We think it's safe to say that many in the industry are gearing up for IEDC's annual conference, which is approaching almost too quickly. And whether you're attending or not, it's likely the conference is playing some role in your recent day-to-day activities: registering for sessions, having conversations with other economic developers planning to attend, ensuring your organization will be well represented in Cleveland, reaching out to set up one-on-one meetings, or creating materials to use as follow up for when the commotion settles, likely the beginning of Q4.
We've come to really value and look forward to these conferences, and this year is no exception. From the economic developers we engage with, to all of the great sessions we attend, to the dinners and special events we're lucky enough to be a part of, the four days spent in Cleveland we know will be valuable. And not only valuable for us. But for every group participating, and for the economic development industry as a whole. It's really an event that pushes the industry to the next level, and prepares folks for what's next in the profession.
One area of focus we think will continue to push economic developers is digital, and a lot of our conversations will likely be centered around digital economic development, and what that looks like for EDOs all over the country. We believe it's where the profession is going, and we want to help educate our colleagues. Given that only 33% of economic developers believe they're effectively leveraging digital to impact their overall economy, we'd say there's some work to be done.
Our annual High Performance Economic Development white paper that we introduce every year at the conference will have a strong emphasis on the value digital brings to the ED profession and how adopting a digital approach can stand to benefit most, if not all, EDOs. To give you a broader perspective on digital, last year Google's mobile usage passed desktop usage, and more than half a billion people accessed Facebook solely through their mobile app (Contently Marketing). What the data is telling us isn't just that digital is increasingly the way of the world, but mobile and the use of apps is what will drive consumers now and into the future. Economic developers have a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on these trends. And while we don't think live streaming or a mobile app is the right answer for every EDO out there, we do advocate that digital can - and should be - a viable solution for all in the industry. We want to see the other 66% of folks in ED embrace digital and understand it's the most efficient and effective way to reach prospects.
And lastly, we can't forget about the fun stuff. Atlas is hosting a happy hour - Honoring Economic Development Rock Stars - during the conference (and we promise it's not a symposium on digital). We're more than happy to continue the digital conversation, though, if you so desire! On Monday, September 26, we're gathering folks for a fun, laid back event as a respite from the conference room setting. Join us for food and drinks at Hodge's, and come rub elbows with friends, colleagues, and industry greats (we'll be honoring top performers in the industry). It should be a great opportunity to see familiar faces, and meet new ones too.
Cheers to another great conference. We look forward to seeing many of you next month!