Sound Advice on Economic Development Marketing from Andy Levine

Andy Levine of Development Counsellors International is a guy I have known for over 25 years. I respect his advice on economic development marketing, branding, communications. He recently shared with Forbes five common mistakes made by economic development marketing campaigns.

1. Swimming in the sea of sameness

With 39,000 municipal government entities in the United States, standing out can be hard. It’s not enough to say your community has a “great quality of life” or a “pro-business attitude.” Levine identifies two questions every marketing campaign should ask itself:

  • What makes our community different?
  • Why should our audience care?

2. Shouting rather than engaging

Levine points out that the average person receives more than 2,000 marketing messages every day before lunchtime; it can be easy to tune out. Third-party ambassadors (such as business leaders) can send a more credible message than anything a place can say about itself.

3. Viewing a new logo/tagline as a silver bullet

Logos and taglines are important but not the be-all and end-all. Consultants can charge large sums of money for a slick slogan, but it won’t guarantee success. How your brand is communicated to the outside world is what really counts. Don’t fall prey to shallow branding efforts.

4. Designing your website as an information-only resource

Don’t just use your website as a cache of statistics – use it for lead generation by identifying visitors through their IP addresses.

5. Failure to connect with existing investors

Economic developers should keep a business retention and expansion mindset when doing marketing by connecting with existing business to explore their growth potential and mining their connections to other businesses.

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