Measuring Success with the Right Metrics 

MEDA’s 2018 Annual Conference theme, Telling Your Story, Robert Camoin, President and CEO of Camoin Associates presented a session that focused on how to measure success with the right metrics in your economic development organizations. The session discussed how not every economic development organizations story is the same, which is why it is important to understand your audience, what is important to decision makers, and to capture the right data to tell the right story. Some highlights of the session are included below, but I highly recommend checking out the presentation, where you can find further details. Here are some key takeaways—

Why metrics became so important for economic developers?

Outcomes and results not captured cannot be measured or messaged; identifying the right metrics have become very important for the economic developer. The four common variables most used include, job creation, capital investment, changes in the tax base, and tax revenue. However, broadening trends in economic development have expanded the metric categories.

What are the core metrics economic developers should be capturing?  

The importance of prioritizing metrics and focusing on only what data will be informative and used for decision-making is essential. This will result three categories of data–core metrics, important metrics, and bonus metrics.

What’s happing across the county in other economic developer organizations?

Highlights of current case studies are provided below; the presentation will provide access to each state strategic initiative.

City of Portland ME—Economic Scorecards

  • Every 5-year review metrics—update annually
  • Align what they are tracking to their vision—focus on community
  • Benchmark against other cities

City of Fort Collins, CO—Community performance measurement dashboard 

7 goal areas—tied back to the city strategic plan—one which is specific to economic development. Programs targeting industries, business retention, and expansion

Rhode Island Economic Development Scorecard— 

  • Internal an external scorecard tracking systems
  • Inspired from a failed tax dollar investment
  • Created a comprehensible dashboard to track metrics

State of VA—Virginia performs

Gives a snapshot of trends and government influence in each factor, measures whether the government has a direct or indirect involvement in improving each metric.

Greater MSP regional indicators dashboard

Benchmarking against other regions in Greater Minneapolis. Categories are measured against other cities used as economic comparisons—providing a rating comparison for business investors.

Loudoun County VA—Using metrics to tell their story 

Personal stories used a part of the messaging as storytelling.

Saratoga Economic Development Corp: Economic and fiscal impact analysis  

Interviews with assisted businesses revealed the extensive impact they had through supplier business. Focus was on business/projects that if not for their assistance they would not have been successful.

How to tell your story with metrics?

Tracking your efforts—is essential. Next bring the numbers into the storytelling; market the outcomes, include real life stories—people’s lives that changes, results of the business growing, changes to the community.

How do you get started?  

Robert recommends considering your target audience—-who are you talking to and what do they care about. Does your organization have a strategy? List programs and initiatives that are in place, create a list of data that can be easily tracked—refer back to the strategy, determine the frequency of tracking, and finally have a system to track in.

Recommendations and conclusion

  • Start with a strategic plan—align metrics with strategy—what can you measure to know if you are hitting the mark, and if the strategy working?
  • Take the outcomes of your metrics to your stakeholders—use this data to get investment.
  • Reporting— it is good, but use the reported information to make improvements.
  • Set a timeline for data reviews in order to track the changes that resulted.
  • Tell real stories it’s essential.
  • Other regions doing with innovative strategic initiatives:

Slides for this presentation can be found at,

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