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Creative Economy Marketing Websites

Is it time to reconsider the strategy behind your investment attraction website?

It could be, if your existing strategy is several years old and your community has since turned its marketing focus to the creative economy.

Just as there is a difference between a traditional investment attraction marketing strategy and a strategy for creative economy marketing, so there is a difference between a broad-based Economic Development website and one designed specifically to attract and retain businesses led by the creative class. You might, in fact, need to consider having more than one site.

Let’s start by thinking about what the creative economy is. As defined by the Martin Prosperity Institute, a creative economy is driven by ideas, innovation, knowledge, collaboration and creativity. This economy employs people who are paid to think, and they work within all sectors of the economy.

Creative industries are defined as businesses that make products that require constant and continual adaptation. It’s appropriate, then, to approach your website in the same way.

How should your website be designed and populated so that people in the creative class would like to visit it, and return to it?

The first word to bring to mind is “think.” Creative people are paid to think. It’s probably something they enjoy doing. Is your site thought-provoking, and thus attractive, to the creative leaders of the kinds of businesses that your community is well positioned to attract?

139 CreativeEconomy Creative Economy Marketing Websites
Showcase your community with one of our Creative Economy Attraction Programs.Our step-by-step trail programs are designed to ensure that you get everything you need to develop, launch and promote your culinary, arts, culture or heritage trail.Find out more here, or visit our website to find out how our programs can work in your community.

Personal Interactivity

In Seattle the answer is yes. A creative person could spend quite a lot of time thinking about the information that the Seattle Office of Economic Development provides at www.seattle.gov/economicdevelopment. Such a visitor is even invited to be creative, right on the site.

A portion of the site is called My.Seattle.Gov (www.seattle.gov/myseattle). Here a visitor can create his or her own customized Seattle.gov web portal. The visitor can design pages and add, edit, remove and move content boxes called widgets. The widgets contain City of Seattle services, information, photos and videos.

Engaging, wouldn’t you say? And there’s more. The Office of Economic Development offers links to: a business services portal; a series of monthly networking events called City Business Casual at rotating downtown venues where senior city officials are on hand; a film, and music site; a street-food vending site; a CityLink site with direct connections to the mayor and many kinds of officials; a site for business owners; programs to help businesses become green; blogs, blogs and more blogs.

It’s evident that Seattle understands how to structure an investment attraction website to be viewed through the lens of a creative economy individual.

Making the Strategy Live

At the same time, a creative economy marketing website also needs internal consistency – that is, it should fit neatly with the overarching creative economy strategy. The website should bring the strategy alive in the ways that it attracts targeted individuals.

For a first-rate example of targeting within a consistent strategy, visit the Greater Halifax Partnership at www.greaterhalifax.com. As the largest city in eastern Canada, Halifax has one of the best-educated workforces in the country and has come up with an ingenious marketing theme – SmartCity.

The site offers smart ways for investors, entrepreneurs, immigrants and site selectors to make personal connections with business leaders, partners, investors, stakeholders and government. The home page content emphasizes news, events and Twitter feeds, so it is always new – reflecting that the audience lives in a world of constant and continual adaptation.

Everything about this site is consistent with the theme of SmartCity. Most notable is a series of videos called the SmartCity Business Show (www.greaterhalifax.com/en/home/media_centre/smartcitybusinessshow.aspx). The short, snappy videos give viewers plenty to think about regarding the business and social appeal of Halifax. They deliver a creative class message through and through.

“When you assess everything and distill it down,” Paul Kent, president of the Greater Halifax Partnership, says in the first video, “this is one wicked place to live!”

And Halifax has one wicked creative economy marketing website.

Aligned Interests

From these examples you can see how effective websites reach creative class individuals by targeting for aligned interests. In general a website for creative economy attraction/marketing should:

  • Provide targeted relevant content such as stories and testimonials;
  • Focus on interactivity;
  • Provide a showcase for creative events and things to do and participate in;
  • Emphasize quality of life and heritage, culture, arts and entertainment attractions/events;
  • Be a gateway to connections to creative economy individuals in the community.

Websites are the hub of a creative economy marketing initiative. They define your first sphere of influence, the one over which you have most control. They collect information and are the place to which channels need to drive their visitors for further information or to take some kind of action.

Make them magnets for thinkers!

Please comment on this article, give us your feedback or provide a topic idea for a future article!

 

Learn more about Yfactor and how we can help your community grow at Yfactor.com.

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One Response to “Creative Economy Marketing Websites”

  1. November 6th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Janet Hemmelgarn says:

    Marketing strategy should be catered on the type of business as well as the clinents. *

    Look into our new blog too
    http://www.prettygoddess.com

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