Lessons Learned: Economic Development Marketing

OK, here is my goal. Share some of the marketing insights I've learned while working with economic development organizations across North Carolina and the Southeastern US. The key word there is "goal." As with all good plans, it's really about the execution. Fingers crossed, here goes...

For the sake of our qualifications, Liaison Design Group has worked with close to 50 economic development organizations (EDOs, cities, counties, regions, utilities, etc.) on a wide range of marketing efforts. From developing strategic plans to writing and designing new collateral—and all points in between—we've not seen it all, but we've seen a lot. The thing I'm most proud of? We still count most of these groups as active clients.

Rather than giving away all my hard-earned insights in one blog post, I will create a series of posts around this subject. So, for this first post I'll start with something simple in concept but difficult in practice. Be consistent.

Shocking right? A marketing manual that falls out of a Cracker Jack box will tell you to be consistent. But have you looked around? Especially at small organizations? More often than not their marketing materials are anything but consistent. Yet it's these small organizations that have the most to gain from consistency. And here is a bonus lesson for this first post. Most small organizations don't have massive marketing budgets. I know, Captain Obvious, right? But seriously, there is absolutely no way small companies or economic development groups can afford the kind of brand awareness campaigns that corporations like Microsoft, Coke, or Toyota can. So for these groups, sharing their message in a consistent manner (similar tone, similar design scheme, similar everything) is the best way to get people to finally notice what you're saying.

And guess what? When you're just about sick of saying everything the same darn way each and every time, and you're ready to scrap it all—THAT'S when people are just starting to notice. So don't even think about a change yet! Stick to it. Be consistent and get noticed!