At Ady Advantage embracing data is built into our mission. As such, we conduct industry-wide research to help inform our site selection clients and the economic developers who serve them. One key finding of our research was a distinct mismatch, or gap, in the perceptions of site selectors as compared to EDOs (economic development organizations).
Ady Advantage provided site selectors and EDOs four statements and asked the degree to which they agreed. For each statement, there was a gap in agreement between the two parties. This mismatch in perceptions is crucial to understand. It can adversely impact EDOs when interacting with a site selector or promoting their information/assets to them.
Mind the gaps
In general, timelines for site location projects are shorter.
Site selectors more strongly agreed with this statement than the EDOs. Implying EDOs may not fully appreciate the urgency for site selectors. The EDOs may hurt themselves in pursuit of a prospect if they respond too slowly.
In general, clients are increasingly trying to do pieces of site selection in-house and on their own.
EDOs more strongly agreed with this statement than site selectors. This could indicate more is falling on the plate of the EDOs, as companies are often ill-equipped to do full site selection searches in-house. This may lead to an increased interest from EDOs in having a qualified site selector to help lead the process and take some of this work off their shoulders.
In general, clients are demanding larger sites and buildings.
EDOs more strongly agreed with this statement than site selectors. This may mean communities under market or undervalue the full breadth of sites and buildings they have available. Moreover, we find that some site selectors may ask for more than needed “just in case.” Therefore it benefits communities to be creative as to how flexibility can be added into specific sites.
In general, clients are less interested in incentives than they have been in the past.
EDOs more strongly agreed with this statement than site selectors, although the gap was much smaller this time. This could imply EDOs slightly undervalue the importance of incentives and should continue to consider their full toolkit in attracting and retaining businesses, which includes incentives. A caveat to this – site selectors may inherently place more value on incentives because some site selectors get paid, at least in part, based on the incentives they negotiate.
We hope by sharing these insights, site selectors and economic development organizations can find a shared understanding and alignment. In particular, we hope that communities are informed and prepared while interacting with site selectors and marketing their communities.
Connect with our site selection experts to discuss how we can help your community can stay on top of economic development trends and achieve its highest potential.