How Integrated Digital Innovates EDO Lead Generation

Part #1 of 4: How the Branding Landscape Has Shifted

This is the first of a four-part series of articles from USDM Digital® detailing how integrated digital branding and marketing has innovated EDO Lead Generation. 

Lead Generation is vital to successful Economic Development Organizations and you cannot generate leads without telling your brand story. Digital integration has shifted the branding landscape. Today, success begins with telling your brand story online and ensuring that the first touch a prospect has with your organization is a strong, compelling brand impression. If your online brand is not compelling, you may lose the chance to engage a prospect to the next stage.

What is Digital Branding?EDO Lead Gen Graphic

Digital branding is not a technology. It is a brand management technique that uses a combination of internet and mobile branding images and messaging combined with digital marketing (Google Search, Social Media, Customer Relationship Marketing, eMail marketing, online Public Relations and Digital Advertising) to develop a brand across a range of online venues. These digital venues include internet-based relationships, trade or industry PR journals/news or media content. (Traditional branding uses television broadcast, radio, print and billboards.) The ideal branding today is an integrated approach combining online and offline branding and marketing.

Seismic Shifts in One Generation

In 1996, Google was founded.

In 1992, the first Smartphone was introduced and the first iPhone in 2007. These digital innovations have become more influential in human behavior and world commerce than any other inventions in our history. These are the Branding and Marketing professionals’ secret weapons.

In less than one generation, virtually every American is now empowered with 24/7 portable access to worldwide information and communications.  The impact has dramatically changed how we think, feel, and interact with brands and others; especially how we trust brands.

How Digital Killed the Brand Monopoly

Before 1995, the conventional media (TV, print, radio) communicated a brand’s message in a linear, one-way relationship.  Consumers, prospects or customers had no voice or feedback.  Digital shifted that power to the consumers, enabling them to “speak back” and voice their opinions in a new two-way relationship with brands… in social media, reviews, comments online and in very public forums.

Digital has empowered consumers, prospects and customers to voice their opinions to the world, as advocates, ambassadors, or critics of brands.  The power of “Word of Mouth” recommendations has exploded in the digital world.  Brands no longer control the communication, saying only what they want.  Smart brands listen to what their prospects and customers want and they respond online.  For pennies on the dollar, EDOs can use the contemporary version of Television (digital connected TV or IPTV) to create online branding in the same television and news programs that their target audiences watch offline by broadcast or cable

How Integrated Digital Innovates EDO Lead Generation Save the date

How Digital Changed Brand Perception

In addition to giving customers a voice, Digital gives each customer instant access to enormous information about many competitive destination brands, not just yours.  Social networks and mobile devices further expand the environment, the information and the motivation that influences decision behavior.

Reviews, recommendations, videos, and blogs using terms like social consciousness, digital-ready, entrepreneurial, and business-friendly all instantly impact your destination’s brand perception.  How well companies or EDOs respond to public comment can further raise or sink their brand image, credibility and value to prospects. Lets face it, you have one opportunity to make a strong brand impression and that most often takes place FIRST online.

How The NEW Website Has Changed Digital Branding

“One size fits all” websites don’t measure up to new standards for content consumption, branding and engagement.  How your prospects search to find your web site has evolved, too.  Vast changes in Google search rankings now rely on user intent and voice search instead of just key words; 60% of Google searches are mobile.

Having a website is no longer a value if the website is not producing qualified leads. The fact is if you just redesigned your website, chances are it looks great but won’t function at the level you need. The good news is you can change that and not really touch what you have just built.

To be successful, your job is to give customers what THEY want and not merely what you are offering.  The process for conveying your brand message and value – to each of your audiences – has become more complicated, but ripe with valuable new opportunities.

How to Make Sure You Have The Right Digital Brand Strategy for Lead Generation

Are you doing things “like you have always done them” or are you challenging your leadership teams to think proactively and challenge the “old way”? A good question to ask is “Are you leading or lagging behind competitors?” Do you believe that “having a website is all you need”?

How Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) brand online and attract qualified leads has changed significantly because digital marketing innovations have dramatically changed how people find and engage with destination brands.


Qualified Digital Lead Generation that produces meaningful outcomes and economic growth is available to those leaders willing to change and leverage new digital branding and marketing strategies to engage their prospects and constituents when, where, and how THEY want to be courted.

Some EDO industry leaders are handing over the prospect marketing to lead gen vendors. That is unfortunate, because today, EDOs can take control of the Lead Gen campaign process and track performance in real-time.  Transparency is everything.  And Data is the new Gold.”   –  Leah Woolford, USDM Digital®

The good news is you don’t have to know all the digital strategies and tactics.  As in wealth management, insurance, healthcare and other critical areas, you just need an experienced and trusted advisor to help you with a plan and to work collaboratively with your teams to execute the plan to meet goals.

To find out more about how Digital Lead Generation can improve your mission and stave off disruptive competition, contact USDM Digital® at for a complimentary initial consultation. We’re subject matter experts in digital strategy, and easy to talk to.

Next in our series onHow Integrated Digital Innovates EDO Lead Generation”

Look for these articles soon:

Part #2 – How Audience Behavior Has Evolved

Part #3 – How Mobile Dominates Information Exchange

Part #4 – How Social Networks Changed Content Consumption

All 4 articles will be available on our web site, after publication.

For those attending the IEDC Annual Conference in Toronto in September,

be sure get a Sneak Peek at the first ever competitive report on industry digital lead generation: ”Digital Lead Generation Rock Stars in Economic Development” at the USDM Digital® presentation Sept 19th.

IEDC Program Session by USDM Digital® – Tuesday, Sept 19th at 2:15pm

Beat Your Competition with Superior Lead Generation!

Learn How to Build a Game-Changing Digital Strategy.

Effective lead generation equals more opportunities for your community. In this valuable workshop, you will learn how to strategically align technology and your team to create a data-driven lead generation machine. Social media, your website, online advertising, mobile, and search engines are all good tools- if you optimize them. Learn how to integrate them seamlessly to supercharge your economic development efforts.

Program Includes:
• A Sneak Peek at the First Ever Competitive Report on Industry Lead Generation
• New Integrated Digital Marketing at the Leadership Level (Strategic Level)
• Actionable Insights from Industry Leaders

• Leah Woolford, Founder/ CEO of USDM Holdings Inc, USDM Digital®, Orange142, and 2020 Strategy Group
Tracye McDaniel, Founder/ CEO, McDaniel Strategy Ecosystems, LLC


Public and private sector brands trust USDM Digital® to provide current and future insights, develop digital strategy for business, execute digital marketing and advertising, improve customer engagement, and deliver performance that measurably IMPACTS their business.  Visit us at 

Why Engage USDM Digital®?

USDM Digtal® has applied digital strategies to business practices for more than 20 years. The company can identify, reach, engage and motivate target customers in a highly competitive marketplace to drive conversions. Performance measurement and value creation are a focus of every USDM Digtal® program.

USDM Digital® is a registered trademark of USDM Digital® LLC. 

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