Site selector marketing makes up a significant part of our annual program.
You might be wondering, "What is a site selector and why does EDCUtah market to them?" Site selectors play an important role in the economic development eco-system as they advise their corporate clients on where to scale up or consolidate corporate operations and functions. While each site selector is different, they generally help their clients sort through questions on tax, workforce expertise, market/sector density, real estate, proximity to markets, supply chains, customers, logistics, and “place.” We actively market to site selectors so they understand the value proposition our state and our partners have to offer.
Our organization hosts an important event every year anchored around the Sundance Film Festival. We invite a group of site selectors to enjoy a few films and to visit with some of our partner organizations. Our goal is for our site selector guests to leave Utah with a better understanding of the business assets within our community so they can advise a client on whether Utah will be a good fit.
This year we hosted 4 site selectors from all across the country who represent clients in a diverse set of industries. Our guests hailed from N.Y.C., Washington, D.C., Omaha, NE, and Chicago, Il. Their clients operate in the financial services, fintech, industrial, and shared services sectors. Our guests met with community, government, and business leaders, from the Governor, to County Commissioners, Mayors, CEOs, advocates, arts leaders, and small business owners.
Following the visit, we had a debrief with our guests to ask them what stood out about visiting Utah. I summarize my notes below:
- While the data around this market is great, nothing compares to seeing it first-hand;
- Airport re-build — this is huge and we need to market the importance of it more aggressively;
- Tolerance/openness — Thanks to our culture and the LDS mission program Utah has created a unique story of diversity of thought that is not easily revealed through numbers;
- Sense of “place” — we should compete well on “place" given the uniqueness of our market’s affordability, proximity to recreation assets, quality of workforce;
- Cooperation between the public and private sectors sets us apart — it's unique that we don’t just give this lip service to P3s, but that we back it up through financial partnerships;
- The sense of community is strong in Utah;
- We need to be better about bragging/telling our story! This does not come naturally to us but we need to do it better.
I appreciated the candor of our guests and was so heartened by their positive perceptions of our state.
These events have a lot of moving parts and are only successful with the support of our partners and through the dedication of our internal team. A sincere THANK YOU to our participating partners and the EDCUtah team for making this year’s event a success. A very special thank you to Taylor from EDCUtah is in order. Thank you for ensuring that this event was a home run!