Judging the MAEDC marketing materials competition for 2019 made clear what we have all noticed – in many places, focus and resources have been redeployed from business recruitment to talent recruitment. So who are the targets now, and how to you know when you have succeeded? I’d say you have three targets: those who happen to be in your community already, those who once were in your community, and those who never have been. Those who happen to be there include people who were born there, or who came there in some manner that could be termed accidental or unintentional – maybe a trailing spouse or children, maybe someone stationed there by the military. Those who once were in your community include people who grew up there but moved away intentionally, or who followed others who moved away. Those who never have been, well, never have been.
Attracting people from each of these groups might require a different strategy, or overlapping strategies, but your goals should be the same. The first goal is to convert those already there and those not yet there from accidental or circumstantial citizens into intentional citizens, people who have made a specific choice to be there. That’s not the end, though. When you successfully convert people from intentional citizens to engaged citizens, you harness enthusiasm and commitment, the most authentic resource you could ask for, worth more than any “best places to live” list will ever give.