Top States for Doing Business 2013 Consultant Commentary: Are the Top-10 States for Doing Business Just Better at Marketing Themselves?
Consultants are no more immune to persuasive marketing than other site selectors, and the survey results may just point to the effectiveness of marketing campaigns in the top-10 states.
Andrew H. Shapiro, Managing Director, Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company (Q3 / Summer 2013)
Reviewing the 2013 survey results, I am struck by the consistency with which the southeastern states have captured
the top spots in almost every category. There can be only one of two explanations for this: either Texas, South
Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida indeed comprise the best locations for all manner of new jobs and
investments, or these states are simply better at promoting themselves. While I have high regard for the business
climate across much of the Southeast (indeed our firm just had two project announcements in South Carolina and
Florida), I tend to favor the latter explanation.
The fact is that we consultants are no more immune to persuasive marketing than are any other site selectors.
Yes, we have our data and our models and our years of cumulative experience; however, we also tend to be more
frequent readers/viewers of the trade journals and websites that economic developers use to position their markets;
and let’s face it, we are much more likely to host a southeastern delegation in our offices, and share the podium with
such colleagues at conferences. What other explanation can there be when Colorado does not show up at or near
the top for skilled labor availability (Denver has one of the highest concentrations of engineers in the country), or
when South Carolina and Georgia are rated as having one of the most favorable corporate tax environments despite
the fact that the Tax Foundation places both states well in the bottom half of its rankings? And, finally, how is that
New Jersey is absent from the rankings of top state incentive programs when its BEIP program has enabled companies
to benefit from as much as $50,000 in grants for each new job created, its Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit can
erase between 80 percent to 100 percent of qualifying investments in the major cities, and its BRRAG incentive has
been among the strongest state job retention programs in the country?
Looking at the big picture, what this survey says to me is that economic developers in the Northeast, Midwest, and
even the West need to take a long hard look at the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. They are just not
working very well, are they?
Top States For Doing Business 2013
Full Rankings and Results
Top State's Analysis
- 2.tSouth Carolina
- 5.North Carolina