For at least the past eight years, the Economic Development Alliance has been coordinating a comprehensive marketing program in order to generate prospects for Jefferson County with the goal of attracting new capital investments and jobs.

Certain core industrial sectors are targeted in this marketing effort. Identified sectors are those pinpointed as having the most advantages for locating here, based on our community’s infrastructure and similar facilities already operating in the area. Of course, new industrial sectors are also encouraged to join the local mix.

The marketing plan has two main elements: advertising the community and direct contact with decision-makers. Advertising utilizes a variety of vehicles, including modern methods like websites, search engine optimization, social media, digital ads and email campaigns. Then there’s the more traditional — but still effective — practice of placing print advertisements in trade journals. Direct contact is just that: meeting directly with site consultants and representatives of companies within the target span.

All these marketing components focus on capturing the attention of site selectors and other location decision-makers. And up until now, that focus has been primarily nation-wide in scope — even though the Internet puts local information in the hands of users of the World Wide Web.

Starting this June, however, the Alliance stepped up its marketing efforts by kicking off a digital campaign in China. Some of the same national advertisements on the Internet are being used, but they have been translated into Mandarin Chinese to reach a wider potential client base.

The ads are targeted directly toward China’s highly industrialized areas where operating costs are skyrocketing. When executives there enter certain key words (like economic development or investing in U.S.) in their web browsers, the Jefferson County ads pop up. To provide even more information about our community, a translated “landing page” about Jefferson County will show up whenever the links in the digital ads are clicked.

The China marketing strategy was coordinated by the Alliance’s director of economic development, Caleb McMahon, who previously spent about 10 years living and working in the central eastern coastal region of China. McMahon is familiar with the industrial zones of Suzhou and Shanghai and believes the plan could result in more industrial prospects for Jefferson County. He should find out in the coming months if that’s true because his contact information is listed in the ads.