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Our Top 5 Economic Development Marketing Trend Articles of 2012

2012 was a great year for Yfactor! Some of our highlights included:

  • We launched our new analytics tool, Prospect ID, which can turn blind web traffic into identified investment leads
  • We helped dozens of communities across North America to launch economic development, municipal, tourism, and immigration attraction projects including websites, social media, apps, branding, marketing strategies and design
  • We’ve built relationships with 26 new clients representing communities across the United States and Canada, completing over 100 projects

2013 is shaping up to be an even bigger year than last and we are looking forward to sharing more great articles, as well as stories about Yfactor, our staff and some of our client successes.

In the last year we sent out 20 articles on topics including: Creative Economy, Downtown/Mainstreet Marketing, Talent Attraction, and Economic Gardening.


Attract Attention to Attract Talent!

As economic developers focus increasingly on the critical need to attract and retain talent in their local economies, a three-step process has emerged as a best practice: Develop the strategy first, create the appropriate products to implement it, then promote them effectively and continuously (please see “Talent Attraction – A Strategic Approach,” published July 3, 2012).

This applies first and foremost to talent attraction portals.  Launching a portal is not enough.  The portal is a product, and like any product it requires active marketing and promotion to be successful.

The City of Calgary in Alberta really gets it.  It’s a booming city driven by the energy industry but is hindered by a chronic labor shortage and experienced a high level of out-migration.  To combat the situation, Calgary Economic Development established its talent attraction portal, “Live in Calgary” and launched a complementary marketing campaign called “Be Part of the Energy.”

Headlined by Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who made several trips to Eastern Canada along with leading members of Calgary’s business community, the campaign raised awareness about Calgary as a center of business through a combination of initiatives including media relations, public relations, advertising and social media engagement on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Everything is correlated with the interactive portal  Along with comprehensive lifestyle information – “more days of sunshine than any other major Canadian city and less than an hour’s drive from the majestic Rockies” – the portal features video vignettes of business leaders from a variety of sectors discussing Calgary’s well-connected business network and entrepreneurial culture.

The combination of portal and supporting campaign did the job. Whereas Calgary had a net loss in migration of more than 4,000 in 2010, it rebounded to a net gain of 9,600 in 2011. (more…)

Attracting Talent through Social Media

Talent attraction strategies are quickly becoming more innovative as communities fight to attract great people all across North America.

A growing number of economic development organizations are creating workforce strategies based on identifying the gaps between the talent that is available and the talent that will be needed – and they are coming up short.


Building Online Communities for Talent Attraction

A competitive regional economy needs a strong community of talent, not merely a group of strong  companies with talented employees within their walls. Speed and efficiency are of utmost importance  to product development, so today’s companies need resources beyond the limits of their employee base.

That’s why the quality of talent in your community is vitally important. And talented people  communicate and connect, first and foremost, via the web. By building an online community, economic  developers and their private sector partners can nurture an on-the-ground community of talent for future growth.

The hub of such an online community is the talent attraction portal. Its goals should be twofold:  to deliver compelling messages to the target groups of talented people you want to attract to your  community, and to reinforce the commitment of your talented residents to their home.

What’s the secret? Driving traffic to the portal. The portal needs energy and it needs action, particularly the kind of action that connects people and jobs.


How Targeted Web Portals Can Attract Talent

Have you seen the new economic development trend on the web?  Communities are designing and publishing portals solely to attract one thing – not startups or branch plants or property purchases, but talent.

The Talent Attraction Portal

These specialized talent attraction portals are often spearheaded by business groups, but economic development departments are also taking active and prominent roles in them.  As well they should, because there’s a need to maintain a connection between such portals and the community’s economic development strategy.

In February of this year, the Bloomington Technology Partnership in Indiana announced the launch of a social media and talent attraction portal designed to promote Bloomington’s emerging technology community and assist employers to fill open jobs.  The portal,, was created by the Bloomington Technology Partnership with the assistance of local consulting and web design firms.


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