December 20, 2013

Insight into our web performance in 2013

We have no secrets, and with this insight we wish you and your company a merry Christmas and a happy new year! Our statistics about 2013, by Google Analytics:

Traffic


As you can see, we had a modest traffic: 1,430 people visited our blog in 2013. The main sources of our traffic were LinkedIn.com, direct traffic and the blogger.com.

Visitors: locations


55% of our visitors arrived from the United States, Europe's share was 30% in our web traffic. The leading 'sending' cities were Budapest, New York, Houston, London, Dublin and Toronto.

Content: most viewed blog posts

In 2013, our most popular blog post were
Cheers and good luck for 2014!

December 6, 2013

4 ways to attract shared service centers to your location

Almost all cities and business parks on the planet list the global business services industry as an investment promotion target sector. But how can you stand out the crowd in this overpopulated competition?

We wish you merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Shared service centers (SSCs, in other words: business process outsourcing or global business services companies) are the results of the globalizing economies. The re-structuring of international companies results re-located corporate functions, and I don't know any location which would not shoot at this target.
Here are some (btw: proven) tips how can you make your location more interesting. These cannot substitute the excellent labor pool and good infrastructure, just help you to tell your stories:


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#1 Investment destination blogging: SSC Debrecen Blog

The concept of investment destination blogging is simple: provide useful and interesting information for site selectors about your location, and potential investors will regard you as a focused business magazine. SSC Debrecen Blog is the #1 Hungarian SSC blog in English. We write not just our location (Debrecen City), but about the competing locations in Hungary and in Eastern Europe. Honestly, without tricks, but highlighting our site for more hundred professionals in every months.

#2 Try to win awards
In 2010, my region was the #1 FDI location in Eastern Europe.

I strongly recommend to take part in site selection rankings and competitions, like "Cities and Regions of the Future" Award of Financial Times' fDi Magazine. My experience shows SSC site selectors are more opened  to accept these kind of rankings than any other (manufacturing) site selection teams. Naturally, locations are awarded by independent teams, but you can seek the opportunities, can analyze the preliminary information (how do they choose winners) and you can prepare for contests. When one of my business parks was awarded the "Industrial park of the Year" by the Hungarian Ministry of Economy, previously we deeply analyzed our aspects of the tender dossier and planned our messages for ministry guys.

#3 Conference sponsoring
If you know your target market, you can find some forums, where the potential corporate executives are present in a big number. Industry events, industry association's conferences are the best places to focus on.
Last year, the office park I work for as an interim marketing manager, sponsored the national outsourcing association's annual conference. There were all the local managers of global business service companies, the largest tenants of local office market. As a sponsored speech, one of our potential clients talked about himself, the company's best practices - and why they will rent an office from us. For a half-PR article price we got focused and relevant, executive-level introduction.

#4 SlideShare presentations
Slideshare.net has a great C-level audience, so when you share content about your location on SlideShare, site selectors will find you. The embedded presentation bellow is the #2 hit on SlideShare for the search phrase "ssc hungary" (target industry and location), outrunning all the global consulting companies SlideShare brochures and studies. Just like an investment destination blogger, also in this case you can highlight your location and build trust with your target market.

November 22, 2013

The fabulous search engines and your city branding

Everything in 11 slides you want to know about search engine optimization (but was afraid to ask it):



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November 8, 2013

Why your 'victory reports' don't sell your location?

Many investment promotion professionals think: sharing investment success stories about a location is enough to online success and investment lead generation. What a mistake.

Important news often don't generate leads

Many economic development agencies' press/social media presence is limited to sharing success stories and testimonials. These are important parts of your story, but sales (investment) lead generation requires something else. 'Victory reports' about new investments sound like advertisements - and do you watch ads on TV or click it on the Internet? Your prospects do the same. Instead sharing success stories via press/Internet, you should provide a site selection decision making support, sharing useful and interesting data about your location, and sometimes about your competing locations. Now lets see some simple rules how to do it:

#1 Talk about the buyer
Investment promotion is a kind of sales, and the nr.1 unwritten rule of sales is 'talk about the buyer'. Your prospects (members of corporate site selection teams) don't care about you but about themselves. Instead talking about your location's features, success stories and any other 'me-oriented' topics, try to talk about your prospects' benefits. Turning location's features into corporate benefits, I guess this is the key of lead generation. Instead talking about a new investment in your location, try to talk about the whys: why did this new investors decide for you? What were your main strengths (benefits) in this project, compared to competing locations? The key: try to support the prospects' decision making and achieve a long listing on this way.

#2 Say something interesting
When you convert your location's features into prospect's benefits, you should use data-driven storytelling. It means, it's not enough to create nice statements about your location ('the best .... location'), you have to build on solid data. These data can mean comparisons of competing sites, highlighting some special strengths of your locations, or simply a list of data why you are the real best ('5 reasons to invest in Slovakian automotive industry'). I am sure: your location's infrastructure, HR market, legal environment, real estate market etc. has specific benefits for your prospects, you just have to find them.

#3 Content marketing in investment promotion
If you can talk about your prospect and can do it on an interesting way, you should organize your messages. Your social media marketing or content marketing creates information channels to provide useful and interesting information to site selectors. These channels can be investment destination blog, SlideShare presentations, YouTube channel and more. The following slides provide a short insight into content marketing in general:





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October 25, 2013

How to promote your location with 'job seekers' videos?

Internet users not really like to read novels - short, focused videos tell more about your location and support your marketing efforts.

Source: Social Media Examiner

If YouTube was a search engine, it would be the 2nd largest one in the world. People (and your prospects) search on Youtube for useful and interesting information about your location - so create and share such a content and your prospects will find it.

In corporate world, videos are popular, because companies can share useful data, customer stories, tutorials etc. In location marketing, I recommend the following type of videos:

#1 HR-related embedded videos on your website

When it's about site selection, human resources are key factors, in some cases deciding factors. Site selectors are interested their future staff - and now ask yourself: does your website provide any HR information about the future staff beyond dry statistics? Do you introduce people and personal stories? Because people remember stories, not statistics. Naturally, behind stories there should be data, do not forget the data-driven storitelling.

Anyway, create an honest, no-hyping short (max. 2-minute) video about your location's HR situation. You can produce a labor market overview, involving some (not pushing) testimonials. Or a short interview with some successful employees. And even more: an interview with a local job seeker. You could say: job seekers are not the PR faces of your location - but, in fact, the honest stories of these people tell more than any marketing speech about your hard-working nation:



#2 Background videos of investment destination blogs

If you blog about your investment destination, your blog post can be dramatically improved by some background videos. These videos are normally produced not by you, but by local TV channels or other professional organizations.
Videos provide some additional information to your blog post and make your blog 'stickier': prospects spend more time on your blog. And the top of all that: Google loves embedded YouTube videos, your  blog post's Google page rank will increase.

I applied the following McKinsey & Co.'s video to provide background to blog post "Low-cost Chinese manufacturing is dead. Long live near-shoring!"




#3 Image films

Most of investment promotion agencies, city branding teams, economic development organizations produce image films: a short introduction of location. Maybe answers to the question "Why invest in...?"
These short videos are the 'trailers of your location', so don't be shy to follow some Hollywood rules: a) make it shortly, b) Know the end, the theme and feeling you want to leave the viewer with, c) writing a copy is tough, don't try to be too smart, d) music is also a big tool, e) the final image is important.

The Ireland-movie by IDA Ireland has a quite good trailer:





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October 11, 2013

How to sell talking about the weaknesses of your location?

All marketers focus on location's strengths when it's about investment promotion. Talk about the weaknesses on the right way and you will stand out the crowd.


A long time ago, when I was the regional director of the Hungarian investment promotion agency, I organized a meeting for a potential investor with the mayor of a city in my region. The mayor presented about the city's 21th century visions, about state of the art business environment, large-scale development projects etc - like every mayors on the planet. The site selection team (corporate professionals from Europe and the U.S) were listening politely.

The surprise came at the end of the presentation. "Now, let's talk about our weaknesses" said the mayor. What?!? We didn't liaise about it, what the hell are you doing, man? - I thought. And my surprise was even more bigger, because he did it on a very professional way and the WOW-effect arrived, the corporate guys were impressed.

The mayor talked about every weaknesses of our offer: we have no international school, and we have very limited air flights from the city to the large European hubs. He didn't hide any details, didn't hype, he was very honest. And when he described a problem, he also described some options how to solve the problem and get around the weakness. Described some ideas and projects about the improvement, with timing and responsibilities.

The result was really impressive. First of all, his credibility increased to the sky, site selectors also would believe him if he said he is the Santa Clause. All the strengths he had talked about earlier was validated, because he is a so honest man. And secondly, our scores for these weak factors became probably not so low - the local leader knew the answer to these challenges.

Never think your prospects are dummies and cannot realize your weaknesses, they can. It's much better if you talk about it and about your improvement ideas (and don't let them to think about weaknesses without solutions). It's easy, but somehow nobody does it.

The end of the story: the company selected another competing location. The city's strengths were not strong enough, also strengths should be improved - but it's another story...


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September 27, 2013

Case study: a successful investment destination blog post

This investment destination blog post was data-driven and provoking, debates on LinkedIn - where I shared it - resulted more hundred comments. The target industry professionals got a positive attitude to invest in my destination.

Screenshot of Manufacturing Hungary Blog, with some comments

The goal of Manufacturing Hungary Blog is to promotote Eastern Hungary, and especially my client, the M35 Business Park online. One of our blog posts compared a competing Chinese manufacturing location (Shenzen) to several Eastern European locations, in a very successful way. Now lets see, why.

#1 The provoking title
As I wrote earlier in the destination blog template, the title is the crutial part of your blog post: people normally read it and decide to read further or not. It's the 'advertisment' of your content. In our case, the title was the message: "Will Eastern Europe provide lower labour costs than China?" China is the nr.1 investment destination of the world, currently because of its super-low cost labour market. When we queried this paradigm, we provoked tons of manufacturing industry professionals.

#2 Data-driven body text
It's easy to be provoking: just share your politically incorrect opinion about a hot topic. To be factual and the same time provoking, it's much more difficult. The bad news: nobody, especially your prospects are not curious about your opinion and your pushing marketing speech. Your prospects are interested in exciting and useful data. I cannot overstress: you have to provoke with rock-solid numbers. In the blog post, we collected all the labour costs (salleries and social contributions) in Eastern European regions (in-country data) and also in Shenzen, we collected all exchange rates etc - and provided links to data. Anybody can check it, the numbers talk for themselves.
Here is an embedded presentation about this topic, view it please. The internet is full with marketing bullshit, but the data-driven blogging is very rare:


#3 Spectacular image
Pictures worth 1000 words, it was one of the first rules of internet marketing I learned. If you cover your prospects with dry numbers only, you can be provoking and factual, but nobody will read it. Visualization is the key to sell your content. In the blog post, we created a European map, which visualize the Eastern European labour costs (darker colours means higher labour costs) plus we created a chart which shows the Eastern European labour costs in the % of Shenzen costs.

#4 Would your target audience pay for your content?
Another secret of business blogging: refine your blog post until you feel, your prospects would pay for it. Naturally, it's free of charge, but when you treat your blog post as a product which has to be sold, you will avoid the pushing marketing bullshit.

Finally, I have to confess: I love investment destination blogging. If you need some help, feel free to contact me.


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August 30, 2013

A hopefully inspiring guide to European Union's economic development solutions

The European Union has a sophisticated, old and large scale economic development system. For non-Europeans, it can serve with some pretty news.

source: bbc.co.uk

The European Union is not (yet) a country. If it was a country, it would be the largest economy of the world. Originally the EU was founded as a free trade zone, and most of the European (lets say: federal) policies are connected to economy.
The EU budget cycle is 7 year long, the next cycle will start in 2014. As you can see on the graph (above), 'cohesion', 'competitiveness' and 'rural development' have the major (and increasing) budget share. In the EU slang, these terms mean a tax transfer from the developed (mostly Northern European) member states to underdeveloped (mostly Southern ans Eastern European) member states  - to develop their economies. So, the EU 'federal' budget cannot compared to the US federal budget, but it's impact on economic development is critical. Let see briefly, how does it work.

National development plans. Every member state have a complex economic development plan for the budget cycle, and a contract with European Commission (the 'federal government') how to spend the money (also the donor states, but they pay more into the the EU budget than they get back). Every member state can define its own development plan and concept, however the EU has focus points (e.g: between 2014-20: energy, innovation, small enterprise development).

Operative Programmes. The national development plans are divided to operative programmes. On this point let's make it clear: 'economic development' in Europe is a much larger category than in the US. The American (and off-European) economic development mostly means attracting companies and jobs to our location. In Europe, we call this activity 'investment promotion' - a very thin slice of economic development. The European economic development involves every potential activities from supply chain developments to small enterprise development, from innovative education projects to community building, from applied recearch support to start-up financing etc. National operative programs, based and the national development plan, focus on some of these areas, e.g: between 2014-20 in Hungary, we will have operative programmes on economic development and innovation, regional development (development of economic environment of cities and counties), HR development, rural development (development of the business environment of agri-business) , transportation, energy and environment. The Hungarian budget for 2014-20 is approx. €25 billion, and 60% of it will go to economic development (for 3 operative programmes: economic development and innovation, regional development, rural development).

Economic development projects. If the member states finalized the national development plans and operative programmes, the management authorities (member state ministries, mostly) will make a call for application in every operative programme. Each economic players (businesses, municipalities, universities, NGOs etc) can apply for funding for their development project. E.g: a municipality-owned business park I work for, will apply for a renewable energy power plant, which produce green energy for local public lighting and waste steam for newly established glasshouse organic horticultures. Another project will support the market expansion of these small, organic horticultures, another will focus on place branding to promote our location internationally (investment promotion).

European Commission's initiatives. Not all economic development money from EU budget goes to member states. The European Commission has its own iniviatives, involving urban development (city branding best practices exchange, advisory, funding etc), business support, research information service and more.

Now lets see short video about a business incubator in Barcelona, Spain:


If you liked this post, do not to forget to share it!


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August 9, 2013

How to write the best-selling 'elevator speech' of your business park and location?

If you cannot make your site interesting in 30 seconds, you probably cannot do it also in a negotiation.

source: Guardian

I'm sure, you were asked at many events, personal meetings or small talks "..and what about XY County?" or "...and what should we know about Stardust Business Park?". And I'm also sure: your answer mostly hit the bullshit-meter of your prospect.

Your organization probably has a fancy mission statement, which includes beautiful ideas: developing state of the art facilities, targeting sexy industries, for the benefit of local community (and mankind, maybe), building on the local genius-making education etc. You maybe have slogans, too. It could motivate your staff and make a framework for together thinking, but absolutely useless when you try to promote your facility/location. When its about sales, you need an elevator speech: a very short summary of your value proposition. Here are some simple rules how to do it:

#1 Talk about client's results not about your bricks
It's not easy to talk about the clients when you are asked to talk about your location, but this is the largest secret of sales. Nobody is interested about your square feets, your motorway connections, your local education or incentive programmes etc. Your prospects are interested in their own benefits: "what is it for me?" So try to convert your facility's/location's features to the benefits of your prospects:

"We develop state-of-the-art offices for shared services industry in a green, high-tech environment which involves..." - not won.
"We provide 30% costs savings for SSCs developing off-city offices in a low-cost location" - much better.

#2 Keep it short and simple
Simple things work. Your elevator speech should be easy-to-understand, without industry jargon - and first of all: short. Every short meeting with your prospect is a sales situation, and you have no hours to sell your facilities or to promote your investment destination. Actually, you have no minutes. You have some seconds indeed. So your elevator speech has to be 1-2 sentences maximum.

#3 Clearly identify your target industries
I hope you have some target industries. Now the question is how to involve these industries into your elevator speech 1) talking about results and 2) keep it short and simple. A long industry listing in your elevator speech is not a winning solution, try to shorten it. And are you providing real, numeric results (benefits) for all your target indutsries? Or you just listed some sexy industries at your industry targeting meeting?

Use your elevator speech also on your website, printed materials, radio/TV spots etc. The benefit-oriented, short elevator speech works much better than a hyping marketing speech.

If you need more, general background information about elevator speech developing, watch this short video:


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July 12, 2013

Professional investment destination blogging: a template for beginners

Investment destination blogging is a relatively new idea in investment promotion and economic development (I know: I found it out so you should be a beginner). Lets see a scheme how to write a blog post!

Screenshot of Manufacturing Hungary Blog, managed by Business Park Institute

#1 Provoce with your title
You cannot underestimate the importance of a blog post title. Your title is the advertisment of your content, it sells the following stuff. Most readers look at your title only and decide to keep reading or not - so it's a "make it or break it" element of your blog post.
There are some rules how to write great titles:
  • Focus on the benefits provided by your location: instead describing your location, talk about the "user's benefits". E.g, if you blog about Jamaica Logistics Hub, instead using a title like "50 feet harbor closed to the extended Panama Canal" write "All cross ocean ships can be hosted in near-Panama Canal port".
  • Make it shortly. People just scan title tags, so don't write a novel. Use 10 words maximum.
  • Involve keywords. You write not just for your readers (prospects) but also for search engines like Google. And via Google, people can find your blog using keywords related to your destination. Staying by the Jamaica example, keywords like Panama Canal, logistics etc can be important for search engine optimization. To find good keywords and word combos, visit Google Trends.
  • Provoce! Honestly said, I tried out many types of titles, and after the smart, benefit oriented, short, keyword-involving title tags I realized: provocative titles works. The direct goal of title is "click-through", make readers click on it when read it in LinkedIn groups, google target lists etc. Provocative title promises something surprising and new, so don't forget to deliver surprise and news in your body text.

#2 Add some information in your first paragraph
In your first paragraph/sentence, provide some explanation to your title. Write about more "user's benefit", use forther keywords, or simply keep provocing. The goal of this first paragraph (we can call it subtitle if you want) is to reconfirm readers: to read our blog post was a good decision.

#3 Use a large image/infographics related to your title
Images worth 1000 words, the old rule of internet. Try to find an impressive image which presents what you are talking about. In Jamaica example, it could be a large Panamax ship in the Kingston port. If you have data about your topics, you can create an infographics (I prefer Infogr.Am)
And do not forget to remark the source of your image and your data.

#4 Body text
Your main text should be factual, useful and interesting. The best if you talk about some useful and interesting facts of your destination, e.g: analyze some key features of Caribbean ports including Port Royal in Jamaica. Some furher rules:
  • Specific topics. Don't tell everything in a single blog post, focus on the specific feature of your location. Finding topics is a kind of art, we will talk about it in the future.
  • Concentric: Start with the bigger picture (e.g Caribbean ports) and go ahead to Jamaica. Practically, the investment destination in this case the Caribbean and Central America, closed to the extended Panama Canal. And the location what you sell is Jamaica.
  • Short: write a half A4 equal text only.

#5 Background video
People prefer to view videos than to read the same information (somewhere I've seen a nice infographich about it). On the top of that: Google loves embedded videos (especially: embedded YouTube videos), and ranks your post much higher with a video. The background video provides background information to your blog post, and makes it a 21th century multi-media channel. Choose a short, maximum 10 minutes (even more: 5 minutes) video.
In Jamaica case, I would recommend an embedded short video about the efforts of the Government:



What if you simply don't find any related, interesting and useful material on YouTube? The back-up plan:  find and embed a SlideShare.Net presentation.

#6 Call to action
At the end of your blog post tell your reader what to do if he/she liked/ was agree with your statements. Calls to action can be
  • Visit your "sales site" - a website where you are talking about a logistic park in Kingstone, Jamaica
  • Subscribe to your blog updates (I also use this, so don't forget to subscribe above!)
  • Leave a comment after the blog post

The goal of call-to-action is reaching a response from reader - as a blogger you should support site selectors' job, so be happy to answer prospects' questions.


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June 28, 2013

How to launch a surprising incentive program with almost zero cost?

In our opinion, a good incentive program should be an argument for long listing but not for a final decision.

Source: michigancapitolconfidential.com

Site selection is not a science. Especially on early (long listing) phase, team members often don't make detailed calculations or financial analysis - they just select promising locations for site visits and for future analysis. The only question how to make your location promising. It's easy: say something interesting.

Maybe you realized: competition for new investments is a competition of incentives. But there is always a better funded location which can provide +20% state grant for the new investment. I say, try to avoid the  "incentive competition" (when interesting = bigger money), instead provide smart and surprising incentives for early stage site selection. The following examples won't make you the winner location, but can put you on the map.

#1: Provide something for free

The classical article of Wired Magazine about the 'economics of free' is interpreted as the fundamental of online economy. In fact, the idea works universally. In the noisy economic development world your messages will be very, very whispering (except if you are the governor of California). If you provide something for free, site selectors will be courious.

OK, you can say, it's not better than to deliver the national treasure for a new factory. And here is a small trick. Provide an industrial plot for free. The plot itself costs some percent of total investment (yes, indeed), but site selectors somehow don't realize this fact (probably because they make the ongoing site selection first and last in their lifetime). Invest your incentive money into an industrial plot and provide it for free, if new investment achieves your strategic goals (in jobs/payed taxes etc). Because it's a new and surprising way for subsidize companies, it promotes much better your location than the same amount as a cash subsidy.

#2: Dedicated vice mayor

Daimler Inc. seeked a new Eastern European site for manufacturing its B-class Mercedes. One of the competing cities, Kecskemét, Hungary had a new, a little surprising idea: they offered an own, dedicated vice mayor for Daimler. The dedicated vice mayor's job involves, said the management of the city, the support of implementation and operation of the new manufacturing site. The management of the city knew: starting business in a foreign country, in unknown business environment, permetting a new facility in unknown legal processes means relevant risk for the company, because the handover of new facility building cannot be predicted and the market entry of new products is unsure. And also the operation of new manufacturing site can be improved with an 'embedded' local authority.
Everybody talks about the local business friendly environment, the innovation was in this case the face of this promise. And even more, if I were you, I would make a new business card to your almost-dedicated vice mayor at the final phase of negotiations, just like this:


Just imagine the effect, when your man hands over this card to the Flextronics' site selection team...


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June 14, 2013

Websites are Dead. Long live digital presence!

Many business parks and economic development agencies think about internet marketing just like building a website. What a 20th century approach.

Recently I read a whitepaper about digital presence, it summarizes well what I think about internet marketing.  Many marketers in site selection industry think about online promotion as an optional plus, and the mainstream marketing activities are offline. However, site selectors often collect information from the Web, and a single website is not enough to engage them. Establishing a strong digital presence means: you share information on several platforms about you and your destination, so prospects can find you much easier.

The concept of content marketing or social media marketing is based on the sighting: people don't like advertisments. Don't read it in newspapaers, don't watch it on TV (do you?). And also your pushing sales offers on your website can activate people's "advertisment filters".
Instead, people like valuable, interesting information about topics which solve their problems or provide gains. The following short video is also a good summary of content marketing:



Content marketing in site selection

OK, after a general introduction, see how and why should you provide content for your prospects. Content marketing means you should start some (not too many) "information channels" to support site selectors' job. The members of site selection teams are not "site selection experts", they are corporate professionals from  fields like HR, finance, engineering etc. They do their site selection work probably once and last in their lifetime. Support their work, collect and analyze information about your investment destination - and they will appreciate your work, will trust you, when you highlight your location/facility inside your investment destination.

Investment destination blog. An investment destination blog can be a good start. Provide information on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, about your destination's competing sites, about labour market and wage ranges, facility options and rates, legal background, incentive programs etc. E.g when you promote your logistics facilities in Jamaica, than Jamaica is your investment destination, and you probably know much better the local market than your prospects from the U.S.

SlideShare. SlideShare.net is a boosting platform for delivering your location-related content to the world. Recycle your older blog content and try to create a ppt slideshow about your destination.

White papers. When you search the term, for example "Doing business in Oklahoma", you will find legal advices only. However, selecting a new site is not just about law. Write comprehensive guides about your destination, and make it downloadable on your websites and other content sharing sites (also on SlideShare).

Google Maps. I like maps because maps can illustrate sites and business environment: transportation infrastructure, locations of leading companies, major cities and labour markets etc. Create Google maps about your destination, share it online and also embed it into your web pages and blog posts.

LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the leading global B2B social media and information sharing platform. Share your blog posts, SlideShare presentations, white papers and maps in target groups and your prospects will find your content, will know you and your site.

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May 31, 2013

How to promote your site with SlideShare?

SlideShare.net, the world's leading presentation sharing platform provides unique opportunities to highlight your location and facilities.


The goal of destination content marketing is to provide information for site selectors about your investment destination. One type of it investment destination blogging, another is producing presentations about your destination, included and highlighted your site, and sharing it on SlideShare.

The philosophy. I met more dozen site selection teams, who were responsible to select a new site for their companies. Team members were normally HR specialists, industrial engineers, financial experts, or other colleagues of the company. Sometimes also consultants, but somebody from Deloitte said me: approx. 50% of teams do not employ any site selection/recruiting/real estate consulting agency (I agree with Deloitte). They just try to collect information from the web, make some own request for information, visit the short listed locations, and present the results to the company's board. Team members are corporate professionals, they do generally the first and last site selection in their lifetime - and they have very limited knowledge how to do it. If you support their work, and collect information about your investment destination, make some 'instant presentations', site selection teams will be evaluate your job.

The trick. Nice to do your prospect's job, but how can you promote your site? Simply: highlight your location in your presentation as a place to invest. As one of the most promising site for your client. Avoid pushing sales offers and definitely avoid focusing your site only, but involve and highlight yourself. An example:


This presentation is the #1 hit on slideshare when you search "ssc hungary" (the target industry and  investment destination of my client 'Xanga Office Park'), it has more hundred views and a dozen downloads.

Topics. If you are an economic developer and promote a county in Wisconsin, your investment destination is Wisconsin State, talk about it in your presentation. If you target manufacturing companies, talk about human resources, industrial infrastructure and real estate market of competing locations in Wisconsin - probably you have much deeper knowledge about these topics than your prospects. But be fair: share valid information only, about your county and about competing locations.

The promotion. It's not enough to work well, talk about it. SlideShare also provides free of charge account, so to upload a ppt or pdf presentation is not an issue. The first step in promotion is SlideShare itself: the platform has tremendous traffic from executive level corporate professionals. If you involve some keywords in the title of your presentation, your target group will find your information (continuing the Wisconsin-example, you should use a title like this: "The 8 most promising locations for advanced manufacturing in Wisconsin")
The second step is LinkedIn.com: share your presentation in the proper LinkedIn group. In the previous Wisconsin case, proper groups focus on advanced manufacturing, automotive industry, hightech, pharma etc. And groups focusing on Midwest business are also can be perfect for you.
The 3rd step of site promotion is embedding your SlideShare content into your blog/website. It makes your website 'stickier', website visitors spend more time on your website, they can see around, and it increases the probability to getting a sales lead: a request for information. When you embed content into your blog/website, search engines like Google will highly appreciate it. Google loves embeded contents so your ranking on Google will increase, and you also get visitors from the search engine.

Finally, I cannot overstress: avoid pushing sales presentations. The bad news: your prospects do not care about you. They care about themselves, about their problems. Don't talk about yourself (about your site), talk about your prospect's problems and the solutions provided by your location.

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May 17, 2013

How to compete with China as a manufacturing site?

China is the workshop of the world. Yet. But industrial experts are not sure about the future of China as the #1 manufacturing location: increasing manufacturing costs raise questions. You can build on this trend when promote industrial spaces. 

Last year I published a presentation on SlideShare (see below). It compares China to Eastern Europe as a manufacturing site. The data involved in my presentation can be used in any European/American business park marketing efforts.


Fact 1#: Wages are super low, the wage inflation is super-high in China
source: U.S. Department of Labor
China is a "super low-cost" manufacturing locations (that's the issue). However, wages are increasing in rocket speed, especially in coastal regions, were your competing real estate developers are doing business.

Fact #2: social contribution is on the horizon
This time there are no 'Western-style' governmental pension and health care system in China. But the society is aging, and what do you think, who will pay for these social services? Your prospect, if choose a Shanghai site.

Fact #3: China is a communist country
In our politically correct world, we don't call China a communist country. But it is. Communism means instabile legal framework and corruption for your prospect. Corruption makes prices and costs non-tranparent, advanced manufacturing don't like it.

Fact #4: Market closenes, improved speed-to market
The speed-to market time and fast product customization will be key success factors in future manufacturing. And no way to manage these efforts from a Chinese manufacturing site (e.g. the shipping time between China and Europe is 6 weeks). So, when your prospect selects your site, he/she votes on a stabile business environment with stabile costs and transparency, and also votes on market flexibility.

I don't say these arguments are enough to convince a potential new clients. But could be enough to get some good points for your site and make them unsure about the Chinese option. Are you disagree? I'm listening.


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May 3, 2013

How to launch an investment destination blog?

You may say it's not your business to promote your location worldwide. But if you share useful business information about your state/country and support the job of site selection teams, you can achieve magnificant benefits - free of charge.

In the classical marketing there are push and pull directions. When you cold call a prospect and try to lease out a business space, this is a typical push approach. Pull marketing is starting with buyer - it pulls her or him into the deal. Social selling/social media marketing, including business blogging, is a typical pull marketing task.

source: FunnySalesCartoons.com

Use your location expertise. When you blog about your destination, keep in mind: the members of a typical site selection team are leaders of functional fields like HR, finance, manufacturing etc. They know nothing (or almost nothing) about your locations's labour market and education, transportation infrastructure, incentives - or real estate market. Start to write about these topics and the information collecting site selectors will highly appriciate your job, and you become an 'investment destination authority'.
In this role, I was invited for more meetings with prospects, who were interested in our destination. I also talked about our competing real estate developers (without tricks, focusing on advantages), but somehow, at the end, our business park was presented as a Business Heaven.

Broadcast yourself. A business park I worked for launched a destination blog about Eastern European electronics manufacturing and logistic locations. One of our blog post called "The best electronic logistic hubs in Eastern Europe" It listed 3 'matured' and 3 'emerging' locations in the destination. Honestly said I'm not sure our buisness park would be listed if someone else write this post... When you talk about your investment destination, you can present your properties in blog post - but be careful and avoid pushing sales offers.

Find blogging partners. To promote your location is the business of your local government or local economic development organization. Try to involve them in investment destination blogging, they will be keen, I promise. This kind of promotion has limited or even more zero costs, and also they can use their location expertise.

In the future we will analyse more details of investment destination blogging, it's maybe enough as a start. You need a think-outside-the-box approach, and the business blogging has no immediate results, so be patient.

Would you like to talk about your distress regarding destination blogging? You are lying on the right coach, just speak.



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April 19, 2013

The future of manufacturing and its impact on your business park

In November 2012, McKinsey and Co. published a report about the future of manufacturing. If you have not read it yet, do it as soon as possible!


McKinsey has 3 key findings about the future of manufacturing, and we try to add some conclusions and tips about its impact to commercial real estate sector:

1. Manufacturing’s role is changing: 
'The way it contributes to the economy shifts as nations mature: in today’s advanced economies, manufacturing promotes innovation, productivity, and trade more than growth and employment. In these countries, manufacturing also has begun to consume more services and to rely more heavily on them to operate.'
Tip #1: Offer a complex, innovative and service-rich business enviroment
If there are academic/private research centers or global business service providers/BPO companies nearby your business park, than look at them as the part of your sales offer. Even more: try to attract such service providers and research facilities into your business park - and not just an office tenant, but as a sales promoter of your industrial real estates. Attract them with preferential facility pricing and the promise of new business for them!

2. Manufacturing is not monolithic:
'It is a diverse sector with five distinct groups of industries, each with specific drivers of success'
Segments of manufacturing. Source: mckinsey.com

Tip #2: Start to think about target industries
Are you sure your location's labour market, education, transportation infrastructure, supplier's background industries etc can serve all the possible industries from automotive to food processing, from nuclear energy to textile? How to select a target industry? Well, as a start, industries which have successful past and presence in your location, probably have a promising future, so do not invent warm water (excluding when you focuses on beverage industry).

3. Manufacturing is entering a dynamic new phase: 
'As a new global consuming class emerges in developing nations, and innovations spark additional demand, global manufacturers will have substantial new opportunities—but in a much more uncertain environment'
Tip #3: In market communication, focus on magic world like 'nearshoring' and 'advanced business environment'
Unfortunatelly you cannot relocate your facilities to Shanghai. And you cannot prevent the increasing consumption of emerging countries and the increasing manufacturing investments there. However, you can talk about the advantages of closeness of matured markets, the stabile legal environment, the high transparency and open society. These factors can be relevant for many industries and companies.

What do you think about these impacts? Share your opinion!


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April 5, 2013

4 almost secret ways to promote your business park

You probably has excellent connections to real estate agencies and maybe to the local government, but is it enough to the success? We show you four simple ways to reach more clients.

Polgar, the Industrial Park of the Year 2011, Hungary. A brochure is not enough.

#1 Press presence
The 1st rule of sales is say something interesting. If it's interesting enough, the media will publish it as a news. To produce news about your park/location, it's no way to talk about your fancy new logistic hall - no one wants to hear sales offers. Instead - and this could be the 2nd rule of sales - talk about the client's benefits: what specific and actual (new) benefits do you and your location provide. A new, local vocational education program or a new client (and new jobs) could be a good start.
Focus on business media, and, in key journals, you should buy a PR article to smooth the future connection.

#2 Conference sponsoring
Good to know who is your client. A well managed business park has some target industries and some industry-specific features (e.g: LCD manufacturers need much water to the production). If you know your target market, you can find some forums, where the potential corporate executives are present in a big number. Industry events, industry association's conferences are the best places to focus on.
Last year, the office park I work for as an interim marketing manager, sponsored the national outsourcing association's annual conference. There were all the local managers of global business service companies, the largest tenants of local office market. As a sponsored speech, one of our potential clients talked about himself, the company's best practices - and why they will rent an office from us. For a half-PR article price we got focused and relevant, executive-level introduction.

#3 Study tours
In the hotel industry, study tours are organized for hospitality journalists, tour operators and for other key influencers. This proven way is relatively rare in business park industry, however the situation how to sell a hotel room and to lease out a business space is very similar.
There are several real estate agents, foreign diplomats responsible for economic affairs, joint chamber of commerce etc, who are opened to know more about your investment destination. If you organize a short business trip for them, they can have more in-depth information, more local contacts. If there is an economic development agency in your investment destination, you can share the costs. And remember: say something interesting in your invitation.

#4 Internet marketing
Your business park probably has a nice website. The bad news is websites are dead - you need a strong web presence instead. When we are talking about web presence, we think about useful and interesting content produced for your potential clients, and shared in social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, SlideShare etc.
Another business park I work for as interim marketing manager, focuses on electronics manufacturing companies. We made a presentation for electronics industry, to support their site selection in Central and Eastern Europe:

Internet marketing also includes business blogging, e.g: the previous business park's ElectroSites Blog is about Eastern European site selection topics - we write useful and true stories about electronics site selection issues, including the fair introduction of our competitors. Because this is almost the only one public source in this topic, we became a site selection authority in CEE electronics industry.

What do you think? We were more than happy if you could share your opinion hereunder. Or, if you need a confidential response, contact us via email.


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