National Business Incubation Association; Your source for knowledge and networks in business incubation

Eight tips for powerhouse, cost-effective marketing

by Corinne Colbert

June 2007

You know all the reasons why you should be marketing your incubation program. First and foremost, good marketing can help keep your incubator full, and maintaining a full incubator is the linchpin of a sustainable program. “Success depends on keeping a steady flow of viable clients into the incubator,” says Charles D’Agostino, executive director of the Louisiana Business & Technology Center in Baton Rouge, La.

Even when your incubator is full and you have a waiting list, though, you still need to market the program. Marketing isn’t just about clients. It’s about distinguishing your incubation program from your competition, whether that competition comes from other incubators or from other economic development initiatives or commercial landlords. (Remember, you’re competing not only for clients, but also for funding and other forms of support.) Marketing is how you establish and maintain your program’s reputation within the community. Through marketing, you attract not only new clients, but also partners and sponsors who can support and sustain your incubation program.

The big question, though, is how to do it? What’s the best way to keep your program in the public eye without adding a staff member or breaking the budget?

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Keywords: market research -- incubator, marketing and promotion, partnerships -- organizational/corporate, student intern

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