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marketing rural communities to attract and retain workers in a changing economy september 29 2011 n.
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Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, University of Nebraska Extension

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  1. Marketing Rural Communities to Attract and Retain Workers in a Changing EconomySeptember 29, 2011 Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, University of Nebraska Extension Other Nebraska team members include: Randy Cantrell, Charlotte Narjes, Becky Vogt, Bruce Johnson and Connie Hancock

  2. PROJECT OVERVIEW Purpose: Apply innovative marketing concepts and methods to attract new residents to rural communities and regions. • Research & Extension Components: • Household surveys of new residents • Labor vacancy surveys • Consumer focus groups • Face to face – existing new residents • Online – potential new residents • Community application and use

  3. PROJECT OVERVIEW • Who are the partner communities? • North Dakota • Stanley • Underwood • South Dakota • Edgemont–Hot Springs • Groton • Nebraska • Sidney • Wayne

  4. HOUSEHOLD SURVEY OVERVIEW Employment Brought Many to Region • Most new residents are employed. • Majority have college degrees • Nearly 50% in all communities earn more than $50,000

  5. HOUSEHOLD SURVEY OVERVIEW Environmental Factors Key Motivation for those moving to Hot Springs/Edgemont When asked to rate community and life factors: In four of the communities - new residents indicated satisfaction with natural scenic or recreational activities.

  6. HOUSEHOLD SURVEY OVERVIEW • Family Considerations were Important • Underwood – cost of living and • quality time with family • Groton – family related reasons • Wayne – family ties & employment • Stanley – family ties & employment • Sidney – employment & family time • Hot Springs/Edgemont – environmental reasons

  7. LABOR VACANCY SURVEY OVERVIEW • Labor Vacancy Survey • Conducted to determine area workforce requirements • Self-administered questionnaire mailed in August and September 2009 • Used purchased mailing lists • Data weighted to reflect the population of employers in the region • Weights derived from secondary data sources, specifically County Business Patterns from US Census.

  8. LABOR VACANCY SURVEY OVERVIEW • Sample Summary from One Community: • Almost all new hires come from local area • Most applicants match job requirements fairly well • Most firms anticipate difficulty in filling future openings with qualified applicants. • Admin/sales/services openings - great difficulty

  9. DATA SYNTHESIS OVERVIEW • Synthesis Process: • Combined data from Household and Labor Vacancy Surveys • Identified key themes • Example: Firms have difficulty recruiting professional and managerial workers. • Identified potential strategies to address the issues • Examples: Devise better advertisement strategies. Mentoring/contact with professionals who have lived in community for some time.

  10. FOCUS GROUP OVERVIEW • Focus Groups • Two types: • Online focus groups • Face to face focus groups • Attempt to better understand how images portray community characteristics

  11. FOCUS GROUP OVERVIEW Online Focus Groups • Separate surveys were developed for each community • Participants are potential new residents • Target = 180 participants (30 from each community)

  12. FOCUS GROUP OVERVIEW Images are critical in marketing…

  13. Please tell us about your impression of the community portrayed in the picture?

  14. FOCUS GROUP OVERVIEW Another way to understand images… • Describe this phrase in a picture: • Quality Time With Family • Affordable Cost of Living • Less Congested Place to Live

  15. FOCUS GROUP OVERVIEW

  16. How do you pull this into a plan?

  17. Market Planning Process • New Resident Research • Who is coming now and what brought them here? • What types of skills /expertise does our community need? • Identifying Target Markets • What groups match up with our community characteristics? • What is our competitive advantage based on our assets? • Developing the Message/Reaching the Market • What are the benefits/value to the targeted groups? (these mesh with a community brand) • What is an overall marketing message? (incorporates brand logo. slogan and/or image) • What techniques do we use to reach these groups? • Implementation & Evaluation fit fit We can’t do a lot about… Competition Legal/Political Demographics Technology Culture Physical Environment Economy What assets can we build on? We can do something about… Community Vision/Mission Marketing Goals Strategies /Actions Culture that “Welcomes” Community Infrastructure Visual First Impression What assets can we build on?

  18. Population - 1,356 • Within 20 miles of Aberdeen • Strong family ties to community

  19. HOUSEHOLD SURVEY • Family Considerations were Important • Underwood – cost of living and • quality time with family • Groton – family related reasons • Wayne – family ties & employment • Stanley – family ties & employment • Sidney – employment & family time • Hot Springs/Edgemont – environmental reasons

  20. Of the 490 workers who live in Groton, 246 (50 %) are employed in Aberdeen Groton Aberdeen Aberdeen (approx. 25,000 population) has 53 people employed in Groton

  21. Groton, SD: Industry in 2006 • Total number of establishments = 79 entities. • Total number of employees in Groton = 471

  22. Local research based discussion… • For example, why do you think newly hired professionals tend to leave Groton after one year? • Informed conversation • Pulled in several research components • Lifted issues that might have been buried

  23. As a result of a community discussion – affordable housing was lifted up

  24. Population - 6,282 • 200 miles from Denver, located on I-80 • Home of a national retail headquarters: 1,300 workers in Sidney - more expected

  25. HOUSEHOLD SURVEY • Family Considerations were Important • Underwood – cost of living and • quality time with family • Groton – family related reasons • Wayne – family ties & employment • Stanley – family ties & employment • Sidney – employment & family time • Hot Springs/Edgemont – environmental reasons

  26. HOUSEHOLD SURVEY Moved to Obtain a Higher Paying Job

  27. HOUSEHOLD SURVEY Usefulness of Recruitment Information from Employer in Making Decision to Move

  28. HOUSEHOLD SURVEY How Helpful Welcome Information Was in Helping Adapt to New Community

  29. LABOR VACANCY SURVEY • Length of Employment … • 231 (39%) of new hires stay 1-3 years. • 181 (30%) stay4-10 years. • 106 (18%) stay for over 10 years. • 54 (9%) leave within one year. • Admin/sales/services hires stay 1-3 years • Production/transport/trades stay 4-10 years • Professional/manager hires stay less than 1 year or 4-10 years • Healthcare support hires stay 1-3 years or 4-10 years

  30. It is about jobs….

  31. … and the community

  32. NEXT STEPS • Work closely with community groups… • What are the priorities? • First steps? • What can the community realistically do? • Who needs to be involved? • What resources are needed?

  33. NEXT STEPS As a research team… • Document process and share tools used: • case study format • Nebraska, Great Plains, nationally • Develop “how-to” materials: • Extension & non-Extension audience • Contribute to national eXtension database

  34. NEXT STEPS • For more information: • http://cari.unl.edu/ • Go to Research • then go to Community Marketing

  35. Marketing Rural Communities to Attract and Retain Workers in a Changing EconomySeptember 29, 2011 Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, University of Nebraska Extension Other Nebraska team members include: Randy Cantrell, Charlotte Narjes, Becky Vogt, Bruce Johnson and Connie Hancock