News & Views

15 Ways to Adapt Your Economic Development Marketing Program During the Covid-19 Crisis

As we all work to navigate the fast-changing situation with Covid-19, there’s no doubt it is impacting the news cycle with 24/7 coverage of the health crisis and its crippling ripple effects around the world.

While most “normal” media relations are in flux, we wanted to offer 15 ways you can keep momentum with your marketing efforts to position your organization and community to be even stronger when we recover.

DIGITAL: DCI’s Digital team of more than a dozen experts in content, social media, analytics, websites, paid media and SEO are available to help your team deliver core business messages to your target audiences. Just a few ideas that we believe would work well at this time include:

  1. SEO Audit: Our Google-certified SEO lead could work with you to conduct an SEO audit to determine how to maximize your online presence to meet your objectives.
  2. Online Reputation Management: With SEO at its core, we could go one step further and conduct a more comprehensive online reputation audit, assessing how you rank for keywords and phrases relating to business, talent and overall community attractiveness using our search sentiment index. We’ll then provide actionable ideas for implementation.
  3. Paid Search: To leverage the “best bang for your buck” advertising channel, we can research, write ad set-up a paid search campaign designed to capture relevant, intent-focused traffic to your website around key business terms. From there, we’ll optimize and report on the success on an ongoing basis.
  4. Analytics Tune-Up: If you haven’t yet transitioned to online analytics, are struggling to make sense of what Google Analytics is telling you or just simply want an easier way to report on your monthly digital performance, our team can design a Google Data Studio analytics dashboard. We can help you summarize your website, paid media efforts and specific paid channels like search and social, with all data in real time.
  5. Awareness Advertising: As people hunker down, they’ll be streaming music and video more, be that on YouTube, Spotify or Netflix. DCI’s media partners have access to data sets across these channels and our team would be happy to help you create the necessary plan and implementation steps to take the next step.
  6. New Website: If advertising isn’t an option, how about moving forward on that long-awaited website update? DCI could scope out what this would look like and put the next several months to good use in setting you up for the rebound after the situation normalizes.

RESEARCH: DCI’s Research team has dozens of corporate and consumer audience lists to survey your target audiences on their perceptions (and misperceptions) of your location.

  1. C-Suite/Site Selector/Internal Stakeholder Perception Study: DCI can customize and execute surveys that will help you identify your location’s assets and challenges as they are understood by key decision makers such as corporate executives and the site selection community.
  2. Target Talent Market ID and Talent Perception Study: Availability and access to talent continues to be the top consideration for corporate executives when evaluating new locations. DCI has assisted a number of communities, regions and states identify those factors that positively and negatively impact potential talent’s perceptions of a community and their willingness to relocate through surveys of key feeder and “aspirational” markets.
  3. Prospect List Development: Is your marketing message reaching the right audience? Using a “predictive model” filter, DCI can develop a master database of qualified companies within your target sectors that are exhibiting changes that forecast a site location need and are displaying a strong match for your value proposition. This list will include all relevant company details along with the name and contact information (including email) of key executives.

CREATIVE: DCI’s Creative Services team brings branding and creative content expertise to every project on which they work.

  1. Collateral: From brochures to annual reports to highly visual PowerPoint templates, DCI can create or upgrade just about any form of collateral material you may need.
  2. Videos: We have an expert videographer on staff for longer form videos and we also have video creation software to create short videos that are great for social and posting on your website.
  3. Photography: Let’s face it, economic development photo libraries lack a certain sense of place. Now is a great time to refresh your content banks – we can help you reach out to partners to source imagery, identify gaps and send our in-house photographer to shoot on location or to oversee the editorial direction of a local photographer once travel bans are lifted.

CONTENT DEVELOPMENT: DCI’s stable of content writers and storytellers could be leveraged to you’re your story in a new and enticing way.

  1. Content Creation based on Search Analysis: Search engines drive 93% of all traffic and are responsible for 300% more traffic to websites than social media (source: They are a critical part of any website’s digital marketing ecosystem. Our team will use several tools to analyze what search terms are organically driving traffic to your site so we can improve and expand the resulting on-site content, taking full advantage of the added visibility. Separately, we’ll also look at search queries that could be driving traffic to your site but aren’t.
  1. Talent/Workforce Profiles: Perhaps now is the time to hand-select a few recent transplants who are living the dream in your location, and develop profiles for your website?
  2. Custom Content: Interested in building out a series of more in-depth articles relating to your success stories and/or economic momentum? DCI can interview locals (business or talent) and write custom content around themes important to your marketing efforts, which can be played back on your website, through organic social and even through paid channels (social media or native content on trade platforms).

It’s easy to feel paralyzed in times like these. But we believe being adaptive in the way we approach economic development marketing will be key in the months ahead.

If you’d like to discuss any of these ideas or how we might help, please contact me at [email protected] or 212-444-7012.  

Written By

Dariel Curren

Dariel is the Executive Vice President at Development Counsellors International and directs the Economic Development Division. Since joining DCI in 1995, she has worked for clients spanning the globe, including destinations from Maine to Miami and from New York to New Zealand.

More Articles by Dariel Curren

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