It's that time of year again. The season when most people are unpacking their fall and winter clothes. Decorating their homes with harvest accoutrements. And for some, obsessing over all things pumpkin spice. But for us, it's a little different. What we most look forward to at the end of September is our white paper - an annual long-form document that we produce for the economic development profession. The research and industry insight included in the paper come from a variety of sources, and it's information that all in economic development can use to better position their communities for success; and this year, that success spawns from work in the digital ecosystem.
Digital really is the challenge and focus of present day - for all in the econ dev space. It's digital presence, digital awareness, digital initiatives, and digital marketing. But what is digital? How does it work? How does the economic development industry leverage its power? How will it change the profession? How do economic developers adopt the approach?
So who in the industry is doing digital well? Five organizations we believe are setting the standard in the profession and really leveraging digital for the betterment of their communities. In the white paper, we feature these five EDOs:
- City of Goodyear
- Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance
- Nashville Chamber of Commerce
- Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
- Orlando Economic Development Commission
Digital is happening in economic development not just because agencies are advocating for it, but because your peers are shouting from the rooftops that it really does work. The organizations listed above, and others, are the ones taking risks, and putting their faith in digital strategies that generate awareness and do so at an accelerated pace.
More economic developers are learning what it takes to compete and stay ahead of their competitors. They see the value of sending an email over a printed mailer. They understand that a digital ad will find more engagement than that of something similar in a printed publication. They know that getting the word out there via marketing automation is light years ahead of manually distributing news to partners and targeted industries. They realize that social media has tremendous power in the sharing of information as compared to in-person networking events or collateral.
The silver lining for you? Digital isn't hard, and it's not outrageously expensive. It does require planning, time and resources, and continued maintenance. And it definitely demands a good strategy.
Our recommendation? Start by getting to know the digital landscape in economic development.