Adam Gawarecki is the Vice President of the World Economic Development Alliance. WEDA is a 17 year site location consulting firm working with hundreds of companies each year to help them in their site location process, gathering incentives from communities and state level Economic Development organizations, and working with their client EDC’s to help best represent their communities for new business attraction. Currently, WEDA is working with approximately 125 companies that will expand or relocate within the next 6-24 months. These companies will invest over $2.8 Billion in capital investment and create a total of over 3,000 new jobs. (WEDA has negotiated over $100 million in incentives for expanding companies.)
I feel that it’s important for each and every community to get their name out there to the fullest extent in marketing their regions. It’s important to have a website that’s site locator friendly including all the components that would help a company or a site locator gather the main pieces of information from their site. It’s also important to keep your branding the same throughout all pieces of your marketing approach including your proposals, literature, business cards, etc. I don’t, however, feel that including a full scale GIS program on your website is advantageous since there are much more cost effective ways to promote your Buildings and Sites directory and we would be happy to share with you these ideas upon request.
Several communities that my colleagues and I have met with in the past have mentioned that they don’t do marketing or don’t have a need for marketing. Why not? Are you not trying to recruit new business to your community? Others have stated that they feel certain initiatives are not effective. One of these has been tradeshow exhibiting. Why would this not be an effective medium considering that WEDA exhibits at 8 different industry tradeshows each year and we cultivated 9 projects in 2010 that located their expansion projects within the year? These were projects that we cultivated on our own and never went to the state level. How are you ever going to find projects like these if you don’t get out in the market place and promote your product? How are you going to find projects like these if you aren’t active and aggressive? There are many cost effective ways to do these things and the best approach is to leverage your dollars in using a marketing medium like WEDA or others that can help you do all of these things without having to pay for your own booth space.
Last but not least, when you are submitting proposals to any medium that has recruited a new prospect for you, you should always give it your best shot first and keep on it until you get a firm “no” that your site or community won’t work. Many times we have communities that will give up if the company requires too much digging on their behalf and the ones who typically succeed are the ones who go the extra step. Also, if you don’t have a fit for them, then simply don’t respond. Many communities will submit a Greenfield site for a build to suit scenario when the company has only expressed interest in an existing facility. There are many other scenarios that fit into this argument as well.
In short, it’s been great in working with communities who are motivated, aggressive, and are willing to go that extra step in marketing their communities. These are the ones we can help and the ones who are most successful. I would be happy to discuss our ideas and approach with any community who would like additional information or even some basic ideas on what we have seen in the industry across the country (1.800.632.WEDA (9332); firstname.lastname@example.org).