Marketing and communication play a significant role in economic development.Recent changes in communication, especially the rise of the Internet, are profoundly altering how business communication and research takes place, and are influencing how businesses engage in the process of site selection and interact with economic development organizations.
Technology advances and globalization changes have only increased the dynamic nature of marketing, so economic developers are now reevaluating how to most effectively communicate with businesses. As the paths of communication between communities and business have broadened and the business demands for rapid information communication have increased, the necessity of effective marketing communication has become more crucial.
Both economic developers and site selectors agree that an organization’s website provides the most effective marketing strategy for economic development. Face-to-face marketing strategies still must be part of the strategy. Effective marketing must be both high-tech and high-touch, combining effective use of an online presence with personalized, face-to-face service. I meet often with our local businesses to glean from them what keeps them awake at night. For those companies not locally controlled I am scheduling meetings at their corporate headquarters so as to keep their Oneida County operations in the forefront. Just as high a priority for Oneida County Economic Development Corporation is to improve the website to better serve our clients.
Headline-generating public relations, high-impact websites, social media, creative marketing campaigns and outreach to influential location advisors are all part of a toolbox to attract business investment. However, it is important to not rely solely on external corporate recruitment as the primary marketing activity. Stakeholder support and communication is equally as important as a successful program needs to start from within the community.
We must never forget that our economic vitality for the most part comes from the growth of local companies, small business start-ups, entrepreneurial activity and tourism. These components must be included in our communications strategy. Remember, marketing begins at home in the community. The best marketing campaign in the world will fail without community support and a good community product with assets and infrastructure in place.
So what is our marketing strength in Oneida County? In a recent national survey of economic development organizations, most of the marketing strengths listed by respondents not surprisingly were based on their existing assets including quality of life, location, workforce, low costs, etc. This response shows that most communities are utilizing the same assets as differentiators. In order to truly stand apart from the competition, Oneida County EDC will have to focus our efforts on finding other qualities that make us unique.
What do you think is the marketing strength of Oneida County? Write back….I’d love to know your thoughts!