Posts Tagged ‘Economic Development Department’
All economic developers understand how important it is to publish data on their websites that will attract and inform site selectors. There are many examples of Economic Development organizations that have excellent websites: visually engaging, interactive, full of relevant information and providing viewers with all kinds of useful data.
Great websites theoretically drive great traffic and great results. But which Economic Development organization knows who actually views their engaging visuals, interacts with their website, reads their information and scours their data? Not many.
While many EDOs have come to understand the value – in fact, the necessity – of using the web to display data and seek out interested audiences, many have not yet realized that the role of websites has evolved (once again) to a new advanced level.
This newest evolution means that investment attraction sites are no longer just conduits for broadcasting or answering questions. Website analytics now make it possible to turn the same excellent websites into generators of investment leads – Now, isn’t that good news!
If you are in the business of attracting or retaining business for your community, chances are your customers – whether site selectors, business owners or creative people who invent new products and services – are active on social networks and sites.
How widely are such sites used in the economic development world? We don’t really know, because research just can’t keep up with the rapid changes. The most often cited statistic is that 57 per cent of members of the International Economic Development Council surveyed by the IEDC and Development Counsellors International (DCI) said they were using social media tools. But that was in 2009, a lifetime ago in Internet years.
More recently a survey of 3,800 marketers from all industries, carried out for the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report published by SocialMediaExaminer.com, found that 83 per cent of respondents said that social media was important for their business. The survey also found that the Number 1 reported benefit of social media marketing was generating more business exposure (reported by 85 per cent of marketers), followed by increasing traffic (69 per cent) and providing marketplace insight (65 per cent).
Economic development organizations, too, probably employ social media to an almost universal extent, but they are missing out on one of its most essential benefits – finding out about themselves.
Have you heard of GrowFL? If you are interested in economic gardening, you almost certainly have.
The Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University o f Central Florida (www.growfl.com) has become an integral part of the State of Florida’s economic development strategy. Created in 2009, it became one of the earliest and most prominent organizations in the post-recessionary movement toward economic gardening. GrowFL has helped more than 400 companies create 1,400 new jobs statewide. (more…)
Economic gardening helps to foster an entrepreneurial culture in communities and create jobs. There is a great deal of evidence to support this, such as research that found that companies participating in Florida’s economic gardening pilot program each created an average of 5.2 new jobs within the first 18 months.
What has not been documented so well, but is becoming apparent, is that economic gardening strengthens the capabilities of economic development organizations and helps them build stronger ties with their business communities.
In economic development, knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have of your economic region, its companies, issues, strengths, weaknesses and prospects, the more power you have to help that region prosper.
This concept has been behind the growth and success of economic gardening for more than two decades. Economic gardening employs data-based strategies, techniques and tools to help existing companies within a community to grow. It focuses on building three main elements for companies and communities: information, infrastructure and connections.