About That Economic Development Marketing & Attraction Class

IEDC’s Economic Development Marketing and Attraction course was held in Albuquerque May 10-11, 2018. About 45 economic developers attended the class, with about 15 sharing that they’re pursuing their economic development certification.

In order to fulfill your certification requirements, you must choose two elective courses to attend, one of which can be the Economic Development Marketing and Attraction class. This was the first elective course that I’ve taken and I cannot praise it enough! I absolutely recommend it to anyone who is debating whether or not to attend. Marketing is such an important aspect of economic development in both recruitment and retention aspects and this course teaches you many creative tactics.

Susan Brake, Vice President at Development Counsellors International and Guillermo Mazier, CEO of Atlas Advertising led the class. The instructors were absolutely fantastic! The whole class fed off of their energy and enthusiasm for the material they were teaching. The instructors presented the information in a manner that was easy to understand and they kept the whole class’ attention very well.

This two-day class began Thursday with a welcome and introductions by the instructors that led right into an overview of economic development marketing. It was great beginning since it really set up what we would be learning over the next couple of days. From here, we moved right into positioning your community and finding your niche. The instructors were able to share marketing tactics for all types of EDO’s, whether the community is small and rural or in a large metro area. The next section was on developing a marketing plan and having metrics for success. After this, we broke for lunch on our own.

After lunch, we jumped right back into the course with branding and talent attraction. It was helpful for everyone to take a step back from being in the heart of their communities and really think about what the current branding was and if they would like to emphasize or change that message. The last subject of the day was on foreign direct investment. This was a tough section just because there is so much information when it comes to FDI and information changes depending what part of the globe you are visiting or doing business with. It was interesting hearing the speaker discuss how they work with their sister cities. After this session we were excused for the day and were responsible for having dinner on our own.

Day two began with websites, which is so important since that is usually the first impression that a prospect will have of your community. Most prospects that look at your website will never even reach out to speak to you, because they will try to glean all of the information they need about your community online. It is so important that every economic development organization has a user-friendly website that is filled with the information that you want prospects to know about your community. Websites must also have your contact information in an easily accessible area. This class led us into discussing online marketing and lead generation, which discussed more target marketing rather than simply supplying information on a website. The last session before we were released for lunch was on social media and finding ways to be constantly creating new content.

When we resumed the class after lunch, Susan and Guillermo shared with us a couple of case studies that they have worked on where they were helping clients with their marketing efforts, including their brand and website. The last session of the course was an interactive group project, where we divided up into tables and were responsible for creating a marketing plan for one of the communities represented at our table. My table created a marketing plan for St. Petersburg, Florida. Every group had the opportunity to share their marketing plan with the class and it was neat hearing what everyone was planning for the different communities.

Finally, we took a class photo and received our certificates.

I really enjoyed this class – actually it was my favorite class so far. I strongly recommend it for anyone deciding which electives to attend, and even for people not pursuing their certification who would just like to brush up on some marketing skills. In the economic development field, it is vital that we all are knowledgeable on marketing so that we are able to best sell our communities.

You can check out IEDC’s list of classes to see when the next Economic Development Marketing and Attraction class will be held.