I’ll let you in on a little secret. I don’t consider myself a ‘marketer’. Yes, I have worked with a couple of dozen economic develpment agencies on ‘marketing’ their communities, but I am not schooled in the finer points of marketing.
However, this kind of thing doesn’t make much sense to me.
The Annapolis Digby Economic Development Agency wants to bring more business to its corner of Nova Scotia. They’ve tapped the Halifax-based Extreme Group to get it done. The development agency is less than a year old and has a marketing budget of less than $100,000. Given that it wants to create a global brand to attract international business, Extreme has its work cut out for it. Kathleen Shea, marketing officer for Annapolis Digby EDA, says she knows her group is asking a lot of Extreme. “But we’re really confident they’re going to come back to us with branding and a marketing plan that will set us apart not only from our neighbours in the province, but within Canada.”
I don’t know much about marketing but it seems to me that it makes no sense to have a branding and marketing plant that ‘sets us apart’ from competition across Canada. We are not selling Coke here. Or cars. Or watches. There may be, just may be, a few dozen companies in the world that would be interested in setting up in Digby – and with a market that niched, why would you spend time and money on some grand scheme? I would spend that $100k trying to go right at the couple of dozen firms and let the brand follow. After attracting a few firm, the ‘brand’ will come along.
Again, as an Ignorant Amos about this stuff, don’t put too much stock in it.
My advice to Digby? Use that money to:
Find expatriates that are now on the executive of large firms and try and leverage those relationships.
Partner up with larger development groups and the province. If they are targeting similar sectors, work together.
Be very targeted. What’s the Digby niche? If it can be tightly defined, go directly to firms in that space that are in expansion mode. Pick up the telephone (by the way, this is an all but lost skill in most of the economic development organizations around), cajole your way in. Have a conversation.