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Marketing with Data AND Storytelling

Marketing with Data AND Storytelling Main Photo

10 Aug 2020

Blog, News

Everyone knows that data and hard numbers are important when it comes to closing a deal. We’re sure that you use these when promoting your community or meeting with site selectors. However, are you also sharing stories? Storytelling can be just as important when it comes to showing all that your community has to offer.

Let’s examine what you could and should be doing to strengthen your community even more.

#1 You shouldn’t have to be a marketer.

As an economic development specialist, we know you wear many hats! The most important hat you wear is the leader. Building awareness and getting people to talk about your community is not easy, and anyone who says differently hasn’t successfully marketed a community. We understand how it takes hours and hours of your time to plan, execute, and launch brand ideas and campaigns. Once you’ve got a campaign running, the work isn't done. Then, you have to test, revise, relaunch, and constantly be watching social media. It’s not easy.

But like we said before, you are a great leader and leaders know how to delegate roles to experts to help reach goals and accomplish projects. So, the first step to telling your community story better is to seek those experts who have already been able to market a community successfully. Remember, asking questions and for advice is always free!

#2 Trying to attract the wrong audience

Let’s start here - everyone is not the “right” audience. Your community has unique assets and resources that may be of interest to specific companies. To attract them, you need to identify exactly who they are and what industry is best supported by your community. In our world of social media, people have learned the most important skill to survive - how to ignore you.

A large percentage of people who see your message will actually ignore it. All companies are fighting in a highly competitive market so unless there is a compelling reason to move, they simply aren’t interested in relocating. What is something that could convince them? Profit. What companies or types of companies could make more profit by moving to your community? Answer that and you will know what audience to pursue.

#3 Storytelling

Seth Godin, marketing genius, has a TED talk, “How To Get Your Ideas to Spread.” In his talk, he explains that it’s not whether an idea is any good that makes it marketable, but instead whether or not the idea is remarkable. In other words, if you want your community to get noticed, find a remarkable way to tell your community story.

Getting the attention of your target audience takes work. Everyone is bombarded with messages every single minute of every single day and attention spans are shrinking. So, if someone chooses to interact with your organization, the quality needs to be top of the line. Any impressions you leave will need to stick with them for a while. We know you love your community, but the trick is to make your audience love your community.

#4 Spreading Awareness

Bravo! Good for you! You spent some time putting together a compelling story that captures the attention of readers. Now you have to spread the idea. *Crickets.* There is no easy way to say this - that was the easy work and now you’ll need people backing you up. It’s not possible to effectively get your idea out all by yourself. You need ambassadors and a diverse group who can share and reshare your story. In fact, we have seen tremendous results with targeted industry campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn. Having a targeted approach will get you introduced into a network where you can start building relationships and business opportunities.

#5 Integrating Data

Like we’ve covered, your community has a powerful story to tell. If you look into your community’s demographics, the story should present itself. Now, use your data and create infographics to visually draw the interest of your audience. Do testing to see what your audience engages with most.

Remember, successful companies want to remove uncertainty and maximize profits. By using your data and building stories, you can help executives reduce uncertainty and find ways to reduce their costs by expanding or relocating to your community. This type of storytelling will catch the attention of business leaders who love their data for finding opportunities. Help them with that step.

#6 It's Not About You

Way back in 1543, Copernicus published his theory stating the sun was at the center of the universe, thus removing us from the center. This still applies today - “We, us, & I” are not important when telling your story. In fact, believe it or not, your audience doesn’t really care about your community. What? You say.

Allow us to explain. When we read stories, we naturally put ourselves into the story. Recall the last movie you watched - did you imagine yourself as the hero that saved the world or solved the problem? Or have you watched a romance story and imagined finding the same love. It’s just what we do.

So, when you are telling your community stories, tell them in a way that brings the audience into the community. Help them to imagine themselves interacting with community members and living there. Let them imagine sending their kids to school in your community and shopping downtown. Make your stories less about your community and more about how the audience can enjoy it.


Lastly, explore the best way to build an effective awareness campaign for your community to see what other successful communities are doing. Look for success and then find a way to adapt the strategies to your community.


Thinking you might need some help? Contact us to see what our team can do for you so that you can focus on what you do best.

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