I was looking back through some old emails today – and found this nugget from DCI, a top notch site selection firm. Here is the link (the article is below): http://www.aboutdci.com/2011/10/site-selection-insights-four-key-takeaways-from-a-location-advisor/
Site selection is more a process of site elimination, so is your organization’s strategy built around promoting your community’s core strengths, or is it instead considerate of key weaknesses that might prevent you from making an initial list, let alone a short list? That counterintuitive approach became clear after a talk by guest speaker Andy Shapiro of Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company at DCI headquarters in New York last week.
Consider for a moment that in DCI’s 2011 survey, Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing, roughly 47% of corporate executives said they anticipate outsourcing a portion of their site selection responsibilities in their next location search. So how can you “get in the game” and then “stay in the game” among this group, as Andy phrased it? Here are four takeaways from our discussion:
- Location advisors want to reduce the number of potential candidates quickly. It saves time and money. Size, location/proximity, and industry clusters are also factors, but so too is a “strong, visible brand.” This last point is important—numbers mean a lot, but so do perceptions and personal experience. The cheapest or most sensible location doesn’t always win out.
- How do you build a “strong, visible brand?” Relationships matter immensely. If you’re in a location advisor-rich market, call them up and take a meeting, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes. FAM trips work well too, especially when a community’s national perception is outdated. Of course, a consistent, strategic marketing program is always advisable. Click here for a video link to hear directly from Shapiro on relationships.
- Staying in the game involves factors like project costs, capacity for growth, labor relations and a host of data. But one that shines above the rest—workforce quality. We have historically high unemployment nationwide, but we also have a shortage of skilled workers to fill vital positions. Focus on telling a good story about your workforce; not about quality of life. Click here for a video link to hear directly from Shapiro on the importance of a quality workforce.
- Remove uncertainties! Corporations are sitting on billions of dollars in cash because Congress can’t make a decision. No surprise, it works this way at the local level too. Companies hate uncertainty and won’t invest in those environments. So do your best to eliminate it, whether it’s local politics, red tape, labor quality or threats to growth. Click here for a video link to hear more from Shapiro on uncertainties in economic development.
We’d love to hear from some of you, including both location advisors and economic developers. Any other advice you’d share about the site elimination process?
Some terrific advice and perspective from a top site selection firm!