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Creating an Effective Marketing Strategy for Your Economic Development Organization

illustration of city growth

With an effective marketing strategy, your Economic Development Organization can increase investment, attract and retain businesses, spur job creation, and improve the quality of life in your community. 

Creating an effective marketing strategy can seem daunting, but a basic plan can be easily adapted to your specific needs. Here is an example strategy EDSuite has helped many of our clients apply as they develop their unique plans:

1.  Define Your Marketing Objectives

The first step in creating a strategic marketing plan is to define your goals and objectives. It is helpful to define your marketing objectives in a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) format. Start by asking yourself what you would like to achieve through your marketing efforts:

  • Do I want to increase awareness of my community among businesses?

  • Attract new businesses to relocate to my community or retain existing businesses?

  • Am I looking to increase investment?

  • Do I want to spur job creation?

  • Do I want to improve my community’s quality of life?

An Example SMART Goal

"We want to bring 1,000 new jobs to our area in the next 2 years via existing and new manufacturing businesses."

Once you have defined your objectives, you can turn your focus on the message.

2.  Identify Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience will eliminate the guesswork of who you’re trying to attract. If your EDO already has defined target industries, you can use this information to kickstart the development of your target audience. So where do we begin? 

Developing buyer personas can be extremely helpful. A buyer persona is a research-based representation of your ideal customer. Here are a few ways to develop this persona:

  • Start with some research. Examine your existing clients and who you would like to work with in the future. You can even find data through your web analytics!

  • Organize your data and segment your buyer personas.

  • Create a profile for your buyer personas and ask what role they play, what their objectives are, and what their challenges are.

Once you have researched and developed your target audiences, you can begin developing relevant and engaging messaging that will resonate with them.

3.  Create Effective Messaging and Creative Content

Creating messaging and creative content that resonates and appeals to your target audience requires some research and creativity. It’s important to create strong and meaningful content that your prospects can relate to. Be sure to include eye-catching visuals, including photography, video, and graphics. By combining your research, value proposition, and community’s culture and values into your marketing, you will be able to create effective and meaningful content that connects with your prospects.


  • What kind of messaging and creative content is your competition using?

  • What are the upcoming content trends for the media types you want to use?

  • What makes your organization unique?

  • How can you effectively communicate your message with your target audience?

Your messaging and creative can be optimized on any number of channels, including web, digital, videos, social media, print, and more! 

Value Proposition

Consider the challenges your prospects are facing and showcase your EDO and community as a solution to those challenges.

Culture and Values

Ensure your community’s unique culture and values are clearly communicated through your messaging and content.

4.  Promote Your Messaging on a Variety of Channels

Now it’s time to get the word out! There are a lot of different channels you can use to promote your messaging, including paid advertising, social media, email marketing, public relations, events, and more. The key is to find the media channels that work best for reaching your target audiences and to promote your message within those channels. Having identified a clear understanding of your target audience, you’ll now be able to find them and deliver your message efficiently.

Developing a strategic marketing plan may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! By following these steps, you can create a plan that will help your EDO better achieve its goals. 

Our worksheet, Have You Mastered Your City Story?, will help you begin the process by assessing your current marketing efforts and their effectiveness. 

And don’t forget, EDSuite is here to help you along the way! With over 28 years of experience in marketing, we can provide a full-service solution that includes:

  • Marketing Strategy

  • Public Relations

  • Websites

  • Advertising

  • Market Research

  • And More!

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