and their audiences, whose time, research and experiences are now predominantly online. Limiting to traditional mediums your message about all the great quality of life amenities your area has to offer seriously diminishes your reach to today’s digitally fluent workforce. Attracting talent, of any skillset, to your area becomes easier and more effective with the implementation of digital strategy and channels.
Unlike traditional media where your EDO’s reach is often based on a subscription list or publications, digital marketing is a huge leap forward.
In the online world, digital tactics catalog online audiences’ specific interests and responses – anonymously – providing a warehouse of actionable data points for marketers. Data analytics then crystalizes actionable insights about your audience, their interests, and where the can be reached online, greatly improving your targeting to the specific geography, industry, or even skill sets essential for all of your organization’s workforce priorities.
Traditional media and marketing push your message out to an estimated audience, hopes for the best, and has little or no ability to track response. Digital Marketing allows you to segment your audiences based on desired profiles and data-driven and selected targets, then adjusts your outreach in real-time to the best performing channels, and finally, reports back the responses.
While many EDOs still have a marketing approach of singularity and traditional methods to promote their own brand, the ones that venture into cooperative alliances and digital marketing will reap the greater rewards.
With a Co-Op Digital Marketing program, your economic development organization can harness the power of digital marketing and the resources of these partner organizations to create a coherent brand that each organization can use to be consistent and provide a collective benefit to all partners.
It is time for EDOs to more fully embrace the irreversible shift to a digital marketplace and seize the enormous opportunities and efficiencies found in digital communications, channels, and platforms that measure and optimize data for vastly improved targeting, marketing, and reporting of success.
In today’s world filled with change and disruptions, we must adapt to new innovations, market conditions, and customer expectations. To find out more about implementing co-op digital marketing program or other innovative strategies, contact USDM for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Kyle Schulz has 10 years of economic development experience, working at the local, regional and state levels leading successful Business Retention & Expansion programs,developing award-winning small business/entrepreneurship programs, and leading business recruitment for large multi-county partnerships. Kyle combines his years of industry experience with USDM’s leading-edge digital strategy, technology, and marketing to bring highly effective Digital Economic Development strategy and marketing programs to EDOs nationwide. Jeff Woolford has 40 years of marketing experience and is Director of Research and Marketing Communications for USDM.