If you want expert insight into which marketing tactics will land you on a site selector’s radar, talk to Kate McEnroe, Principal, Kate McEnroe Consulting. At Consultant Connect’s recent Secrets of Site Selection annual conference in Dallas, Kate broke down which marketing practices you should keep in your arsenal and which you can shed this spring.
Kate is a huge proponent of focusing your marketing efforts on getting to know the individual consultant. This is a mobile industry, so investing in building one-on-one relationships vs. targeting specific firms is worthwhile. And the goal is to get information to the site selectors before a project is at stake. Here are some of Kate’s tips to keep in mind:
Be inspiring and stand out. If you want to have any shot at being unique, you can’t just copy what other economic development groups are doing—you’ll never be remembered. Inspiration should come from looking at creative campaigns outside the industry. And don’t think that telling consultants what your target industries are is inspiring… everybody has the same ones! Find your niche.
Tell me something I don’t know. Share news that indicates momentum or that is different than what may be expected from your community. Consider the “I’ve heard this before” test. Everybody is a “center” and “hot spot” for something. Narrow in on what your specialty is. Also, don’t shy away from sharing areas where you’re vulnerable—yes, it’s uncomfortable to address potential weaknesses, but it ultimately adds value.
Include the right information on your website. Listing your largest employers as the government, hospital and school is not helpful. Consultants want details on what companies are in your region, what their operations entail and how long the company has been operating in the community. Testimonials with real metrics are also extremely important. For example: “We came here needing 100 welders and were able to find 150 qualified employees from state technical schools in just one year.” Avoid cliché testimonials such as: “We love it here and you will too.” Also, an incentives calculator on your site is a plus.
Cut the promotional social media content. Sending promotional Tweets is not an effective social media strategy; it’s just advertising through a different channel and will not impress a consultant. Instead, build an online community that is posting quality content about your city, state or region, and direct us to those conversations.Something else that’s not effective: randomly trying to connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn; site selectors will not be your “friend” or connection if we don’t know you.
Get to know us personally. When considering road shows or missions, target consultant-rich geographies like Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, New York and even Greenville. Office meetings, group meetings and luncheons work really well. If you happen to be in town during a trade show week, realize that we receive a lot of meeting requests. These weeks are difficult and are probably not your best bet.
Sporting events are losing appeal. While some may have a different opinion, inviting consultants to sporting events is going “out of style.” Well-structured familiarization tours are really much more valuable in terms of showing off your community, region or state. If you are hosting a FAM tour, give us at least six weeks advance notice. And consider allowing spouses to attend – you might get better attendance.
Beware of the swag. Everyone likes presents but in the case of site selectors, the last thing we want is more mugs, hand sanitizers, umbrellas or catalogues with your logos on it. And please don’t mail us any print materials. You certainly don’t have to send anything, but if you do, leverage local products and make it memorable!
So stay competitive and fresh this spring by anticipating tough questions, being creative, submitting information before a project begins and ditching the tacky swag. Utilize Kate’s tips to step up your game and snag the next big project!
Want to know more about building relationships with site selectors? Check out these blog posts:
|Why Relationships Matter: 4 Key Takeaways from Andy Shapiro||Negotiating and Showcasing Incentives: 4 Tips from the Site Selectors Guild||8 Tips for a Memorable Site Selector FAM Tour|