10 Takeaways from the 10th edition of Winning Strategies

September 20, 2023

In 1996, American citizens were filling up their Ford Taurus’s for $1.23/gallon, watching the sci-fi hit Independence Day and getting a copy of the first edition of DCI’s Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing.

A lot has changed in the past 26 years, but the exclusive insight shared by C-suite executives and site selectors on what is working—and what isn’t— in the place marketing industry remains the same.

The last time this report was released in 2020, the future looked uncertain. We were in the midst of a global pandemic, companies were dipping their toes into the world of remote work and the presidential campaign caused tension throughout the already unsettled nation. Three years later, the pandemic is in our rearview mirror but the challenges that arose during that time are here to stay.

As we celebrate 10 editions of our flagship report, we wanted to share 10 takeaways from the new research. Download the full report for the full picture:

1. The enduring role of economic development relationships

In economic development, relationships remain paramount. Conversations with industry peers remain the primary source of regional insights.

2. Social media’s growing influence

In 2011, social media had no impact on place perceptions. Ten years later, we now see it as a significant factor in shaping how people view a region’s business climate.


3. Broadcast on the rise, business travel declining

More respondents now find TV and radio news more impactful on their place perceptions, with a significant increase since 2017. This trend, which started in 2020, appears to persist. On the flip side, the importance of business travel in shaping perceptions has been steadily declining since 1996.


4. News source rankings shift

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Fox News now top the list for executives and their advisors, marking a change from previous years in terms of what media outlets are cited as most influential as sources of information about a location’s business climate.


5. Digital front door is crucial

Internet/website presence remains the top-rated marketing technique. An overwhelming 73 percent of respondents plan to visit an economic development organization’s website during their next site search.


6. Shift in digital priorities

Workforce statistics now top the list of useful features on an EDO’s website. Location advisors have consistently favored staff contact and incentive information since 2008, while corporate executives value workforce statistics and demographics.


7. Robust project outlook

More than half (56 percent) of corporate executives plan location decisions within 24 months, with 66 percent opting for third-party support. Site selection consultants remain the top choice, with an increasing preference.


8. The C-suite leads

Company’s top executives, including chairman/CEO/president, take charge of location decisions, with the COO closely behind.


9. Texas dominates…again

Texas, chosen for the ninth time, remains the top state for a favorable business climate.


10. The future of site selection

Executives and advisors foresee an evolving landscape, with generative AI expected to influence location decisions. However, current risks and uncertainties prevent its trusted use.


For questions about our Winning Strategies report, please reach out to [email protected].  

Written by

Robyn Domber

Senior Vice President, Research