September 29, 2021

Talent Attraction is Business Attraction

Earlier this month, a large group gathered on the sun deck of the Peoria Riverfront Museum to launch Greater Peoria 2030, a dynamic multi-media marketing campaign aimed at attracting people to our region.  The initiative is dedicated to amplifying the facts and stories that we know to be true: Greater Peoria is a special place to live, work and grow. Greater affordability and connectivity translates into a better overall quality of life for all.

I was joined at the podium with some great partners: Joshua Gunn of the CEO Council, JD Dalfonso of Discover Peoria, Amy McCoy of the Pekin Chamber of Commerce, and Randy McDaniels of McDaniels Marketing — the firm chosen to help with the effort. We were also joined in the crowd by our other partners (Morton and East Peoria Chamber and the Downtown Development Corporation). The event had great press, including an excellent report by WCBU

Greater Peoria 2030 hopes to attract people to move to our region, first through a concentrated campaign of targeted social media and out of home advertising in the Chicago area. “True Urban, Boundless Country” delivers the message that you can really live the life you want in Greater Peoria. Want to enjoy the city life but live on a farm? We’ve got that. Want to live in a downtown loft but hike in a state park? Yep, that’s here too. “More Living, Less Traffic” is a nod towards the undeniable fact that you get more of your life back with our short commutes.  But the messaging about Greater Peoria’s affordability and quality are just as important to be heard by the audience of people who are already here. Our current citizens are our best ambassadors.

While the initiative is centered around attracting talent to our community, it could also be labelled as a business attraction strategy, and even a business retention one. New people bring new ideas. As a region, we need to support the entrepreneurial spirit through efforts like Distillery Labs and build a great ecosystem for founders so newcomers can grow those ideas into businesses. Given the mobility of businesses today, some people might move to our region with their entire companies — we need to be able to support that too. Work-from-anywhere employees will bring new connections to different companies and give us an opportunity to show our community (as an example, we recently landed a relocating employee who works for Tesla). And while nothing will ever replace the importance of a robust workforce development system that prepares our citizens for employment, creating a wider funnel of possible workers is important when our existing businesses are looking to fill gaps.

Look for more on the Greater Peoria 2030 initiative in the weeks and months ahead. The marketing campaign is first, but we also are working on a “welcome wagon” program to greet our new residents and are exploring creating incentives to relocate. While the initial project has been funded by the partners I mentioned above, we will need a lot of help from our public and private partners to make this a truly successful campaign. Let me know if you want to help.