February 27, 2024

Creating Economic Development Equity with Strong Marketing

Economic Development is the engine that drives growth in a region, and while many factors contribute to a strong economic development effort,  robust and strategic marketing can help a region catapult those initiatives and truly reach its potential. The benefits of a well-run economic development effort are deep and wide. Here are some of the top reasons we must ensure our efforts are supported with strong marketing.

Marketing for the city

To begin with, there is a region’s reputation to consider. Beyond the efforts to draw big and small businesses, entrepreneurs or corporations, and tourists, a deliberate effort to drive a positive overall reputation is key to rounding out a strong marketing effort.  

Supporting Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Beyond the major businesses and investors and identified tourism, there is the need to bring in new thinking and create opportunities for entrepreneurs of all kinds. Creating a narrative that speaks to this audience is key to rounding out a strong marketing effort. 

Attracting key businesses and investors

To drive economic development for a region, it is imperative to target the type of companies and their investors who are seeking to either build or relocate their business into the region. There are many factors to consider when leveraging the data to support such an important decision and that is where a robust marketing effort and partner come together. Knowing who to reach is one thing, knowing what will drive an actionable decision is altogether separate. 

A great place to live

Promoting your city as THE place to live has residual benefits. A recent industry panel discussion highlighted that when a market or city promotes its community, varied living options, and attractions the business sector will benefit as well.

Tourism and recreation

It’s not all business, there is great value in engaging new visitors through attractions, tourism, and the arts for several reasons. Visitors to the city who take advantage of local attractions help to contribute to the economic development of an area through their tourism dollars. Promoting the key attractions or offerings of a city also showcases the type of community that a city has to offer and that can be a key contributing factor when deciding to relocate or start a business. 

Harnessing the power of the public and private sector.

A city or region that successfully creates public-private partnerships in support of economic development will thrive. The combination of efforts between these unique organizations can lead to additional funding to support marketing, and alignment on strategic growth areas will serve to create a more robust effort that can be mutually beneficial for both public entities as well as private sector businesses. 

Strategic marketing is critical

A city or region cannot cultivate economic development of any kind in the absence of strong, thoughtful, strategic marketing.  Schaefer Advertising has deep experience in marketing economic development within both the public and private sectors. This experience is coupled with a unique ability to serve as a liaison with multiple organizations and stakeholders. We take a measured and customized approach at Schaefer Advertising that has proven to be successful for both public and private sector efforts. 

Positioning and Persona

The key to marketing a region is to define what makes it different and unique through a thoughtful brand strategy. We begin by articulating the specific brand position of the agency and developing a unique persona through the archetyping process. 

  • Brand Story and Key Messaging: With a positioning and persona identified we then move to craft the narrative of the region in a way that will resonate with the variety of targets. From businesses to innovators to tourists, a well-crafted story based on a viable persona delivers an authentic message. This story is supported by key message pillars that when combined, create a strong communications platform for all marketing to leverage, 
  • Strategic Communications Plan: The plan is where the integration of key strategies and tactics is developed to provide a blueprint to promote the region to achieve specific objectives and reach defined targets. There are a few considerations to keep in mind as one prepares a communications plan for their region.
    • Sector Specific: When considering the business and investor targets, be sector-specific. Regardless of the industry: Healthcare, Technology, Education, Mobility, Defense, etc. there is a certain way the region should be postured. 
    • Individually Based: Consider the individuals you are trying to reach in each of the executions of your narrative. From investors to C-suite executives to influencers, your message will take on a nuanced perspective of your key message. 
    • Geographic Based: There are likely and unlikely geographically based targets to consider. Be sure you are aware of the reasons why your region will be enticing to your target and double down on that in your communications plan. 
  • Integrated Communications Channels: There are a variety of ways in which to go to market with your plan, however, in the end, it’s wise to consider all the basics at the very least.
    • Direct
    • Digital (your website is key to a strong marketing effort)
    • PR (paid and earned)
    • Social
    • Traditional
  • Creative Campaign and Asset Development: This is where the rubber hits the road. The deliberate and strategic rigor put into the strategy that drove us to this point should not be discounted. With confidence that our positioning and key messaging is appropriate for the targets we are seeking, the creative campaign and asset development phase of this effort can be entered into boldly. 
  • Track, Measure, Adjust, Optimize: Because we have built this approach based on a data-driven strategy, the opportunity to measure and evolve as we go and grow is one of the most beneficial rewards of a well-thought-through approach. A strong economic development marketing plan is not a “set it and forget it” approach, but rather an ongoing storyline that can be agile enough to respond to current events and changing perspectives. 

Over the years Schaefer has had the opportunity and pleasure of being a partner to both public and private economic development efforts. We thought you might like to review a  few case studies of the work we’ve done for the City of Fort Worth and the Mobility Innovation Zone.

Featured Case Study

History begins in the future

Famous for its trailblazing history, Fort Worth still embraces its reputation as a “City of Opportunity.” Quickly becoming an epicenter of growth and innovation, Fort Worth offers an inviting community, talented workforce, and incredibly low cost of living, attracting people…
City of Fort Worth
Featured Case Study

Innovation from the ground up

Mobility and innovation districts are places where pioneers make critical advancements in logistics and supply chain modernization. It’s also a place where technology breakthroughs are developed that can affect billions of people. They are critical to advancing how consumer and…

Prepare a strong marketing effort to create economic development equity. 

In the end, while there is much to consider as you create your marketing plans around an economic development effort, keep in mind these three critical considerations and you’ll be off on the right foot. 

  1. Do your research: Including everything from which business sectors to explore to the individuals inside those sectors. 
  2. Know your competition: Competition for your chosen targets may not be what/who you think, dive deep on what other regions are offering and how they are approaching your audience. 
  3. Align on your priorities: Knowing what to leverage in your region and who to target with that equity is key to a focused effort.  

At Schaefer, we understand the broad landscape of economic development and how best to approach a strong marketing effort regardless of its size or nature.  Please reach out if you’d like to discuss how we can help you with your economic development opportunities/challenges.