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Five Buzzwords to Retire From Your Economic Development Vocabulary



As is true in any industry, the typical jargon of economic development can get old. The places represented by economic development organizations, governments and marketers are diverse and great in number—the words that we use to describe them should be too.

In no particular order, here are some tired buzzwords and phrases that should leave the economic development lexicon.

  • “Strategic Location” – While location certainly plays a key role in the site selection process, saying that your particular location is “strategic” no longer bears weight. As an alternative, put your location into a context that those who aren’t familiar with it will understand. For instance, citing your location as “just a 20-minute drive from Washington, D.C.” offers a better perspective.
  • “Unique” – While each economic development organization (EDO) has a distinct story to tell, describing a place as “unique” has become meaningless. Instead of saying that your location is unique, show it! Get specific about what your location really has to offer that makes it stand out from its competitors.
  • “Open for Business” – All EDOs aim to attract new business to their area, so touting your location in this way does not make it stand out. Try highlighting the incentives, programs and resources available to companies relocating or expanding to your region.
  • “Hub” – It seems that each day a new place proclaims itself as a “hub” of some sort—whether it’s a “technology hub” or “startup hub.” While it may seem impressive, this description does not provide real detail into the industry or available company openings in your market. Being specific is always best—hard facts about the industries you’d like to promote will make more of an impression.
  • “Opportunities” – It’s easy to say that your location offers opportunities for businesses and residents, but much like the phrase “open for business,” using “opportunities” is too vague to provide outsiders with an idea of what prospects are actually available. It is best to cite the advantages already available to existing businesses and residents.

These are just a few of many buzzwords that can and should be avoided by citing specific examples and details from your area. Do you have others to add? Share your thoughts with us!

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