Marketing Places: Cities, States and Nations

Following our interview with “the father of marketing”, Philip Kotler earlier this week, here is a short summary of his groundbreaking book with Donald Haider and Irving Rein, titled Marketing Places. The book was first published in 1993, and in a revised edition in 2002. Most observations on the state of cities and nations presented in the book still hold true today.

Marketing Places

Marketing Places Book by Philip KotlerToday’s headlines report cities going bankrupt, states running large deficits, and nations stuck in high debt and stagnation. Kotler and his co-authors argue that thousands of “places” – cities, states, and nations – are in crisis, and can no longer rely on national industrial policies, such as federal matching funds, as a promise of jobs and protection.

The authors show that places must, like any market-driven business, become attractive “products” by improving their industrial base and communicating their special qualities more effectively to their target markets – place branding.

From studies of cities and nations throughout the world, Kotler, Haider and Rein offer a systematic analysis of why so many places have fallen on hard times, and make recommendations on what can be done to revitalize a place’s economy.

The book illustrates how “place wars” – battles for Japanese factories, government projects, Olympic Games, baseball team franchises, convention business, and other economic prizes – are often misguided and end in wasted money and effort (recent FIFA world cups serve as a telling example…).

The hidden key to vigorous economic development, the authors argue, is strategic marketing of places by rebuilding infrastructure, creating a skilled labour force, stimulating local business entrepreneurship and expansion, developing strong public/private partnerships, identifying and attracting “place compatible” companies and industries, creating distinctive local attractions, building a service-friendly culture, and promoting these advantages effectively.

Strategic marketing of places requires a deep understanding of how “place buyers” – tourists, new residents, factories, corporate headquarters, investors – make their place decisions. With this understanding, “place sellers” – economic development agencies, tourist promotion agencies, mayor’s offices – can take the necessary steps to compete aggressively for place buyers.

Philip Kotler marketing professor, author Marketing Places, Confronting CapitalismAbout Philip Kotler

In the field of marketing, Philip Kotler has distinguished himself on many levels. He is an innovative thought leader, a revered educator, an accomplished author of over 50 books, well-traveled speaker, social activist, and trusted consultant to the world’s most recognized corporate brands.

Mr. Kotler is the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the author of Marketing Management now in its 15th (2015) edition, and considered to be the definitive treatment of the discipline.

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