Secret from 044: Measuring Economic Development Metrics

This month’s podcast special guest is Christian Fletcher, Executive Director of the Marble Falls EDC. He discusses what economic development metrics his organization measures and shares how he shares them with stakeholders:

Well, I’m kind of a data nerd and so the EDC has become kind of the spokesperson for what’s happening in the community as a whole. So we tracked sales tax receipts and hotel tax receipts and gross sales and building permits and that kind of stuff. And we are not shy about sharing when good things are happening from that standpoint on social media. We track new businesses through CO’s issued by the Development Services Department. And we’re fortunate in that we have between 90 and 110 new businesses open in Marble Falls each year. And of those, about 70% of them are locally owned and operated. And then the other 30% kind of switches back and forth between regional operations and national operations.

So we do track business activity and of course employees. And then on the EDC side, more specifically of course we use Google Analytics to measure website activity. We also subscribe to software programs to see who is on our site, what they’re monitoring. And then we track prospects and leads by industry and track our followers on social media by platform. And then we package all that and share it with our board on a monthly basis. I include it all in my presentations and updates that I do for City Council and other civic organizations in the community.

We look for trends. Knowing that one data point does not make the trend, but we see for example on social media when we post video versus static posts. And when we boost posts versus when we don’t boost posts. And just kind of stay actively involved on monitoring. If you’re going to engage in social media, you kind of need to know that it is having a result. And so we track that. And it helps us each time we’re deciding how to use media hopefully to get a little bit better at it every time we issue a post in the way that we go about tracking it and making sure that it hits the audience how we want it to reach.

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