Community Marketing: Three Moments of Truth
Application of the model below in economic development can help communities be more competitive.
One of the great mysteries to economic development professionals is exactly how private sector business leaders decide where to locate operations. Often it is viewed as simply a comparison of relevant statistics for possible location choices. The location with the best scores wins. Unfortunately it isn't that simple, and it certainly isn't that logical. Economic development professionals need to dig deeper into corporate decision making processes if they want their location to have an advantage in attracting capital investment.
Based on my experience as private sector executive and then CEO of a not-for-profit economic development organization, I came to realize capital investment decisions can be viewed as winning three specific moments of truth. If a location can win each moment, then the community will win more capital investment decisions. Economic development professionals should evaluate their ability to win each moment. My gut suggests most communities will fall short if their leaders are intellectually honest with themselves.
Let's look more closely at the model.
The First Moment is winning the opportunity to compete. Success looks like a community making the short list for due diligence review. The Second moment is winning the competition. This moment is all about creating a compelling win:win proposition as an RFP response. Key is to think partnership. The Third Moment is winning the repeat investment. This is a moment where the authenticity of the community's brand promise needs to be consistently realized.
To practically apply the Three Moments of Truth model, create a matrix and categorize your communication tactics by each Moment. For example, is the strategic goal of your push email effort to generate awareness among a broad target audience (First Moment), provide information about your community to interested capital investors (Second Moment), or strengthen loyalty by reinforcing the benefits of doing business in your community (Third Moment). Answer the question for each of your communication tactics. In most cases you will find the answers are challenging and the resultant clarity will create a shift in strategy.
Most communities will find they are under invested in all Three Moments because resources are spread too thin. In that case, the solution is to either increase resources allocated to the communication effort, find cost efficiencies through participation in state or regional initiatives in the First Moment, or strategically focus on winning the Second Moment through a highly targeted (less costly) sales plan. The choice depends on the individual circumstances of the community's economic situation.
After categorizing the tactics, the key questions to ask are
1) Is the effort sufficient to win? and
2) Is the effort optimized to be effective in driving the desired behavior?
If the answer is no to either question, then the plan needs to be revised.
Follow the Three Moments of Truth model and you will see a dramatic increase in the number of capital investment deals signed for your community.