Marketing teams across all organizations are focused on their brand image, helping to attract new customers and proving the value of what they are doing with metrics.

For an Economic Development Organization (EDO), it is no different. But an EDO marketing team also has the challenge of supporting three related, but different constituencies. They need to support:

  • The companies focused in their region (geographic or industry or both)
  • The population that may want to work for those companies, and
  • The organizations that fund the EDO (public or private or both)

So, EDO marketing teams are constantly seeking ways and quantitative metric measurement to support these three groups.

Having an EDO sponsored job board can be the very best way to help in this initiative. But many EDO’s make the mistake of forcing the companies in their region to be solely responsible for talent acquisition. This is a lost marketing opportunity and often violates the charter of the EDO. An EDO sponsored job board:

  • Helps the companies in the region,
  • Is a valuable asset for job seekers both inside and outside the region,
  • Is a recruitment tool for companies highlighting options to move to the region, and
  • Is a tremendous asset to the EDO itself in terms of metrics.

While many companies post their jobs on their company-specific website, there is no central source of curated jobs for the entire region. Individuals both inside and outside the region want a broad picture of what kind of openings are available. This can only happen through a centralized third-party sponsored job board that publicizes postings from the multiple companies across the region. The EDO can then curate the companies and positions that appear on the job board to reflect the critical aspects of their mission such as technology, health care, or manufacturing.

Job seekers contemplating moving to a specific region can determine if there are enough alternatives for them should their first job not work out. Also, companies looking to potentially move to an area want to be quantitatively assured that there is a sizeable pool of relevant talent available in a region. The current focus on Amazon's search for a second warehouse is a great example -- it would be absurd to think that Amazon is not actively searching local EDO websites to get a better feel of companies and talent in a given region.

Next, the EDO itself wants to collect meaningful data about its region and help justify its own existence. If an EDO directs companies and applicants away from its own website, to say Indeed or Monster, they lose user engagement. Having a centralized job board encourages people to register at the EDO website, creating a wealth of information for other marketing purposes like newsletters, training, and events. A job board also helps potentially double or triple website traffic, a key measurement criteria for most EDOs. A job board also allows the EDO to get better metrics on jobs in the region. And, most importantly, a job board helps the EDO to justify precisely how many jobs were filled in the region by job type. This can be exceptionally important to funders wondering about the accomplishments of the EDO.

There are other benefits to companies in the EDO region as well. An EDO-sponsored job board can offer capabilities like applicant tracking services (ATS), to help smaller companies who do not have an HR department and/or recuriting tools. It can help companies of all sizes better understand what jobs, and what characteristics of individual jobs are more or less attractive to job seekers since the job board can have like and dislike capabilities all the way down to the word level.

Many EDOs are reluctant to add a job board to their website because of the fear of additional cost and work involved. A good EDO-specific job board can be implemented in days and can be administered by staff without technical website skills in under an hour a week.

Jenn Cornell, VP Marketing at Ann Arbor SPARK, Michigan’s largest EDO, says:

Our job board (TrueJob) has been an incredible asset to our website. It’s an impactful driver of website traffic; the job portal was viewed over 300,000 times in the last year, more than double the traffic from the previous year.

How a job board can help your EDO marketing team

  • Improve traffic to your website (which you are most likely directly measured on)
  • Highlight metrics that can tracked and measured, such as
    • Job openings posted
    • Jobs openings filled
  • Identify and track new companies signing up and posting jobs
  • Provide quality marketing content
  • Improve brand awareness for the EDO
  • Improve brand value (e.g., help smaller companies with applicant tracking and help all companies with qualities of jobs that applicants like and dislike)
  • Be used as a central place to direct visitors or companies during promotional events
  • Show the breadth of companies and positions available as compelling content for potential new job applicants and/or job seekers considering moving to the area
  • Show total job activity and demonstrate that the EDO helps companies (an appealing way to attract companies considering your region)
  • Be used as a tool to collect contact information for other marketing events
  • Provide a way to promote success stories to share, such as:
    • Companies that found people to hire
    • Individuals that decided to move to the area

So, adding a high quality and EDO-specific job board has many benefits to the marketing department of an EDO. It can dramatically improve the EDO's image, improve the support provided to large and small employers, double the traffic to the EDO's website and provide invaluable metrics for the EDO to help secure more funding. It can serve as a creative way to capture more contacts that can be used for other marketing purposes and help the EDO's business development team “sell” the region to potential companies interested in the region. Choosing a job board that was specifically designed for EDOs requires little effort and provides tremendous value that can’t be provided by generic job boards.