Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

The Role of Urban Marketing in the Local Economic Development

Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

The Role of Urban Marketing in the Local Economic Development

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The last decade of the 20th century is characterized by increasing economic, social, political challenges that municipalities have to administer according to the interests of the main stakeholders. The present configuration of Europe transforms the old competition between nations, the main actors being the cities, the competition between these becoming more and more free and harder.

Cities and states entered a difficult process of transition, from a stable industrial economy that dominated world markets, to a rapid changing economy, intensively informational, subject to a strong global competition. Local authorities can not force the market to react as they wish, but have to respond positively to the trends and forces that govern the market evolution. Response policies and measures to stop the market forces failed, while active and interactive enabled cities to collaborate with private firms in various ingenious ways, which took into account the market forces. Within this learning process, the authorities response lay behind the market changes, and the policies applied did not adapt quickly enough to the changes occurred in the structure of activity sectors.

Marketing is a challenge even for private corporation, which are often perceived as specialists in practising marketing. Marketing should not be exclusively the advantage of private sector, local communities, areas can be promoted as efficient as the goods and services of a company, and these have to benefit of the complex practices of the marketing from the private sector.

Urban marketing implies choosing some suitable ways of projecting and organising cities to meet the requirements of the target segments interested in urban development. It is considered that urban marketing reached its goal when the businessmen community and the citizens are satisfied with the urban economic- social environment, when the visitors' and investors' expectations are met (Kotler,, Hamlin, Rein and Haider, 2002a).

Nowadays, urban marketing becomes an outstanding characteristic of the strategy of local economic development. The economic development implies establishing a long-term marketing strategy oriented to preserving and developing the natural, economic and man made potential of the local community. The context in which the urban marketing operates is characterized by increasing competition between urban communities to attract human, material and financial capital (there are only in Europe more than 500 regions and over 100 000 communities in competition for the same limited investment and human resources), high frequency of changes of the economic, social and political environment and a bad understanding of the "urban marketing "notion/concept.

Urban marketing is used to accomplish several goals , such as creating a positive image for the community, attracting of companies, institutions, tourists and specially-skilled work force but as well has to find markets for their exports, to adopt instruments for the strategic marketing management in order to create an "urban brand" (Kotler and Gertner, 2002). The old strategies of promoting the local communities are no longer valid in the context of some markets in a continuous and rapid change. To be effectively competitive, these communities have to ground their local development strategies also from the marketing prospective. As a result, communities are compelled to produce goods, services required by the present and potential inhabitants, companies, investors, national and international institutions.

Urban marketing, especially in the USA, is a several billion dollars industry, where goods and services produced in cities are promoted and "sold" in an aggressive way. Many communities wish to create a new image or to replace the negative one. By urban marketing, local communities can be promoted in the same complex way as any product or service in the private sector. …

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