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Yes, that’s a Teddy Roosevelt quote, BUT, if you are an economic developer you are in the business of being compared and of selling comparisons.  For my next few posts, I’ll talk about some recommendations and pitfalls in designing your own comparative data visualizations.  To start, think about who your audience is.  Not all of the comparisons you use for your stakeholder audience are as impactful for your prospect audience.

Your stakeholder audience wants to see evidence of progress over time, to see that they are getting their money’s worth out of their investment in your area, and to feel good about beating the competition, even if it’s just the county next door. You want them to feel those things too.

Your prospect audience is much less concerned about how things used to be – they weren’t there then, and their focus is on today and the choice between you and somewhere else.  That “somewhere else” probably isn’t the county next door either, at least not in the early stags of a broad – based site search.

So here’s a little cheat sheet for you to keep in mind:

table with internal and external audience comparisons

And in my next few posts I’ll explore some other aspects of getting comparisons just right.