When people think of sales and marketing, we often think of business marketing and tend to forget there are other organizations that require marketing for growth and sustainability. Economic development marketing is one area often overlooked. Even though economic development corporations are usually created for the purpose of business growth, economic development marketing tends to be an afterthought. Below we share some how economic development marketing can help small town economic development corporations.
What is Economic Development
Before we get into economic development marketing ideas, we should first understand what an economic development corporation does to help serve the local communities. For the purpose of this article, we will primarily focus on small towns in Texas.
Economic development corporations (commonly called EDC’s) are created to help with economic development and growth within a specific town, county or community. In Texas, the two most common EDC types are considered a 4A and 4B. The 4A primarily promotes new and expanded industrial and manufacturing activities while the 4B promotes a wide range of civic and commercial projects. Each of these are funded through sales taxes from the local community. These funds are then used for fund new economic development projects in the local community including new businesses moving into the community, construction and other development projects.
Economic Development Marketing Ideas
Marketing for EDC’s isn’t a great deal different from business marketing. Identifying the ideal client is important and sometimes the biggest challenge. If the ultimate goal is to bring new businesses into small towns in Texas, the economic development corporation might identify the types of businesses already in the local community and those missing. For instance, if there are several oil and gas businesses in the city, the focus could be to identify those businesses that might serve these oil and gas businesses or even partner with them. Restaurants and hotels might also be considerations for these types of communities.
Conducting a demographic study on the local community and the surrounding areas could be important for economic development marketing. This may also help an EDC learn what types of businesses they should be targeting. Learning what other local communities are doing well (or not so well) could help with the marketing strategy and planning.
Once the targeted types of businesses are identified, the EDC should then determine where to find these businesses and what might make them move to their community. Finding these types of businesses may mean reaching into larger metropolitan areas where the cost of doing business is much greater. It may also mean looking at their transportation patterns including traveling between larger metropolitan areas to oilfields or other cities.
Once these targets and their needs are identified, the marketing methods are developed. For outbound marketing, the EDC needs a dedicated resource. This resource is often responsible for calling, emailing, sending snail mail, networking and more to reach the ideal audience. This EDC Director or other resource might also help with inbound Internet marketing by blogging, social sharing and other content marketing tasks that help the local community get found when those business leaders begin looking.
Finally, for effective economic development marketing, make sure to create the ideal experience for the business leaders when they engage. These experiences often begin online with the EDC website and social properties and then carry all the way through their visit to the local community. Share success stories with them and make sure to connect them with key people in the community – especially some of these people from the success stories. Make communication important and consistent in order to present the best image.
For more help with economic development marketing for your local community, call Social180 at 469-420-0180.