Orlando, Are We “Future-Ready”?

Mood: Slightly miffed.

I just read an article in the Orlando Business Journal—which is a bastion of list stories like 40 Under 40 and Top Central Florida Law Firmscalling attention to a list that strangely doesn’t include Orlando.

The list of top 25 future-ready cities, developed by Dell Inc. and Harvard University, begins with San Jose and ends with Philadelphia. Not one Florida city in the mix. Here’s what they were looking for:

*The ability to attract people who are engaged in and open to lifelong learning that drives innovation.

*Businesses that thrive in collaborative environments.

*Infrastructure that provides platforms for people to engage, collaborate, learn and innovate.

Maybe I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, but last time I checked, Orlando was a forward-thinking kinda town. At this point, I could rave about the incentives we offer to tech-driven companies relocating or expanding to our area, or about flourishing co-working spaces like Canvs that provide collaborative work environments, but I’d be scratching the surface.

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Instead, let me ask you a question: Is your business future-ready?

Are you constantly learning about new developments not only in your industry but in marketing practices? Are you collaborating with your in-house team, partners and brand advocates to ensure that your message is being amplified and that you’re engaging your audience? Do you have measurable goals for all your marketing programs?

If you haven’t already future-proofed your company with a transparent approach to marketing, start today:

  1. Keep everyone at your company up to speed on your marketing efforts. If they don’t read your blog, receive your company eNewsletter or follow your business’s social media accounts, they’re probably clueless about your message. As they live and work in the community, your employees encounter potential clients and customers every day. Equip them with a message that’s aligned with your brand’s values.
  2. Transform your employees into brand advocates. Every company has that “GO TEAM” contingent that wears the logo-branded shirt and tells the world how much they love their jobs. And, every team has its detractors, too. Tip the scales by inviting team members to participate in marketing sessions. Welcome their ideas for marketing content. Give them opportunities to participate in creating your brand message. Every study on the topic shows that employees who are valued are happier.
  3. Follow up on your marketing efforts by building relationships with your “likers.” You’ve made a post on your company’s Linkedin page, and it’s gotten some traction. Ten people “liked” it, and one commented. Now what? Find out who these people are. Most likely, if you don’t know these likers, someone at your company does, and there should be an internal forum for connecting these dots (and a follow-up plan). Those who find social media useless for business probably aren’t recognizing that likes, comments and shares open the door to real-life conversations. Ask your staff to help you devise a follow-up plan that leverages their relationships and is comfortable, not awkward. Measure your marketing efforts by the relationships that are being built. It’s not enough that you’ve achieved a 45% open rate on your eNewsletter, or that your site traffic is up thanks to good SEO. It’s what happens next that counts.

Why do actions like these help to future-proof your company? One of the essential ingredients of a growing company is healthy relationships both internally and externally.

How are you future-proofing your company? Tweet us your thoughts at @orlcontent.

Sarah Kinbar

Sarah Ristorcelli is Co-founder of Orlando Content Marketing. She is a writer and editor with 20 years of experience in publishing and communications.