The projects are closely linked together. Through a household survey and several focus groups in 2007 the researchers learned that new rural residents in Nebraska were not always finding the information they needed to make good relocation decisions. New residents were telling the team that rural communities could do a better job marketing themselves to potential new residents. The second study is taking that insight and conducting more in-depth research. The research team is working with several pilot communities to develop not only a community-led marketing process but several new tools that communities can use in developing and implementing a marketing plan. The Community Marketing Project was designed to include: 1) rural community stakeholders as partners in a participant research model; 2) the application of marketing concepts to the problem of workforce development; 3) Extension education focused on the design and evaluation of recruitment and retention strategies; and 4) the use of the Internet as a marketing tool for residential recruitment and retention.
For a visual summary of the project view The Rural Futures Conference video poster, shared May 8-10th in Lincoln, Nebraska.