InternetCoast marketing South Florida to world to lure high-tech business
By Sherri C. Ranta
InternetCoast's first worldwide marketing campaign promoting South Florida as a great place for high tech will continue through summer in the US and selected European cities.
The South Florida branding and promotions group joined the statewide $1.5 million Team Florida Marketing Campaign this year coordinated by Enterprise Florida, said Kelly Smallridge, senior vice president of operations for Business Development Board of Palm Beach County. The board and economic development agencies from Broward and Palm Beach provide day-to-day staff for the all-volunteer InternetCoast, a 501 (c) 3 organization run.
The marketing campaign plans print advertisements in magazines such as "Forbes," "Fast Company," "Newsweek," "Red Herring" and "US News and World Report." Radio spots on National Public Radio are also in the works.
InternetCoast, and the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County and Broward Alliance together contributed $50,000 to the effort, Ms. Smallridge said. The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade's economic development agency, committed funds to Team Florida Marketing Campaign, but not through InternetCoast.
The goals of the campaign, Ms. Smallridge said, are to promote name recognition of the region, to promote South Florida as a place for all types of technology companies and to promote a website for prospective companies interested in more information.
"They will go to the website and see a man using the website on the beach. A form will come up, asking the reader to submit information regarding their needs," Ms. Smallridge said.
"This information will be automatically distributed to the three economic development agencies in the counties. The agencies will then send the companies their own packets of information."
Enterprise Florida spokesperson Kim Prunty said the campaign began in October and will target nationwide distribution and some specific markets such as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and New York City.
The theme of the campaign, she said, is Florida as the Innovation Hub of the Americas. Print advertisements were developed to highlight six regions of the state.
The South Florida advertisement, Ms. Prunty said, will focus on the region's telecommunications infrastructure that is "powerful enough to be the Internet gateway to all of Latin America."
"This is the largest marketing campaign we've ever done. So many organizations have come together for the same cause. That's what makes this campaign so special."
Ms. Punty said Enterprise Florida is expected to return to the Florida Legislature next year to ask for continued money for other campaigns.
"We are going to ask for the continuation of $1 million, but we would like for it to be $4 million for the next three years."
In addition to money from the legislature, the local economic development agencies and other statewide organizations representing 55 counties contributed $450,000 to the campaign. In addition to InternetCoast, other contributors were Cornerstone Regional Development Partnership, eSouthwest Florida, Florida's Great Northwest, Metro Orlando EDC, Tampa Bay Partnership, the Beacon Council, Florida High Tech Corridor and Lee County.