Archive for the ‘Virtual Investment Attraction’ Category
Economic developers the world over are trying to help their communities compete in the creative economy. Communities will be winners if they can attract and retain companies that produce new offerings that combine market uniqueness with cost effectiveness and socio-economic benefits.
So it is with the economic development profession itself. Creativity is today’s competitive benchmark. In this series of articles we have shown how the web has spawned new forms of communication and marketing processes for EDOs. Virtual trade shows, meetings and a variety of online tools help communities differentiate themselves while also reducing costs.
These modern tools can help EDOs adapt to the need for constant change, and position their communities to be on the short list of competitors invited by prospective investors to submit proposals.
Building relationships is a cornerstone of any process in economic development. The first rule of Investment Attraction Sales 101 is to stay “top of mind” with your prospects.
The best way to build relationships has always been face-to-face. Today, however, the costs in terms of both time and money for attending meetings in person are increasingly prohibitive. Organizations’ resources are seriously constrained. The recent filing for bankruptcy protection by Jefferson County, Alabama, is a sobering reminder of the difficult economic climate in which EDOs will have to work for the foreseeable future. (more…)
“Welcome to Cantrav’s virtual familiarization tour of Vancouver. During the next 13 minutes we will transport you to our beautiful city to gain three days’ worth of insider knowledge, all without taking the time from your busy schedule for a real FAM. We’ll guide you through the city and give you general destination knowledge that will be helpful to you as a meeting planner.”
So begins a virtual familiarization tour found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjuC6uBHXXg&feature=related, created by Cantrav Services Inc. for the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. The tour is designed for event planners, but any economic development officer who views it could see how easily it could be targeted to site selectors.
There’s evidence that this idea is beginning to take hold.
For about five years or so, virtual familiarization tours have been spreading in the tourism and event management industries. This marks a big change in the marketing paradigm for those industries.
You’re at an international trade show and you meet senior executives from a company interested in finding a location for a North American regional plant. The traditional next step might be to persuade them to make a personal visit to your community. But is that the way to go any more?
No, the way to go is the web. So why not set up a virtual meeting between officials of the company and your investment attraction officials? This, in fact, should be your next step.
You can arrange for a face to face meeting, with documentation that everyone can refer to at once on the screen, in a fraction of the time it might take for the company’s visitors to travel to your community. You will have an immediate advantage over any competing communities who continue to wait until travel schedules can be accommodated before fully introducing themselves to prospects.
Have you noticed the decline in travel by site selectors? They have little time and often no budget to go shopping for opportunities in person. Increasingly they want the world to come to their doors, or rather, their computers.
Economic developers can find an opportunity in this trend. There’s a new type of web technology that has not been embraced yet by the ED community, but which is growing very rapidly in a number of industries affected by reduced global travel. It’s the virtual trade show.
A virtual trade show recreates on the web the experience of a conventional trade show by offering a one stop location for a themed collection of products, services, companies and/or regional attractions. You might have seen the type of show where visitors can enter “booths” and view descriptions provided by the vendor in the form of text, videos and other graphics, and links to websites with more information.
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