I love teaching. I love inquisitive minds. I love hard questions. I love to see the light bulb go off. All of these things happened in my Business Retention and Expansion class at UNC Chapel Hill a couple of weeks ago. I have had the pleasure of being a guest lecturer on BRE in the Basic Economic Development Course for many years. We discussed a lot of best practices but one got an “a ha” moment from several students – lead generation in BRE.
Economic developers engage lead generation firms because they have developed sophisticated predictive models that can identify companies poised for expansion. The models are based on growth trends, capital movement, management changes, overall economic trends and a host of top-secret data points. This information helps us identify targets for recruitment. Why not use the same predictive modeling technology to identify your existing businesses that are poised for expansion?
Applied Marketing is one firm that has pioneered this strategy. Director of Business Targeting Jeff Vedders said, “While it is important for communities to have a BRE program and to develop relationships with their local employers, usually company decisions regarding expansion and consolidation occur at the headquarters level. Thus, it is vital that communities identify the corporate family relationships between local branches and headquarters operations. Relationships should not only be developed and nurtured at the local level, but at the corporate level as well.” The time spent developing the relationships may be the difference between a branch operation closing and an expansion.
For most communities it is hard to stay on top of every single company. An internal lead generation program can be a complement to your local research. If up to 70% of new investment and new jobs come from existing businesses, why not use the latest and greatest data mining and predictive modeling technologies to find the opportunities? Think outside the BRE box. Turn your recruitment strategy toward home.
For more information you can contact us or Jeff Vedders at [email protected].