In Ady Advantage’s most recent site selector research, one of the questions we asked site selectors was, “What single piece of information is most critical to have on an economic development website?”

Their answer?

More important than labor force data, available incentives, or even contact information, was clearly defined target industries.


If you know what your target industries are, it means you know your area’s economic assets and which industries would place the greatest value on them. That is, in fact, my definition of a target industry. And don’t worry: If you do this work right, the labor force, which is also a top site selection criteria, will be a key component of determining your target industries.

For those of you who have not yet identified your target industries, this news should be reason enough to do so. According to our ongoing benchmarking survey of economic development organization’s capacity, we estimate that only 30% of EDOs have not already identified target industries.

For those EDOs that do have target industries, especially those that have had them in place for a number of years, there’s another angle you should be thinking about, something we call Target Industries 2.0. It’s not about redoing your target industries. If they were done well the first time, they should not change dramatically from year to year. Rather, it’s about looking more deeply into your existing target industries to uncover insights that will help you determine where you should focus your resources and what strategies you should pursue.

For example, we are helping clients thoroughly research their target industries and determine what industry-level and macro trends are impacting their target industries. We’re analyzing the structural characteristics of those target industries to determine what business development strategies and targets will be the most effective for each EDO, given their goals and priorities. And, we’ve looked for the disruptive technologies, not only to identify and respond to threats, but also to proactively prepare for the future. These disruptors include trends like remote work, the adoption of automation and AI, changes in global trade policy, shifts in energy sourcing, and other factors.

This extensive research is followed by envisioning the likely impacts which culminates in recommended areas of focus within each target industry. From there, we generate business development and marketing strategies that are likely to be most effective, given your roles and the structure of each industry.

At Ady Advantage, we love the geeky research and strategy work and we can also seamlessly move into marketing to your target industries. Whether your community is interested in identifying target industries or finding ways you can be more competitive for existing target industries, let’s discuss how our depth of expertise can serve you.