The 5 most important reasons to use place marketing

The 5 most important reasons to use place marketing [+ CASE STUDY]

Globalization makes cities look more and more alike which creates a need to differentiate. Place marketing is the perfect tool to create a unique positioning for your city. We have listed the 5 most important reasons to support this statement. 

Why do you need to use place marketing?

1. Competition

The activities of businesses are becoming less and less location bound through technological developments. Next to this, the amount of job offers is expanding through the upcoming service industry. People can also easily move around and have access to infinite sources of information. This globalization makes the world seem smaller. 

Nowadays, not only a neighbouring city is targeting the same target audience as you. A metropolis on the other side of the world is also targeting the same target groups as you. 

All of that makes the competition between cities increase. This causes that every city currently has a need to differentiate themselves in order to stay competitive. Place marketing is the perfect tool to position your city and compete with other cities since it's about positioning and being unique. 

2. Image

Often, cities are using some city branding techniques, by creating a logo and a slogan for their city. These are good starters but there is more much to place marketing.  

Every city has to deal with vacant retail premises, abandoned business spaces, criminality, strikes, unemployment, budget shortfalls etc. Most of the time, they are overwhelmed with different matters and their image only suffers. How a city faces these different issues determines how its image is affected.

Place marketing is necessary to create a good image for your city. Start by talking with some of your stakeholders and ask them how they perceive your city. This will provide you with feedback that you can use to boost your strategy. 

The ultimate goal when it comes to place marketing is transforming your stakeholders into ambassadors. The realisation of creating a good image has been underestimated many times. It takes a while to position your city with the desired image. 

The Atypical Antwerp campaign, for example, was started after various studies showed that Antwerp wasn’t that well known worldwide. The city on the Scheldt realised that the view of the world on Antwerp is decisive in terms of how the various target groups look up to their city.

As a result, ‘Atypisch Antwerpen’ or Atypical Antwerp was created to put the port city on the international map. As you can see, a little bit of research on your image can give you new insights.  

Atypical Antwerp (Place marketing, Merchandise Essentials)

3. The target groups

Place marketing is the perfect tool to attract new target groups and to retain existing ones. There are a lot of different strategies to attract the target groups of a city, but since the available resources for place marketing are often limited, choices have to be made.

Inhabitants are a very important target group for the city.  The attitude of inhabitants towards their own city is decisive for the experience and attraction of other target groups. This because the residents are the ambassadors of your city. They are the ones who will talk about it and make people come to your city.

Personalized merchandise, for example, is a strategic way of giving inhabitants the opportunity to express this positive feeling and to highlight your region. Discover here how merchandise can be of value to your target groups.

A focus on companies is also important. Companies are having a hard time finding suitable employees and are having trouble with finding creative and innovative entrepreneurial talent . The 'war for talent' is bigger than ever.

On top of that, there’s also a battle between cities for enthusiastic visitors, students and investors. In this article the 5 different target groups are discussed in detail. 

4. Impact on the local economy

Place marketing can have a positive impact on the local economy of a city. You can do this by involving all the target groups of your city in the long term with a clear place marketing strategy. 

You can turn your inhabitants into ambassadors of the city. They will talk proudly about your city to other target groups. For example, this will make the involvement and experience of your visitors with the city increase. This will also cause an economic boost for the local retailers and the hospitality industry since there are more people in your city centre. 

In the meantime, you put the city in the spotlight for interesting companies and investors. Here, it’s important for the city to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation. This will create extra employment and financial resources. These movements will also attract students, talents and creative people.

As you can see, everything is connected in place marketing. 

It's important to focus on good communication, promotion, events and infrastructure. In this way, place marketing can have an impact on the local economy. These revenues can be reinvested in favour of place marketing.


Shopping street (Place marketing, Merchandise Essentials)


5. Long-term vision

Place marketing must have a continuous character. A lot of cities want quick results and consider place marketing as a project. This is not a good approach and will give you a disadvantage in the long term. 

Place marketing only works in the long term by involving all the stakeholders. This awareness is still lacking in a lot of cities. The benefit of place marketing can be found in the willingness shown by everyone in the region to work together to move the city forward and improve its image.

This kind of marketing is all about connecting and building relationships with your stakeholders. Just like any other kind of relationship, you must keep investing into it. Only by doing this, you will create effective results.  

In a nutshell:

You need to start using place marketing because...

  • The competition between cities is increasing
  • There is a need to spread a unique identity for cities
  • Build relationships with your target groups
  • Improve your local economy
  • To achieve effective results on the long term


Download the case of Groningen. This place marketing campaign was one of the most successful campaigns ever. Discover everything about this story. 

Case: Nothing beats Groningen (Place marketing, Merchandise Essentials)


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