By Pete Julius

In conjunction with IEDC, on January 8, 2003 we sent out a preliminary survey for a project that we are jointly working on to identify the best marketing practices within economic development.  A few weeks ago at the IEDC Leadership Conference in St. Petersburg Dean Whittaker and I presented the results of the survey.  For those not familiar with this project, the purpose of our project is to identify the best practices within economic development marketing that can be used as benchmarks for evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of individual marketing programs.  It is a research project that will involve many steps.  The survey and presentation completed in January is just the beginning.  This article will provide you with an overview of the results and discuss the next steps in this project.

In order to resolve the purpose of this project, this project will involve engaging economic developers to participate in this project and share their knowledge and experiences.  The objective of this preliminary survey was designed to ask a series of questions that would help to generate awareness, initiate collaboration, spark interest and engage practitioners.  The questions asked in the survey are as follows.

  1.  What is the population served by your organization?
  2. What is the size of your marketing budget?
  3. What percentage of your marketing resources does your organization allocate to the following tactics?
  4. What marketing tactics have provided you with the greatest and worst results?
  5. What aspects of your marketing strategy have been your strengths and what have been weaknesses?
  6. How do you measure the results of your marketing efforts?
  7. In your area, what would you estimate the cost to be to generate a qualified lead (a company that is looking to relocate and/or expand in the near future)?
  8. What marketing tactics do you plan to implement in the future?
  9. Do you have any comments or additional thoughts on economic development marketing?

These questions were derived through collaboration with several economic development practitioners, including a discussion group that was held at the 2003 IEDC Annual Conference in Cincinnati.  Based upon our conversations, these were the questions that were more frequently discussed.  We viewed it as a place to start.  The results of the survey and the PowerPoint slides used in the Leadership Conference presentation can be viewed by clicking on the survey results link at the bottom of the page.

Our next steps will involve holding a series of focus groups over the next several months.  If you wish to participate, then please contact Pete Julius at or call 616-396-4500.  We will then prepare another survey that will be distributed at the end of May/early June of this year.  Those results will then be revealed at the 2004 Annual Conference in St. Louis.  Your participation is strongly encouraged.