Today's headlines report cities going bankrupt, states running large deficits, and nations stuck in high debt and stagnation. Philip Kotler, Donald Haider, and Irving Rein 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. When trouble strikes, places resort to various palliatives such as chasing grants from state or federal sources, bidding for smokestack industries, or building convention centers and exotic attractions. The authors show instead 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.
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. They show 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. The hidden key to vigorous economic development, the authors argue, is strategic marketing of places by rebuilding infrastructure, creating a skilled labor 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. This straightforward guide for effectively marketing places will be the framework for economic development in the 1990s and beyond.