As organizations and companies continue to strive for operational excellence, allocating resources (time and money) to implementing strategies or targeting audiences without a well-developed, thoughtful, data-driven strategic plan not only limits potential results but it’s also bad business practice. The economic development strategic planning process that Boyette deploys for every client provides a platform for stakeholders to share their thoughts and opinions, research that uncovers many economic performance indicators and best practices and recommendations that augment the trajectory of the organization by enhancing programs that are beneficial, while redirecting focus to emerging opportunities or new target audiences and industry sectors.
A key component of any strategic plan includes developing or incorporating a robust communications and marketing plan with direct measures for success. In a culture now inundated with a wide spectrum of communication channels and choices, it is increasingly important for economic development organizations to communicate and engage directly with target audiences. Varying slightly by organization or location, a sample of economic development audience segments can be seen below.
• Local community (city and county)
• Regional groups
• Elected officials
• Education and workforce partners
• Business community
• Healthcare community
• Utility allies
• Local/regional/national media outlets
• Business and industry journals and magazines
To ensure effective communications with the many audiences of economic development organizations, below is a list of a few quick, high-level questions that can be answered internally to assist in the evaluation of an organization’s communications and marketing plan.
1. Do you have a brand strategy that includes the following?
a. Updated, authentic logo or graphic mark
b. Target audience personas that include demographics, socioeconomic characteristics, and geographical markets
c. An organizational value statement
d. Determination of appropriate communication channels to be used to distribute information, messages and digital content
2. Do you have a digital marketing strategy that includes the following?
a. A mobile responsive website
b. Interactive website features such as a blog, social media channels or live streaming capabilities
c. An interactive mapping component that visually identifies assets such as sites and buildings, entrepreneurial ecosystems and recent developments
d. Enabled website analytics to track user experience and gain greater sector insight
3. Do you have a social media strategy that includes the following?
a. Communicating on social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube
b. Utilizing custom and common hashtags
c. Establishing a communications schedule
4. Do you have an advertising and public relations campaign for earned and placed media that includes the following?
a. Sourcing testimonials and stories about business success
b. Sharing those stories and successes with all target audiences
c. Seeking earned media opportunities
5. Have you determined the time and resources needed to implement the activities and strategies above?
Below are direct links to some of Boyette’s services as well as our client portfolio.