3 Key Insights from 3 Years of Inward Investment Marketing...

Thursday 21 May 2015
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It's been three fascinating years since we established Clarity specifically to focus on Inward Investment Marketing. So what have we learned during that time? And what insights can we offer about Inward Investment Marketing in 2015?

Here are three key insights from our three years specialising in Inward Investment Marketing:

1. 'Solutions Marketing' is the Way Forward

Over the last few years, many leading businesses have invested in blogs that aim to 'inform' and 'solve customers' problems' rather than 'sell' in the traditional way. It's an effective approach because it focuses on the needs of the customer, builds trust and highlights expertise as a basis for winning sales. Exemplary 'business-to-business' blogs include Caterpillar (construction equipment) and JLL (property).

We've found that inward investment agencies can host and deliver excellent, solutions-focused blogs that address the 'location choice drivers' of expanding businesses, especially when they team up with expert guest contributors from regional partner organisations and companies. The benefits include building the region's online profile significantly (working with partners creates scale and more informative content) and nurturing strong, on-going relationships with expanding businesses. We think more investment agencies and regional partnerships should seriously consider this approach.

2. It's All About the Data (and How it's Presented) 

More than ever before, businesses make investment decisions on the basis of reliable data - most obviously relating to costs - so communicating location data clearly and accessibly should be at the heart of effective Inward Investment Marketing. That's the rationale behind the ever-growing popularity of infographics and data visualisation.

Unfortunately, most of the 'infographics' we see fail to communicate the data (i.e. the numbers) clearly, or state where the data came from, thereby being of little or no use to expanding businesses. Inward investment marketers should therefore be wary of the attractive but useless infographic.

On the other hand, well implemented (i.e. accurate, clear, source-referenced) infographics can enable investment agencies to communicate powerful location data in a highly effective way. As a business, we're increasingly focused on developing interactive infographics driven by live data feeds (i.e. database-linked). The objective has to be more informative and valuable inward investment marketing content that communicates reliable location data in a way that's easy to consume, easy to update and great to look at at the same time.

3. Inward Investment Marketers Need to Keep Moving with the Times...

The world of marketing has moved extremely quickly over the last three years, sometimes making it difficult to keep up. What's certain is that the internet has driven the biggest changes, and that inward investment marketers need to keep moving with the times.

To cite just a couple of examples:

  • Online Content Marketing (blogging) requires a new kind of solutions-driven content - it's not enough just to post old-style news press releases (written for editors not readers) to your blog.
  • Social media is now a serious marketing tool, as increasing numbers of business decision makers engage on platforms such as LinkedIn. Inward investment marketers need to get social.

In Summary...

The priorities for inward investment marketers in 2015 should be to move from traditional 'sales' and 'PR' messages to location 'solutions marketing', underpinned by a higher quality of data that investors can confidently incorporate into location evaluations. And they need to project these more robust messages to prospective investors and intermediaries via up-to-date, online channels and networks. Agencies that do these things will be in a position to inform and influence business location decisions more than ever before, thereby delivering real added value for their locations.

We could go on, but 'Four Key Insights for Three Years' wouldn't have worked so well. So all that's left for us to say is Thank You to all the clients and collaborators we've had the pleasure of working with since 2012.

Nick Smillie
MD, Clarity Business Strategies Ltd.

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