EDITORIAL: Marketing starts to pay: Buffalo Niagara Enterprise report shows return from careful preparation

EDITORIAL: Marketing starts to pay: Buffalo Niagara Enterprise report shows return from careful preparation. Check it out:
(Buffalo News, The (NY) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Oct. 2--Eight years into the effort to consolidate regional business marketing into the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise effort, the BNE is claiming progress and a number of "wins." But the best review of all came from a corporate economic development expert who works with, not for, the agency: The real gain, she said, comes not in a count of recruiting successes but in the agency's completion of the "grunt work" that makes it easier for companies to consider this region.

That hasn't always been the case, and that assessment is a critical one. Buffalo Niagara has enough regulatory and taxation hurdles to clear without making it difficult for potential job-providers to quickly evaluate local sites. It's good news that Buffalo Niagara Enterprise has pulled together the data and studies to offer businesses before they have to ask for them. That's a competitive edge, because it's not done everywhere.

The BNE's integrated Web site, www.buffaloniagara.org, brings information together for site selectors. Its regional portal now is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and soon Japanese, providing for a much wider global reach.

Started years ago with an unrealistically high promise of new job creation, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise has refocused on job retention as well as job creation, and has become the "marketer" for the business-development "product" of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. While some may dispute the level of involvement in some of the 38 "wins" the group claimed for fiscal year 2006, which ended June 30, without Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, companies considering this region would be betting on a hodgepodge of facts and figures with less help in harnessing that information and helping push through deals.

The 38 wins, according to the group, represent a 5.5 percent increase over the previous year's 36 victories. That fiscal 2005 total was more than twice the number of "wins" for Kansas City, Phoenix, Richmond or St. Louis.

In hard numbers, that means last year's work meant $258.2 million in new capital investment in the region, a 12.7 percent increase from the previous year, with the creation or retention of 3,436 jobs -- 1,384 that remained and 2,052 added.

The BNE now focuses on speed, predictability and shovel-ready sites. As it increases the comfort level for potential investors in this region, it can help build momentum; companies notice where other companies are starting to relocate, and a good marketing agency can help them quickly find out why.

The good news here is that there is far more teamwork in that region-selling effort than there once was, and that Buffalo Niagara Enterprise is working to be ready with immediate and detailed information that companies need to know.

Copyright (c) 2006, The Buffalo News, N.Y.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.
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