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Written by Jon Hall, Marketing Manager, Capital Wales

Inward Investment marketing isn’t known for innovation, its old school I.e. place a few adverts in a magazine, run a competition and attend a few events, well that’s what Capital Wales did before I joined in August 2011 anyway.

On joining the Capital Wales partnership I realised that things had to change, the way we marketed was very traditional, it was expensive, had very little return on investment and the world around us had changed. The original website was little more than a brochure which basically said, “need to know more call us”, when I spoke to clients it was clear they wanted the information they needed there and then – most clients shortlist locations before contacting organisations like Capital Wales, so the more information online the better.

The biggest challenge throughout had been one that is imbedded in the industry, we simply do not know who our potential clients are and the chances of finding that business who wants to make the move to South Wales at that point in time is pretty remote, so short sharp campaigns don’t work for us, we needed a strategy that had longevity, this caused it’s own problems as our funding is on an annual basis, which meant we needed a annual strategy that had longevity. The approach was to develop a basic strategy and then set annual objectives and KPIs that fulfilled the strategies brief.

We decided to create a website that would become a focal point for all our activities, promote our services heavily on social media – twitter and LinkedIn being the prime channels, although like most we have dabbled in a bit of Google+ – backed up with a regular e-zine to existing clients reminding them of our core services and providing a regional news roundup.

Luckily we were able to find a half-decent 😉 digital agency in Cardiff (no guesses who!) to help with the evolution. In the two years of working with Spindogs, we’ve also experimented with SEO and adwords; the SEO has worked really well for us and continues to do so.

Quite quickly into the evolution we realised that it was all well and good broadcasting our message of how good it is to work/live/play in South Wales, but they were just words, and to be frank they were the same words that all our competition used, we needed to do something different, so we decided the best way forward was to get the business community of South Wales to sell the region for us. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then a video series would say millions! With the help of Spindogs and Lloyd Morgan Productions we went out and about South Wales interviewing a whole variety of businesses, networking clubs, and success stories and asked key figures within those organisations why they love being in South Wales, of the 20+ videos launched so far not one person has given us the same answer! The videos are now a vital part of our marketing, they fit well with our website content and are easily shareable with potential clients, especially when we are able to send a video of a company already located in the region who operates in the same sector.

The result of this evolution of the Capital Wales marketing has seen the number of projects landing on our desks at Capital Wales HQ double, all KPIs smashed and the partnership being named in an independent inward investment social media index as the number one organisation in Wales (in fact we were the only one to make the top 40) and in the top 20 for the UK!

The future for Capital Wales marketing will see more investment in video content, SEO and content creation; our new blog, which attempts to provide an insight into the partnership and the business community of South East Wales, has been a real success with more to come including guest blogs from some of our partners and success stories. This year we will also be dabbling into the world of Rugby Union with sponsorship and advertising at one of the Welsh regions. Exciting Times!

Check out the Capital Wales videos here!

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