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Online Training Course: Economic Development Marketing and Attraction

Date: December 1, 2020

Time: 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET (day 1), 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET (day 2, 3, and 4)

Location: Online



IEDC continues to monitor the rapidly changing situation related to the spread of COVID-19. We understand that concerns for health, safety, and the impact on meeting attendance, among other issues, are affecting our members.

Absent federal travel restrictions and/or local, state, or regional decisions to close venues, IEDC has not canceled any of its meetings. At these events, we commit to maintaining all appropriate sanitary, health, and safety measures and encourage attendees to follow guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. If there are any changes to event schedules, we will provide information to registrants about virtual options that may be available and/or other specific details.

Our satisfaction guarantees and our refund, substitution, cancellation, and postponement policies remain in place for your benefit. Please refer to specific program pages on our event calendar for details or contact us at reception@iedconline.org to be connected to appropriate staff to address your concerns.


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This hands-on course will review the fundamentals of developing and implementing a high-impact marketing and attraction plan. Businesses looking to locate or expand need accurate, up-to-date, and credible information and communities need rock-solid marketing techniques to reach the needs of the business community. Course participants will be able to learn how to craft their community's message by learning about online marketing fundamentals, website design, and current trends in foreign direct investnment. Participants will also explore various mediums of communication, including how to best utilize social media and other technologies as economic development marketing tools. Case studies and will highlight the dos and don'ts of economic development marketing and attraction.


Course Highlights:

• Identifying target audiences using data-driven techniques
• Developing a community marketing plan and brand
• Garnering internal and external support for the marketing campaign
• Engaging social media and website design to target new markets
• Making the most of your foreign direct investment efforts
• Benchmarking, evaluating, and monitoring the marketing plan




Day 1 - November 17

11:30 - 12:00 PM

Welcome and Introductions

12:00 –12:45 PM

Overview of Economic Development Marketing
Marketing is a tool that helps promote economic growth and development in a community. This session will highlight the economic developer's role in developing and implementing a marketing plan, and the different targets of economic development marketing.

12:45 –1:45 PM

Positioning Your Community and Finding your Niche
Each community, no matter location or demographics has its strengths and weaknesses. Identifying both and being able to play off the strengths is key to setting yourself apart. In this session, participants will learn how to find those things that make your community unique and how to best communicate your position in today’s complex marketplace.

1:45 –2:00 PM

Short Break

2:00 –3:00 PM

Developing the Marketing Plan and Metrics for Success
All communities market themselves whether or not they have developed a marketing plan. A marketing plan helps to ensure that you are making a positive impact and are making effective use of available resources, staff and financial capabilities. It provides a guide for all marketing activities and is an important part of an overall economic development strategy. This interactive session will address how to set realistic goals and objectives, to develop strategies that support your marketing goals, and to how to measure the success of your initiatives.

Day 2 - November 24

12:00 – 1:15 PM

A brand is the perception held of your place by your marketing efforts’ audience, whether site selectors, corporate buyers, entrepreneurs, or tourists. Like it or not, your town or region already has a brand—positive, negative, or wholly indifferent. Participants will learn about the components of brand, its importance to economic development, and how you can improve or change it.

1:15 – 1:30 PM

Short Break

1:30- 2:15 PM

Talent Attraction
Skills, experience, education, and ideas are the leading driver of economic growth today. It’s no surprise that leading economies today compete as much for highly educated workers as they do for businesses, a in what is sometimes called the “war for talent.” Instructors will explore the means to attract and retain skilled workers, from overseas marketing and hiring missions to “deeper” strategies such as entrepreneurship development and placemaking.

2:15– 3:00 PM

Foreign Direct Investment
In recent years, international economies have grown rapidly, and foreign businesses have grown in lockstep. Now, these companies often wish to expand into the United States, to take advantage of this country’s huge, wealthy market, as well as American specialties such as our universities, venture capital, and protections for intellectual property. Attendees will first learn about key drivers of foreign direct investment in the United States, and then shift focus to FDI attraction techniques including advertising, using international business networks, and undertaking trade missions, including the resources and tools available to successfully carry out these techniques. The session concludes with a discussion of solutions to FDI pitfalls such as language, culture, and regulation.

Day 3 - December 1

12:00 – 12:45 PM

A website is often the first contact someone has with a community, organization or company and is arguably the most important marketing tool in today’s world. In this session, participants will learn about the key components of a highly effective website and how to best ensure your message and brand are being communicated online.

12:45 – 1:45 PM

Online Marketing and Lead Generation
Online marketing goes beyond a website. This session will explore the vast opportunities to be had when an organization takes on a marketing strategy that includes the targeted, measurable, and interactive promotion of a community, state or region. Participants will also learn how to use digital technologies to reach and convert leads into customers and retain them is key in today’s competitive atmosphere.

1:45- 2:00 PM

Short Break

2:00– 3:00 PM

Social Media
Communication and marketing isn't what it used to be. Today you have many channels to reach your audience. This session will focus on communications using social media. Topics will include changes in how communication is happening, who is now doing the communicating, where conversations about your communities are happening, and how you can successfully use social media to engage your targets. Topics will include major social platforms.

Day 4 - December 8

12:00 – 1:00 PM

Case Studies
This session will lead participants through a series of case studies that recap and illustrate the concepts discussed throughout the course. Case studies will include: • Rural/Small Community Marketing for Success • Regional Marketing for Success • Branding

1:00 – 1:10 PM

Short Break

1:10- 3:00 PM

Group Interactive Session: Creation of a Marketing Plan
You’ve learned the pieces; now put that knowledge to work. In this session, participants will work in groups to create a marketing plan for a community and share the results.


* Agenda subject to change




Julie Curtin
Partner and President, Economic Development
Denver, CO

Before joining Development Counsellors International in 1994, Julie coordinated media placements and special events for prominent clients at Howard J. Rubenstein Associates, a New York-based public relations firm specializing in real estate, entertainment and celebrity accounts. Julie opened “DCI West,” based in Denver, Colorado, in 1998 and became a DCI partner in March 2002. Julie is a frequent speaker for cities, regions, states and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) on the topics of economic development marketing, talent attraction, social media and public relations. The following are a few of Julie’s notable results:

- On behalf of her San Diego client, Julie designed a marketing campaign focused on promoting the clean tech industry which, among other articles, resulted in a feature story in Genetic Engineering News titled “San Diego Pioneers Clean Tech Solutions.”

- In conjunction with the governor of New Mexico’s travel to San Francisco, Julie arranged face-to-face interviews for this state leader with reporters at Investor’s Business Daily, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today, resulting in two feature articles about New Mexico’s high-tech climate.

- Julie worked directly with the Foreign Press Centers based in Los Angeles and New York to coordinate group press trips to DCI client locations, such as New Mexico, Irvine, Indianapolis and Wyoming, resulting in excellent international media coverage – across Asia and Europe – for these locales.

- Within three months of the start of DCI’s partnership with the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., Julie placed articles about the Mile High City’s business climate in The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor and The Economist.

Sandy Sponaugle
Founder and CEO
Platinum PR
Frederick, MD

Sandy Sponaugle is a Marketing and PR consultant for economic development and tourism-based organizations looking to upscale their results and empower their multi-generational staff with cutting-edge social media, internet marketing, and traditional media strategies.

Sandy is the CEO/Founder of Platinum PR, an economic development marketing and public relations firm supporting economic development professionals across the east coast. Founded in 2002, Platinum PR creates & implements customized communications plans to help communities grow and diversify their economies and job opportunities for residents.

Sandy is a graduate of Shepherd University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and business administration. She started her career as a Research Specialist at the Jefferson County Development Authority in Charles Town, WV and most recently as a Business Development Specialist in the Frederick County Office of Economic Development in Frederick, MD.

Sandy is an active member of industry organizations such as the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and has instructed the “Marketing & Business Attraction” course as part of the Chesapeake Basic Economic Development Course for the past six years. She is an active member of community organizations such as the Shepherdstown Rotary, and leadership programs such as Leadership Maryland. She has received rewards such as the PR Professional of the Year by The American Advertising Federation – Greater Frederick.

Ben Wright
Boulder, CO

Ben Wright, Founder and CEO of Atlas Integrated, started exploring cities and traveling at a really young age, inspired by my Grandfather, who had epic stories of the road from his time as a Broadway and traveling stage actor. I do now for work what I would do if I wasn’t working: get to know places inside and out. And, when I’m not working, I’m lugging my wife and three daughters all over Denver and the western US. Ben has done a variety of things that have evolved around one thing - a passion for connecting people to places, and great experiences. The companies he has founded include, Atlas Advertising, Community Systems, and Upsuite, and have grown to serve hundreds of customers in 48 states and six countries.

He knows enough to be dangerous about design and technology, but what he really knows is how human beings use modern tools to engage with experiences - places they visit, places they are considering buying or leasing real estate in, places they are thinking about locating a business in, and places they want to work in.



  CEcD logo

This course meets the professional development requirements for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) exam. CEcDs earn recertification credits for participation.




By Oct 9

Oct 10 - Nov 6

*After Nov 6

IEDC Member








Full Time Student**




*Walk-in registrations will be accepted. Full payment must be made on-site in order to attend the course.

** Copy of current transcript required.

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Refunds less a $75 cancellation fee will be issued for all cancellations received in writing to fax: (202) 223-4745 or email: prodev@iedconline.org at least 10 business days prior to the course - please allow 3-4 weeks. All registrations regardless of payment status are subject to the $75 cancellation fee. No refunds or credit transfers to a future course will be issued for cancellations received within 10 business days of the course. Telephone cancellations are not accepted. Attendee substitutions for a course may be made at any time prior to the course.