Inward Investment: Is Your Location Data Up to Date? (And Why It Really Should Be...)

Sunday 7 January 2018
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Inward investment marketing is all about communicating data - facts and statistics - about your location to targeted investing companies, with the aim of attracting them to you. But - you may have noticed that out-of-date data is a common feature of inward investment marketing content. So, here are six key points to consider when updating your location data, starting with why it's so important to keep it current in the first place...

1. Up to date location data is essential, not optional

If you were running a business, would you make a major investment decision on the basis of out-of-date information? Hopefully not. So, if that's what companies find on your inward investment agency or site marketing websites, they're likely to look elsewhere for information they can rely on. For inward investment marketers, that's a missed opportunity to engage investing companies, and to highlight the benefits that make your location stand out from the competition.

2. If the budget's tight, focus on the most important data

A tight budget is often cited as a reason for not updating inward investment marketing data. However, with effective prioritisation, key data can be refreshed affordably. For example, labour is the biggest cost category in many investment projects, and not finding the right people with the right skills is likely to be a significant risk. Up-to-date labour force data and statistics are therefore essential - without them, it's possible that your location or site won't even be considered. So, if the budget's tight, prioritise the data essentials, relating to key factors including labour, property and connectivity.

3. Schedule updates for your key location statistics

Investing businesses love statistics - they're objective, enable comparisons between locations and can often be obtained from known and trusted sources. And fortunately, governments and international organisations typically update published statistics on a regular basis (e.g. annually). That means that once you've identifed the sources and metrics of most value to your target audiences, and created templates accordingly for your marketing materials, keeping them up to date doesn't have to be an impossibly time-consuming or expensive task.

4. But data's about facts, not just statistics...

Yes, numbers are important, but they're not the whole story. If your information about local universities, training courses or companies isn't up to date, it can mean a big blow to your credibility. Business decision makers are experts in their sectors so if, for example, you're talking about a company that's changed its name or, worse, no longer exists, you won't look like the well-informed local partner they're looking for. So, keeping data up to date means all your messages, not just the statistics.

5. make sure your materials are easy and affordable to update...

The fundamental importance of up-to-date facts and statistics should influence the formats you choose for your marketing content. To state the obvious, online and electronic content (e.g. your website) is the most flexible and easy to update. Printed materials are more of a problem, but efficiences can be made by slimming down brand and design-focused brochures and complementing them with simpler, more easily refreshed location data sheets. After all,while your location brand is important, we would argue that high-quality location data is more important to investing businesses.

6. Use your data to tell a coherent story...

The reason it's so important for you to be the source of high-quality, up-to-date location data is that you get to incorporate them into positive messages about your business location. These are your value propositions, which explain how the data you're presenting mean more value for investing businesses, and can help to attract them to you.

Nick Smillie
MD, Clarity Business Strategies Ltd.

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