Sunday, July 28, 2013

Regional economic development group resets itself


The economic development organization promoting an eight-county region that includes Rock County has a new name and a new strategy that officials think could do something the previous didn’t: Attract significant businesses to south-central Wisconsin.

Madison Region Economic Partnership is the new name for Thrive, which launched in late 2007 to promote the region as one “of intellectual curiosity and innovative, creative energy.”

The region still includes Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock and Sauk counties.

The reason for the name change was straightforward, said Paul Jadin, who was named president of the organization last fall after stints as secretary of the state Department of Commerce and its replacement, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

While the title “Thrive” captured the potential of doing business in this region, it lacked a focus, he said.
“Thrive was a great verb, but it didn’t do much to identify what we are or where we are,” Jadin said. “Thrive could have just as easily applied to Paducah, Ky., or Saskatchewan.” More here.

NGage discusses marketing strategy

Bill Demuth, executive director of the NGage economic development group for Gage County, has made marketing the young organization a top priority since being hired last August.

During Thursday’s NGage board meeting, Demuth shared his strategy for drawing new businesses to the area and establishing connections with notable businesses for future interactions.

Demuth said during the monthly meeting that prospective businesses are divided into four categories, manufacturing, processing, technical scientific administrative and small business and startups.

He said the first priority is to get a company’s attention, which can be done with a simple gesture.

“What we’ve come up with could be something as simple as a postcard and picture of something that catches their eye about Gage County,” he said. “Then you send a flier or brochure, then make a follow up phone call and start to call that list to determine which ones have good potential and which ones don’t.

“When you start a marketing effort for any economic development, it’s a little different from probably your traditional product. You can have a lot more control over your product. More here.

Tennessee firm hired to brand Highland Park

The city of Highland Park has hired a Tennessee-based branding firm to identify a position for Highland Park and a strategy for marketing the city to businesses and shoppers with intent to buy.

Calls for the city of Highland Park to come up with a strategic marketing plan date back at least 20 years, but have picked up a sense of urgency as surrounding communities aggressively vie for businesses and consumers, according to the Office of Economic Development.

The city hired North Star Strategies LLC to complete a comprehensive marketing plan for the city at a cost of $75,000. The firm was selected from 19 responses, including five firms called in for interviews. North Star Strategies, one of two finalists from outside the Chicago area, has agreed to absorb travel expenses.

Carolyn Hersch, the city’s economic development coordinator, said North Star Strategies was selected unanimously as “they have the strongest municipal experience, the most impressive creative product and excellent results for similar work.”

The first $40,000 is budgeted for identifying a distinct and appropriate position for Highland Park, and the remainder for the creative development of a brand logo, tagline and marketing materials.

The city’s Business and Economic Development Commission last August recommended creating a cohesive marketing plan and a consistent message after examining other communities’ efforts and meeting with local businesses.

Fauquier County releases business promo video

Fauquier County government this week released its economic development promotional video.

The six-minute video, produced last year, premiered Tuesday, July 16, on YouTube. View it here.:

The video highlights Fauquier’s history, wineries, quality of life, equestrian events, housing options, transportation network and proximity to Metropolitan Washington.

“Here in Fauquier County, we are aggressively seeking the types of business that fit in with the unique character of our county,” board of supervisors Chairman Holder Trumbo (Scott District) says near the video’s end.

Mr. Trumbo specifically mentions tourism, technology, light manufacturing, telecommuting, government contracting and research and development

Re-branding the Good Life City

by Franklin White

The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission is working to better brand the city of Albany.

At Wednesday's EDC meeting, board members voted to move and partner with the Georgia based marketing firm, Lattimer Communications.

Officials with EDC say they're ready to revamp Albany's brand so the city can attract new businesses and new residents.

Albany-Dougherty EDC president Ted Clem says with this new marketing firm, they hope to reach a lot of people but they want to make it clear that they aren't hiding anything.

"We're not trying to hide the fact that we have flaws, but part of the way that we sell ourselves to outsiders is, hey everyone has flaws and issues but look at how we're dealing with them," said Clem.

The contract with Lattimer Communications runs for 52 weeks and is budgeted for $150,000

Marketing region means burying boundaries

Gannett Wisconsin Media

Selling Northeastern Wisconsin as a good place to do business can’t be accomplished by a single community.

That’s according to Ronnie Bryant, president and CEO of the Charlotte USA Partnership, a regional economic development group that markets the greater Charlotte, N.C., area as a place that not only offers good quality of life but where money can be made.

Bryant, who addressed business and community leaders from around Northeastern Wisconsin at a regional economic development breakfast at The Marq in De Pere on Tuesday, said Charlotte’s success over the years is credited to creating a mindset that what’s best for the region benefits everyone. Bryant said a first step, which also is the most difficult, is for communities to stop thinking parochially.

“There’s nothing more fulfilling than driving by a once-empty site and seeing a facility there, where people are working and (knowing) their families are living in the surrounding communities,” Bryant said. “Selling your community as a great place to live isn’t going to work; you have to be the place to come.” More here.

Lynchburg leaders hear about economic development prospects

Eleanor Kennedy

Lynchburg’s government and business leaders heard a consultant’s findings and voiced their opinions on the city’s economic development prospects and marketing efforts during a presentation of the Economic Development Authority’s new strategic plan Tuesday night.

Consultant Jay Garner, president of Atlanta-based site selection firm Garner Economics, and Mike Tveidt, a research economist for the company, presented suggestions for a new strategic plan for the EDA Tuesday at the Academy of Fine Arts during a break between City Council sessions. Attendees included Council, other local government representatives and business leaders who participated in the research stage of the plan’s development.

Garner’s plan — developed via focus groups and statistical research — included actionable items such as building hangar space to attract the aircraft repair industry to Lynchburg, taking the lead on a statewide push for sustainable economic development funding and consolidating local permitting and licensing into a “one stop shop,” among other recommendations. More here.

New Video looks at economic development, quality of life in Alexander County

The Alexander County Economic Development Corp. announced the launch of a new video that will serve as a marketing tool to help bring businesses, industries, and visitors to Alexander County.

The video spotlights the well-known businesses and industries in the county, and promotes the county’s attractions, including Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area, The Hiddenite Center, the Emerald Hollow Mine, Alexander Central High School softball, agriculture, and more.

“We’re excited to have this professional marketing tool to help promote our county and to help attract businesses to Alexander County,” said EDC board chairman Andrew Jackson. “While this video’s main goal is to help grow our local economy, it is also a way to entice visitors to come see what Alexander County has to offer. I also hope that our residents will feel a sense of pride after watching this video because it really does make you proud to live in Alexander County.”

Saturday, July 27, 2013

25 Mind Blowing Email Marketing Stats

Here's a collection of email marketing stats from a variety sources compiled by  Some most pertinent to place marketers:
1.      33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. #marketingcloud Source:
2.      Subject lines fewer than 10 characters long had an open rate of 58%. #marketingcloud Source: Adestra July 2012 Report
3.      Emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158% higher click- through rate. #marketingcloud Source: GetResponse
4.      For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment. #marketingcloud Source: Experian
5.      64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices. #marketingcloud Source: TopRankBlog

More here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Big economic development in small towns

Kentucky finding success with foreign firms that like the strong bonds they forge in rural communities

By Mark Green

Kentucky officials last year shifted their economic development focus to foreign direct investment (FDI), especially from automotive manufacturing. They’re getting some traction, too, despite limited resources and strong competition by focusing on companies they believe fit the commonwealth’s conservative, small town business culture.
Gov. Steve Beshear, flanked by company and local officials, announces that global cosmetics and hair care manufacturer L’OrĂ©al USA will expand its operations in Northern Kentucky, investing $42 million and adding 211 jobs.

Recently, that has often meant family-owned German auto sector suppliers whose roots are in Bavaria. The Japanese continue investing here, too. A wave of foreign manufacturers seeking dependable markets and growth is washing ashore in the United States, whose economy remains the most stable in the world. More here.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Survey says: ‘Where’s Arundel?’

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

ARUNDEL — Howard Kohn of the market and branding organization The Chesapeake Group formally addressed the board of selectmen and most members of the Economic Development Committee dotting the crowd on Monday evening with a presentation of Arundel’s issues, weaknesses and strengths he has compiled over the last few months.

The town of Arundel hired the market and branding group based out of Maryland earlier this year for $25,000 as an effort to resuscitate the township in collaboration with Arundel’s comprehensive economic plan. More here.

Portsmouth marketing focuses on potential residents

The department has put most of its $115,000 marketing budget into an effort to attract new residents to the city.

City Council members had directed the focus in 2010 because the city's population was shrinking.

And fewer people means dwindling tax dollars and fewer shoppers for the retailers that city leaders hope to lure into town, according to Patrick J. Small, the city's economic development director.

The department has paid for TV commercials, radio spots, billboards and a website. More here.

Lake Norman economic-development agencies form marketing cooperative

Senior Staff Writer- Charlotte Business Journal

Five Lake Norman area economic development agencies are forming a marketing cooperative.

Called simply The Lake Norman Region, the concept has the financial backing of EnergyUnited, the state’s largest electric cooperative, which is based in Statesville.

The agencies participating are Catawba Economic Development Corp., Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corp., Lincoln Economic Development Association, Mooresville-South Iredell Economic Development Corp. and Statesville Regional Development.

Each will contribute $2,000 a year to finance a website and a “get acquainted” event planned for later this year. EnergyUnited will support the cooperative financially but the company hasn’t established a budget for the operation.

“The goal is to get the marketing idea off the ground and then begin to utilize the synergies that exist,” says Tim Holder vice president of sales and economic development at EnergyUnited.

On the to-do list for the new cooperative is a direct mail campaign to potential industrial clients and site consultants, Holder says. The website for the effort is

Holder and others say the marketing effort isn’t connected to the N.C. Department of Commerce’s plans to privatize some of its functions. Michael Smith, executive director of Statesville Regional Development, says his agency remains “committed to the regional marketing efforts of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, but we are also happy to be able to now create a sub-regional group, like several other parts of N.C. have done over the years.”

The partnership’s counties would be reorganized in the N.C. legislation to privatize functions of the state’s department of commerce.

EnergyUnited, the second-largest electric utility in North Carolina, serves 19 counties along Interstates 77 and 85, north of Charlotte. It has 122,000 customers.

Can Henrico Hitch Its Economic Wagon to Washington?

Speaking of economic development (see previous post), give Henrico County credit for thinking differently.

The Henrico County Economic Development Authority is marketing the county as an alternative, low-cost location for companies in the Washington region. I’m not sure the EDA has formulated a winning sales pitch yet, but as long as it keeps tinkering with the message, it might have a winner.

The county has started contacting people at about 500 companies in the Washington region. “We’re thinking they may be considering moving either all or part of their business to a less costly environment,” Gary McLaren, executive director of the EDA, told the Times-Dispatch. Companies relocating from the Washington area can save 20% to 40% on labor, office leases, utilities and taxes, according to a Henrico EDA brochure quoted by the newspaper. More here.

Pembroke economic development department pleased with social media successes


Pembroke's economic development department is pleased with the success of its extensive use of social media to promote the city.

However, at least one city councillor would like to see more concrete results.

In a report to the economic development committee, Susan Ellis, economic development, recreation and tourism manager, stated over the past two years there has been a significant swing away from traditional advertising such as print, outdoor and broadcast, and towards things like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and websites.

She stated the department has documented proof of this; the Meet Me in Downtown Video, posted on the City of Pembroke YouTube channel has more than 5,000 hits on it, plus their Twitter account has 528 mainly business oriented followers. In both cases, it cost the city nothing to set up both accounts.

Ellis reported in order to increase page likes on their Pembroke Tourism Facebook page, they purchased a simple audience builder campaign over the course of 30 days for $10 a day. The city's audience grew from 122 to 720, and continues to expand. More here.

Oro Valley taking tagline to market

Dave Perry Special to The Explorer

Oro Valley plans to spend more than $30,000 this year marketing itself with the new “It’s in our nature” tagline in various local and national media, Economic Development Manager Amanda Jacobs told a Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce gathering Tuesday at the Oro Valley Holiday Inn Express and Suites.

“Oro Valley, it’s in our nature,” will appear in local newspapers, on the Visit Tucson website, and in trade, industry and business site selection publications, she said.

Jacobs shared specifics of the town’s slick, new 8-page promotional folder, a document she plans to use at a national aquatics event convention this fall, as well as at bioscience and other trade shows in the next 12 months.

Oro Valley has long labeled itself a “Community of Excellence.” Other communities do the same, Jacobs said.At Oro Valley economic summits in 2010 and 2011, business people and residents concluded “Oro Valley basically has no identity,” Jacobs said. “How do we market ourselves?” More here.

Economic development initiative continues to score for Chandler

Chandler’s recent success in attracting more employers to their commercial and business sector continues at an impressive pace and is largely orchestrated by the staff in the city’s Economic Development Department.

Christine Mackay, as the department director, leads the team effort to increase the number of jobs and investment in the southeast valley.

She spoke of their accomplishments during a presentation on June 26, at the annual Economic Update, hosted by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ve added nearly 4,800 jobs to Chandler this fiscal year, which is a high number for us,” said Mackay. More here.

County not in sights of site selectors

Keynote speaker Mark Sweeney, a corporate site selection consultant, served a dose of hard reality and a wake-up call with his audience’s morning coffee at “Rethinking Westchester: A Blueprint for Smart Growth,” the recent conference on economic development.

Mark SweeneyWith fewer companies undertaking relocation projects since the recession, it’s more competitive than ever, according to Sweeney, senior principal at McCallum Sweeney Consulting in Greenville, S.C. “There are fewer projects and there are more sophisticated locations competing for them,” he told about 200 attendees at the daylong conference in Tarrytown sponsored by the Westchester County Association and its Blueprint for Westchester economic development arm.

Sweeney represents companies in diverse industries in their selection of manufacturing, distribution and office headquarters locations. His firm advised Tronox Ltd., a global chemical company, in the 2012 relocation of its corporate headquarters to Stamford, Conn. – Tronox chose Connecticut and its loan forgiveness and job creation incentives over Manhattan and London. His clients typically do not inquire about the office parks and downtown office towers of Westchester.

“Westchester County does not have much of a presence, quite frankly, in the site location business,” he said. “Unfortunately, Westchester right now is not in the mix of where people want to go.” More here.

Regional economic development group aims to rev up economy

Cindy Barks
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - Being competitive as a region can help foster economic development, but competition within the region can have the opposite effect.

That was one of the points that a Phoenix economic-development expert made during his remarks to a fledging group in the Prescott area this past week.

Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, was the speaker at a kick-off breakfast for a local group, the Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership (GPREP).

Broome urged the 90 or so local business and government leaders at the meeting to find a common strategy and identity.

The Phoenix group formed in 1989, Broome said, "Because (each community) had different strategies."

Even more detrimental, he said, was the competition that Phoenix-area communities were engaging in amongst themselves. "They saw each other as competitors," Broome said, adding that such an atmosphere is "the most damaging."

"When communities compete with each other, they waste a ton of money," he said. "(The Phoenix organization) formed out of crisis." More here.

Area's 'sense of place' helps with economic development, speaker tells CVPED

by Nate Delesline III

The Charlottesville area’s “sense of place” and its diversity of industries play well on the national economic development stage, a Richmond-based expert said Friday.

Unfortunately, every community in America is competing for the same projects, and those that aren’t prepared to act quickly will be left behind, said Christopher Lloyd, an infrastructure and economic development specialist with McGuire Woods.

Lloyd shared his comments at the Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development’s annual meeting. Dozens of local economic development professionals, business leaders and elected officials attended.  More here.

New economic development initiative announced for Southern Ohio region

By Matt Lucas News Watchman Staff Writer

Economic development and government leaders gathered at the OSU Endeavor Center in Piketon on Friday to announce the formation of a new economic development group for the region.

The Joint Economic Development Initiative of Southern Ohio (JEDISO), which will represent Pike, Ross, Scioto, and Jackson counties, will promote economic development in the area and has received a $126,000 capital commitment contribution from the Fluor-B&W Portsmouth Community Commitment Fund.

“We will be marketing the assets of the four counties as one economic region to create jobs and new wealth,” said Chris Manegold, who is serving as spokesman for the group. “Our goal is to position southern Ohio as the location of choice for resident companies to prosper as well as for prospective new companies to pursue their growth objectives. More here.

Bastrop Economic Development Corporation discusses marketing, Academy

Austin Community Newspapers Staff

Talk of the value of out-of-state marketing trips, to what degree Academy should be pursued in possibly coming to Bastrop, and scaling back on the downtown mega-grants program were some of the main topics at a recent meeting of the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation board of directors.

BEDC executive director Dave Quinn told the board at its June 17 meeting that recent marketing trips with Opportunity Austin had been advantageous for the BEDC in reaching out beyond Texas.

Quinn said he had been able to accompany representatives of Opportunity Austin – a business initiative created by the Austin Chamber of Commerce– during a recent trip to Chicago. He said the trip allowed the BEDC and Bastrop to “piggyback” with Opportunity Austin on talking to potential businesses and corporations about the advantages of locating in Texas. More here.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Regional and local approach key for economic development

Redmond Reporter Reporter

When it comes to a community’s economic development, it’s important to think regionally as well as locally.

This was the message Martha Fuller conveyed to the audience at OneRedmond’s investors’ luncheon on Wednesday.

With experience that includes serving as director of planning and economic development and director of finance for the City of St. Paul in Minnesota and holding CFO and vice president positions at a number of professional sports teams, including the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC, Fuller has learned a lot of lessons along the way about what works and what doesn’t.

She said there are times when thinking regionally can be beneficial and when thinking locally is the way to go. More here.

Mentor embracing social media for new economic development plan

By John Benson, Correspondent

MENTOR, Ohio -- The city has launched a $3,000 economic development campaign aimed at enticing the "millennial generation" born after 1983 to relocate to Mentor.
The campaign will use advertising on social media such as Facebook, Linked In and Pandora Internet.

"The erosion of millennials in the community is something we first noted with the release of the 2010 census," said city Economic Development Director Ronald M. Traub. "The city experienced unexpected decline in our overall population. In taking a look at the data, the segment of the population that experienced a significant decline were the so-called millennials."

Traub said the city's Old Village area may lack trendy shops and restaurants, but could be attractive to millennials looking to settle down. The city is marketing the area to businesses that attract young families, he said.

Officials said influx of young people would give the city an economic boost. More here.

Silicon Valley Can’t Be Copied

For 50 years, the experts have tried to figure out what makes Silicon Valley tick. The answer is people.

By Vivek Wadhwa on July 3, 2013

By 1960, Silicon Valley had already captured the attention of the world as a teeming technology center. It had spawned the microwave electronics industry and set a pattern for industry-academic partnerships. French president Charles de Gaulle paid a visit and marveled at its sprawling research parks set amid farms and orchards south of San Francisco.

Stanford University, which is at the heart of Silicon Valley, had given birth to leading companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Varian Associates, Watkins-Johnson, and Applied Technologies. These companies were pushing the frontiers of technology. There was clearly something unusual happening here—in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Soon enough, other regions were trying to copy the magic. The first serious attempt to re-create Silicon Valley was conceived by a consortium of high-tech companies in New Jersey in the mid-1960s. They recruited Frederick Terman, who was retiring from Stanford after having served as provost, professor, and engineering dean. More here.