5 Economic Development Tools That Make Market Research Easier
This is a guest post by MDB Insight.
Economic Developers and Township readers of the blog may be familiar with Tangible Words’ tools for tracking and analysing marketing data, which make it easier for development offices to manage their data and better understand and follow up with their leads.
These data solutions extend beyond marketing — there are tools designed to make economic development officers (EDOs) and municipal administrators lives easier. At MDB Insight, we’ve consulted with small and large municipalities across Canada and these are the 5 economic development tools we’ve created to help EDOs collect data and better understand their communities.
Get Better Data with these Municipal & Economic Development Tools
1. Citizen Satisfaction IQTM
Quantifying how satisfied residents are with local services and programs is a necessary metric for municipal decision makers. The traditional survey process is lengthy, and can be annoying to residents. And opt-in surveys are often used which can lead to biased responses that don’t accurately reflect community priorities.
Citizen Satisfaction IQ, on the other hand, uses short, targeted, scientific surveys to help determine the issues that are truly important to a representative segment of the community rather than just a select few. Data collected using Citizen Satisfaction IQ helps municipalities rank issues and reveal citizens’ high priority areas so that at the end of polling they can align their strategies with what residents want most for their community.
Since the results of Citizenship Satisfaction IQ are quantitative, they can be used to create key performance indicators (KPIs) for setting and assessing municipal goals and benchmarks for success over the next few years.
2. Tax Sensitivity CalculatorTM
There’s nothing worse than releasing the annual budget to find your township criticizing some of the programs you’ve championed — and that you thought residents wanted — as a waste of money. While identifying what programs are priorities to the community is essential, it’s also important to determine the amount taxpayers are willing to spend to fund these initiatives.
The Tax Sensitivity Calculator is an interactive survey that engages citizens in the budgeting process: it allows them to contribute to the budget conversation by providing insight into what residents are willing to pay for particular services. This helps EDOs find the overlap between what their residents want and what they’re willing to pay for. By implementing more evidence-based budgeting, decision makers can pursue programs and service developments that benefit the community well into the future.
Your township holds a unique collection of markets, festivals or signature events that beautifully demonstrate your community’s culture. As an EDO or tourism expert, you’re aware of what’s going on, but both citizens and potential visitors may be struggling to keep track of what’s happening in your community, and are missing out on myriad events your residential area has to offer.
PlaceVantage consolidates information on all of the cultural events going on in your region and communicates it via an online, interactive portal. With PlaceVantage, visitors and citizens won’t need to visit different websites to learn about events. It also helps event and activity planners to better coordinate with each other and to prevent scheduling conflicts around similar events.
4. Triage BR+ETM
Setting up a Business Retention and Expansion Program (BR&E) requires a thorough understanding of your local business ecosystem — and determining the best approach can be overwhelming.
Our Triage BR+E solution is inspired by triage in healthcare, where healthcare workers prioritize patients based on the seriousness of their condition in emergency situations. Adapting this to businesses, Triage BR+E provides a unique understanding of local business priorities and what they need from the community to support their growth (or prevent their failure).
Triage BR+E can be completed in weeks — not months — so strategies and action plans are informed by recent, relevant data. Business issues are flagged in real-time, so EDOs can provide assistance directly after interviewing.
5. Regional Labour Demand and Supply Reporting SystemsTM
Hopefully, businesses in your region are using social media for recruitment and are tracking their success through analytics. For example, Hubspot provides software that allows you to perform unique analysis. In addition to tracking social media success Hubspot software can also track that success in the context of larger goals, such as increased awareness and higher quality leads.
Alysha Dominico, Co-Founder & COO of Tangible Words explains, “Social media is only great if it helps you achieve your larger strategic objectives.” (You can see how Tangible Words helps clients achieve their business objectives here.).
But while social media can certainly help with attracting talent and investors, it cannot give you a comprehensive overview of the job market. Having an overview of your job market in real time, however, is critical to keeping your community competitive — and there is an increasing desire from site selectors, among others, to have this data accessible via an online tool.
And that’s exactly what our economic development tools aims to do. Developed in partnership with Vicinity Jobs Inc., quality assured systems gather ongoing information about job postings and applications across various online platforms, including employer websites, job boards, and online newspapers. But as this information is quality assured, inaccurate or misleading online postings are excluded.
This information is organized in databases and trends in the local job market are highlighted in monthly or quarterly reports to help the EDO take action and develop critical strategies and partnerships to improve their community. Note that all of the data is accessible in real time, at any time.
At present, EDOs and workforce development boards are using the reports to identify actionable areas of labour supply and demand in the community, to promote skills and education relevant to the local workforce, and to pinpoint their workforce’s strengths and weaknesses in order to support existing businesses and attract investors.
The best feature about all of these economic development tools? They’re customized to each community’s needs and budgets. Evidence-based decision-making is accessible to small and large municipalities regardless of location or budgets.
Here’s Another Tool to Help Attract Interest in Your Region
Download this checklist to establish your economic development communication strengths and see where you might improve.
MDB Insight is Canada’s largest economic development specialist consultancy. MDB Insight’s community focused approach uses quality data to inform decision makers in municipalities across Canada to strengthen their communities.