Site Selector Q&A: Your Burning Questions Answered

Posted by Whitney Daly on Aug 1, 2016 3:12:33 PM


Last week, we had the pleasure of joining forces with Will Cox from Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co for a
webinar that was attended by more than 130 people. "Why Site Selectors Hate Your Marketing"
gave us a firsthand look at what site selectors like and dislike when it comes to ED marketing. More importantly though, it gave us knowledge about what works and what doesn't.

Download the slides here.

will_cox_BLS.jpgMany of you who attended the webinar had questions. Good questions. And we didn't get a chance to address them all during our session, so Will kindly took the time to answer each one, and we've compiled them for your reading pleasure. 

Q: What percentage of the time do you (as a site selector) go to an EDO’s website to do research? Is there any other digital asset that serves this purpose better?

A: EDO websites are reviewed 100% of the time during the research phase of a site selection process. Third party providers like Statebook International are starting to bring these resources together.

Q: What would you say is the most efficient way to spend marketing budget for an EDO? A fam tour or digital marketing initiative, e.g. social media, Google (SEM, PPC), SEO, etc.?

A: That is a difficult question to answer. It depends on the unique needs of the community. I will say that the more directly your marketing can target your stakeholder audience of site influencers the better. 

Q: How might an EDO influence/change geographic and demographic perceptions about their community?

A: Company testimonials, case studies of success stories in the community, independent labor studies, and flexible incentive support to make up for, or overcome, market disadvantages.

Q: As you dive into a market, would a community that has a comprehensive labor competitiveness study be seen as a plus, or helpful to the selection process?

A: An independent community labor analysis is a great tool to show the strengths and unique resources of a community and can supplement other labor data used to compare location options.

Q: When looking for data, do you have a format preference (PDF, Excel, etc.)?

A: Excel is the preferred format for community data in requests for information (RFI) and requests for proposal (RFP) with the exception of documents and letters in PDF format. In general, I would defer to any directions or requests included in an RFI / RFP document.

Q: What types of publications/blogs do site selectors follow as a way to keep informed of what's happening in communities?

A: Relationships with state and local economic developers, community e-newsletters, Google alerts, and industry publications.

Q: Do you (as a site selector) believe use of LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media outlets for promoting community data is acceptable and appreciated by site selectors?

A: LinkedIn is a great tool for connecting with site selectors and sharing updates as news feed items.

Q: What are your recommendations on sponsored ads on LinkedIn/Twitter? 

A: Both LinkedIn and Twitter are very active arenas within the site selection community and industry organizations. Targeted messages that show how your community sets itself apart from others can be highly valuable.

Q: If a community has a strong talent attraction program, does that help increase their score on the talent/workforce evaluation, as well as the overall evaluation?

A: Evaluation methodologies vary based on the unique requirements of a project and company. That said, labor forecasting is becoming a more important workforce variable in the site evaluation process and can be important for a company.

Q: Is it preferred that the municipal EDO list all of the incentives and their program details from the county and/or state, or is a link to county/state incentives acceptable?  

A: We see local EDOs go both ways on this. From the site selector’s perspective, as long as the incentive program information clearly defines local, county, and state level programs, both approaches are acceptable. The more critical area where EDOs sometimes fall short is providing comprehensive incentive information including program descriptions, application requirements and process, and value calculation methodology where possible.

Get the webinar slides.

Topics: Economic Development, Economic Development Marketing, site selectors

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