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!
“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” Babe Ruth
This past week many witnessed a few last second comebacks by the college football teams playing in one of the many bowl games. There were thrilling wins and great examples of perseverance and determination.
Oneida County Economic Development Corporation’s (OCEDC) strategy is to grow the most dynamic economy in the Northwoods by striving for excellence. That path to excellence starts with participating in the success of the five county (Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida & Vilas) “Grow North” regional economic development organization that in the aggregate is hard to beat. Our accountability at OCEDC is to then let decision makers know the Oneida County business climate, cost competitiveness, market access, and talent is hard to beat.
To take this sport analogy a bit further I would suggest that the following principles be applied to our
Oneida County economic development strategy:
•Home field advantage: a determined and relentless focus on assisting existing businesses that
need help in expanding, finding and training new talent, and navigating the challenges of the global
•Execution: by preparing the physical infrastructure, quality workforce, and economic development
system that is well prepared to serve the needs of businesses acting proactively as much as
possible and reacting efficiently when required.
•Don’t beat ourselves up: by investing in economic development in our communities, our county, our
Northwoods region, and the State of Wisconsin. We must aggressively participate in the
marketing of the five county region and State as a business location consistently and not create unnecessary
obstacles to our own success here in Oneida County by acting parochially or without a vision for the
•Deliver big in the biggest games: when big moments arrive, be it an individual opportunity or a
regional economic issue – we must continue to rise to the challenge for the benefit of our
businesses, and most importantly, those unemployed or displaced by the economy. This requires
creative thinking by including all aspects of our Oneida County community in the effort to win.
Then and only then will we be hard to beat.
Two recent related reports provide evidence that manufacturing in the U.S. is silently growing. As stated in a blog from a contributor to the Harvard Business Review the “Institute for Supply Management” (ISM) recently reported that U.S. manufacturing had expanded consecutive for 24 months. Likewise, the Federal Reserve reported a 0.6% increase in manufacturing in July 2011, with a year-on-year gain of 3.8%.”
A more detailed account of this growth is offered by the Boston Consulting Group, which offers additional evidence that as costs rise abroad and shipping becomes more expensive that manufacturers are seeking to reduce risk to their supply chain by serving markets (both in China and in the U.S.), through “on-shore” manufacturing. The recent announcement from the Oldenburg Group is a real example of a Chinese firm “on-shoring”.
Until the recent announcement by Oldenburg Group, why has this movement not gained more attention? First, while this is a good trend for the United States, it will not make a significant dent in our national short-term job numbers. Manufacturing companies are incredibly efficient and productive, and are able to manufacture more and more with less and less people. We see evidence of this with the manufacturing companies we work with each day within Oneida County and those considering new operations.
Second, even if the jobs created in the manufacturing sector continue to grow, it will take years for us to point to the evidence of this in our local communities. By its nature, manufacturing investments take time and effort to establish and build its operations, install equipment, etc. It doesn’t just happen in 30 -90 days. Finally, manufacturing is typically done in communities far from the mainstream media’s eye. Do you think the great news for the Oldenburg Group made a big wave with national media? It certainly should have. It’s extremely important to the Oldenburg Group, its employees and to the communities that they provide jobs in.
Despite its lack of general attention, this sector of the economy is of critical importance to the Oneida County economy both for the innovative capacity it instills in our communities and workforce, and for the capital investment it makes to our communities. In Oneida County we have work to do to prepare our communities for such investment, preparing 21st century industrial parks and developing skilled workers able to perform in an advanced, modern manufacturing environment. We also need to give the industry and those that work within it the respect they deserve and remove obstacles to their growth.