The competition between cities and towns to attract investment in their region has become fierce. With the market changing so much in recent years thanks to the global economic downturn and the growth of technology, it’s no longer enough for economic developers to churn out clichéd phrases like ‘we have the best quality of life’.
In 2016 and beyond, it’s all about differentiation for economic developers. Every investment attraction campaign will undoubtedly say that their area has an exceptional quality of life, as well as great transport links, superb support for businesses, and so on. It’s essential to set yourself apart from the crowd and offer something that no one else has.
Finding the essence of your community
Investment attraction nowadays is all about finding what makes your community attractive to businesses, individuals and investors. What kind of lifestyle can your city offer? What business infrastructure is in place? What features of your city are most appealing (museums, nightlife, climate, geographical location, etc.)?
Carry out extensive research of the local community to find out why people come to your city – and why they’ve stayed. Once you’ve pinpointed the essence of your community, you can start to carve out your own niche.
Focus on your prospects’ needs
All marketing is about the prospect and their needs – if you don’t know what your potential investors are looking for in a development, you can’t possibly market to them successfully. Extensive research is needed to identify your prospects and narrow down the target audience. You’ll need to separate them into different sectors and identify the characteristics that define them and their needs.
Once you’ve defined each segment, you can match up your authentic offerings to their needs, and come up with marketing campaigns that hammer home these key messages.
Don’t take the scattergun approach
It’s important when trying to attract investors not to try and spread your marketing strategy too thin. You can’t possibly make a strong statement if you’re trying to position yourself as all things to all people. Instead of trying to list every great thing about your city or region, narrow it down to between three and five key points, and develop a strategy to really drum them home. Your messages will be delivered loud and clear, rather than going unnoticed in the noise from other cities trying to achieve the same thing.
Focus on telling stories
Storytelling is the very essence of marketing – so why not let your investors do some of the work for you? Investors who have been successful in helping to develop a region in your city should be given ample time and space to tell others what they’ve accomplished. Everyone loves a success story, and weaving them into your investment attraction strategy will surely see an uptick in interest.
The most important thing you can do is remain authentic throughout the investment attraction process. If you market your city as something it isn’t, your investors will end up let-down further down the line. But if you market your city based on its existing strengths, then strive to deliver an experience that goes above and beyond what your investors initially expected, you’ll find your own magic formula for investment attraction.