Economic Development News
Bonnot Meets with Site Selectors in New York and New Jersey
Published: Friday, December 11, 2015
By: Missy Bonnot, Director, Economic Development
Every business knows that to generate sales you have to have good salesmen out marketing, doing business development and telling your story to increase your bottom line.
The same thing holds true for our community! Whether you are the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau pitching for an event to be held or a hotel to host a large conference in your meeting space, getting the word out about your assets is critical.
I recently traveled to the New York/New Jersey area to do just that, along with Missouri Partnership and other communities including Springfield and Branson and an economic development partner, Ameren Missouri.
Missouri Partnership works with state, regional and local economic development organizations to bring new business to the state of Missouri. The Partnership is a non-profit corporation supported by the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led organization that supports Missouri’s economic development efforts.
Missouri Partnership facilitates Marketing Trips throughout the year and communities participate in the trip. By partnering with Missouri Partnership and other communities, you can pool time and resources.
On this marketing trip we spent 3 days meeting with 22 consultants representing 14 site selection, real estate firms and companies. It was a very fast paced trip yet productive in that we met with each firm and talked about the benefits of locating to Missouri. I had the opportunity to talk about all the assets of Central Missouri and the CORE Region (Connecting Our Regional Economy is a 5 county economic development entity consisting of Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Cole and Cooper counties).
The purpose of the marketing trip was to get in front of key site location consultants in order to hear about things going on in their practice, share updates on Missouri, provide introductions to the three communities and simply build new and cement existing relationships.
Many of the firms were very familiar with Missouri and had firsthand experience doing business in our great state by working multiple projects over many, many years while other firms were not as familiar.
The benefit of meeting with site selection consultants is they represent many companies and at one time are working multiple projects. Our community might not be a good fit for a current project they are working but it might be for a future project. During the meetings we conveyed to them all the community assets including existing buildings, certified sites, available skilled workforce along with infrastructure including roads, rail and river.
When companies are considering a new location it works similar to a funnel. First they look at a multiple state region such as the Midwest. Next they narrow it down to a few states, then to a region or regions within a state then down to a few communities. During the whole process communities are just trying to stay in the game and not get eliminated. Again, this is why it is vitally important to market the region and not just your community.
Pooling resources and highlighting regional assets is what companies are looking for and having resources in the area within a short driving time they can tap into is the key to get them interested in our area.
“It was a pleasure to accompany such top professionals on this important outreach activity.” Mike Kearney, Director of Economic Development with Ameren Services stated. “I think it gave opportunity to communicate and reinforce Missouri's competitive business development strengths to key project drivers and demonstrates how Missouri partners work together to deliver value to business clients.”