Voice of the Practitioner
Site selection officials report that they conduct much or most initial screening of prospect sites online without ever contacting regional officials. That makes cultivating a creative web, digital marketing, and media presence critically important. To the extent that your website contains relevant information on available properties, the regional labor market, and other considerations important to potential investors, the website and creative media presence can help put your region on the short list.
- Create a relevant web site and social media strategy focused on sharing information with targeted industry clusters about the about the region’s economic development advantages
- Develop relationships with key partners that can help tell your community’s story, such as international cultural groups or industry/cluster groups
- Provide tools and training for partners to effectively communicate the brand messages
- Develop a visible presence at targeted international events, including conferences and trade shows
San Diego tells a compelling story using a proactive web and social media campaign. Highlighted in the Brookings Global Cities Initiative, San Diego has a comprehensive communication strategy about its innovation, workforce, and bi-national economic environment by:
- Providing links on its landing page to websites of local governments, industry associations and cultural business groups as well as export and investment resources;
- Leveraging the local media to showcase success stories;
- Utilizing social media to highlight the strengths of San Diego with the #GoSanDiego campaign;
- Presenting export and investment information and resources at regional industry and business association meetings; and
- Integrating success stories of area global companies in local business association newsletters
Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance illustrates how a region can develop a detailed website in multiple languages. The website materials and related marketing fliers are available in six languages and they produce country specific marketing fliers.
A small community, Palliser has an interactive map on its website that includes profiles on the community and industries as well as an investment fact sheet for prospects.
Golden Triangle, Northeast Mississippi
The Golden Triangle’s regional FDI attraction website includes information on regional assets, site/location and buildings, and workforce intelligence.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor Spark has a business development website that provides information on connections in the region, access to funding available, real estate spaces, and industry analytics for the region.
Tennessee Department of Economic Development
Tennessee has developed an international web presence that identifies its top exported products and the top countries for FDI activity in the state. The site also provides information about the state’s advantages and assets as well as information about the state’s top industries. The data are provided in an easy-to-access position on the state’s website on a menu bar on the landing page.
“Effective Lead Generation: The 7 stages of the Investment Attraction Cycle,” Xavier Hurtado, 7 Steps to Attracting FDI to Your Region, fdiattraction.com. This guide provides information related to identifying and converting prospects into investors. One illustration is the image below that provides a 7-stage cycle process for attracting investment into your region.
San Diego’s Global Trade and Investment Initiative (pp. 28-29) provides a discussion of the region’s communications and marketing strategy for telling the region’s story, including engaging local employers, elected officials, and global investors.
GIS Planning offers data tools to incorporate into an EDO website to “feed” data on your region (and sub-regions) to potential investors and site selectors. Data available includes demographics, regional businesses and industries, talent pool and more. Tools allow for mapping, visualization, and comparison among communities.