Economic development practitioners undertake awareness and education activities through outreach and marketing. Communities typically opt for one or more of three practices:
- Map the ecosystem of partners who can provide resources to leads and prospects
- Assess the need for additional capacity (e.g., international consulting expertise or foreign representatives or offices), given available resources
- Review the mix of incentives available to determine how well they respond the needs of firms in target industries
- Establish relationship with key partners to support the plan implementation and to inform strategy elements
- Determine messages and talking points that are most relevant to preferred targets and that reinforce the preferred brand
- Develop relationships with key partners that can help tell your community’s story, such as international cultural groups or industry/cluster groups
- Provide cluster-targeted or country-targeted data about the local economy, the labor force, and investment opportunities
- Provide tools and training for partners to effectively communicate the brand messages
- 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 potential third-party sources of leads, such as site location consultants, federal or state agencies, or international cultural groups
- Conduct foreign missions to reach out to targeted companies in key markets
- Select and participate in trade shows and other international events most relevant to your target country and industry markets
- Leverage foreign offices or representatives to identify and/or set up meetings with leads in target countries
- Conduct sector-specific summits and reverse trade missions locally for targeted industries and/or focused on attracting firms from target countries
- Engage staff (and/or consulting support) to identify FDI prospects
- Develop a target list of potential marketing ‘leads’ in key clusters, industries, and/or markets
- Develop a protocol for managing the process for reaching out to and managing marketing leads
- Conduct competitive intelligence about leads most likely to be converted to ‘prospects’
- Identify best approaches for interacting with leads and determining whether they are actual prospects
- Develop a common approach for determining when a lead converts to prospect and determining who will be the prospect’s main point of contact
As noted on the Outreach and Marketing landing page, ‘leads,’ ‘prospects,’ and ‘clients’ are different types of customers.
Leads are companies that may be interested in your region, but have not expressed a preference for expanding or relocating or that have not yet indicated whether the area would qualify as a potential investment location.
Prospects are companies that have expressed a desire to make an expansion or relocation investment, but have not yet indicated that they are interested in the local area as a potential preferred location for that investment.
Clients are companies are already located in the community or that have entered into an agreement with the community to locate there in exchange for an incentive or some other benefit.
These awareness strategies comprise several activities each. The most common metrics to assess the success of these activities relate to the number of companies engaged. The figure below illustrates how different outputs are tied to the generation of leads and their conversion to prospects.
FDI Outreach and Marketing Practice and Most Common Metrics
Desired Business Outcomes for FDI
Our efforts aim to help the region achieve measurable change in several key indicators.
- Total new-to-region FDI (value and number of deals)
- Total investment by international investors (value and number of deals)
- Value of mergers & acquisitions involving international firms (number and value of deals)
- Benchmark value of increased FDI to the size of the regional economy (e.g., GDP)
Outreach and marketing efforts contribute indirectly to these measures, and it is important to have indicators that track progress toward these goals.
Metrics benchmark performance and drive improvements in the activities that a community undertakes. Following are the most common output metrics used to measure results for key categories of activities. Practitioners may use these as a starting point to guide the selection of metrics that matter for their efforts.
Develop FDI marketing and outreach plan
- Documented plan
- Consensus on international brand focus
Identify opportunities to interact with ‘leads’, ‘prospects,’ and ‘clients’
- Number of qualified leads generated by target industry
Design a ground game for working leads that could ultimately become prospective investors
- Number of prospects (companies expressing an interest in learning more)
- Number and rate of conversions of leads to prospects