by Dennis Burnside

Before I joined Whittaker Associates, I spent over 25 years in the commercial real estate industry. During that time I was lucky enough to represent some of the most sophisticated and successful real estate investors and developers in the country. Many are household names in the industry, while some are a bit more obscure.

Whether the real estate company I represented was large or small, national or local, with 10 or 100 years in the business, the most successful of the industry had one fundamental and common approach: a well thought-out marketing strategy and a strong commitment to executing the plan over a period of time.

Since joining Whittaker Associates, I have met many economic development professionals and notice the same element in the most successful groups: like those ultra-astute real estate developers, successful communities and economic development organizations approach the business of retention and attraction with the same strategic and committed philosophy. They are careful to establish and maintain a creative, clear, and consistent message that creates easy-to-remember branding.

Here at Whittaker Associates we are in the process of updating and rethinking our approach to marketing ourselves. I thought it might be instructive to share our outline for change with our readers. An effective marketing strategy contains many of the same elements, whether you are in economic development, real estate, or business intelligence consulting.

We’re thinking hard about our

1. Vision – the fundamental message we want to articulate

2. Brand – how we want the audience to describe us

3. Situation Analysis – our current conditions, our market analysis, historical factors, our competitive analysis, and our microenvironment

4. Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities – both internal and external

5. Marketing Strategy – who is our target (to attract and retain), what are our tactics, what do we need in the way of market research

6. Action Items – what are our milestones, team structure, and team roles

7. Budget – what does a ROI analysis reveal

8. Communication – what is our reporting structure, how do we review performance

9. Contingency Planning – how do we plan for the unexpected

If any of these points seem worth addressing in your marketing strategy, feel free to adapt them. Taking the time to establish or reinvent your strategy is a strategic decision in itself, and is bound to strengthen your approach to whatever business you pursue. If Whittaker Associates can provide help in this area, contact us – we want you to have a marketing strategy that will focus your organization and help you succeed.