You’ve Got the Strategic Plan… Now What?

Let’s say you’ve just completed an economic development strategic plan. You have great data outlining the challenges and opportunities facing the businesses and workforce within your community; you have a vision statement and goals generated with the help of community stakeholders you’d like to see accomplished in the next 3, 5, 10 or more years; and you’ve got a motivated group of stakeholders who helped you put your study together and are chomping at the bit to see progress. Now what? How do you take your strategic plan to action?

Put Strategy to Action with an IMCP
Putting a plan into action can feel like an overwhelming and insurmountable task, but like any challenge in life, it should be taken one step at a time. One way to continue to ride the momentum of a strategic plan and set yourself up for ongoing success is to develop an Integrated Marketing and Communication Plan (IMCP).

An IMCP can help focus the strategic plan’s priorities and develop realistic and achievable expectations, timelines, and deliverables.

Let’s Break it Down

Example Priority: Workforce Recruitment

Workforce recruitment and retention is a hot button priority popping up in economic development strategic plans across the nation. An IMCP can help take the goal of “attracting a skilled workforce” from your strategic plan and generate specific and measurable strategies to help achieve that goal.

Step 1: Gather the Data. In this example, the process for developing an IMCP would begin with surveys and discussions with business owners to determine their perceived challenges in attracting employees, as well as the skills and qualities sought after for their work.

Step 2: Using the Right Tools. Tools such as ESRI Tapestry or MySidewalk can be used to generate demographic information and “personas” for the market segment that meets the desired skillset (i.e., what are the socioeconomic traits of the people who typically work in Industry ABC, what are they looking for in an employer and a community, etc.)

Step 3: Find Your Audience. Market research can then be conducted to determine “where” these employees are currently (Another market or industry? Attending school for a specialized trade?)

Finally: Reach Your Audience. All of that data will then be used to identify specific tactics and timelines to reach these individuals. This can include developing messaging, marketing materials, and determining which channels and areas to best reach your audience.

Case in Point. AE2SCommunications recently completed an IMCP (which included several priorities focused on workforce and business recruitment) for the City of Monticello, MN. The project consisted of engagement with more than 500 community stakeholders, compilation of more than 275 pages of data, and resulted in ready-to-use marketing templates and a clearly defined list of strategies and tactics to achieve both short-term and long-term success – all tying back to the City’s economic development strategic plan goals.


How are You Tackling YOUR Strategic Priorities?

Connect with us!
Is your community struggling with how to put your strategic plan into action? Look for Nicole, Cody or Marty at the upcoming Economic Development Association of Minnesota (EDAM) Summer Conference June 1-3 OR reach out anytime! We’d love to learn more about your community and help you move the needle on tackling your strategic goals.