27 May 2015

5 Reasons to use infographics for economic development

Alissa Sklar is the director of marketing for GIS Planning. She has extensive experience as a consultant, writer and educator in the fields of technology and communications. Dr. Sklar has a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts of Amherst, and has as worked closely with B2Bs and economic development agencies to assess, develop and implement social media strategies for business development.

The outstanding growth of interest in infographics has been one of the dominant stories in marketing since 2010, whether you are talking economic development or equipment financing.  Google Trends data documents the massive increase in interest in these clever, graphic illustrations of data. Our new Community Profile Infographics have made it easy and affordable to economic development organizations across the U.S. to build these smart data tools directly on to your website pages - see the State of Idaho and the City of Maricopa (AZ) for two live examples. 

Learn more about using infographics and online data tools for place marketing: Register for our Webinar on Wednesday, June 3rd 2-2:30 p.m. EDT. 

While the stratospheric popularity of infographics makes good sense at first glance, we thought you'd appreciate this roundup of five more specific reasons to incorporate them into your place marketing. 

Top industries jobs infographic economic development

Reason #1: Lack of time.

Site selectors and potential investors are busy people. They need to pore over hundreds of economic development organization websites to find the data they need to make their short lists. Too many EDO websites make that task irrationally difficult, hiding key data clicks deep, or putting links in non-intuitive places. And way too many of them just don't offer the reliable, robust, up-to-date data investors need. Community Profile Infographics and other smart data tools put that information front and center, in formats that are quick to absorb and easier to recall, as in the example on the right.

Reason #2: Data is too boring to read.

Let's face it, consumer spending and labor force information is important, but it isn't going to get anyone excited. Infographics visualize data immediately, and the appealing format keeps them on your website longer.

Social media sharing economic development

Reason #3: Infographics are great for sharing.

"Let's post this long static list of text to LinkedIn," said no one ever. Infographics are built for sharing, making place marketing that much easier. Just click the Share buttons at the top of the screen and let the magic happen. 

Reason #4: Graphics illustrate relationships and comparisons at a glance.

The beautiful, sleek layout of Community Profile Infographics is designed to showcase time series (for age distribution, top 5 industries by jobs and total employees), and numbers of employees by business size. Graphics show education attainment, labor force growth, and the relative breakdown of existing white collar and blue collar occupations, for example. The housing breakdown at right instantly shows the ratio of owners to renters, compared with the national averages. 

Housing Infographic Economic Development

Reason #5: Infographics are more persuasive than text alone.

The human brain is wired to quickly understand pictorial, not text data, according to this literature review on infographics as marketing communication. Processing text takes place in a set of steps, word by word, whereas a picture is immediately processed as a whole. Today's Internet audience is bombarded with an unrelenting flow of information, and the average person reads only 20% of words on a web page (Smiciklas, 2012). There is a clear need for short, clear and concise communication, and research has demonstrated the effectiveness of infographics in establishing stronger engagement with website viewers than text alone. 

Want to know more? Register for our free, 30-minute webinar Wednesday, June 3rd (2-2:30 p.m. EDT) to see how infographics and smart data tools are completely changing the nature of economic development marketing online. You can also contact us to learn how infographics and online data tools can improve your economic development organization website. 


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