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Marketing for Municipalities: Economic Growth and Engaged Communities

With so many towns and cities in the United States, municipalities can have way more competition than your average business. This makes successful marketing so important. Cities are constantly competing for business to stay or move to their community, ultimately bringing in new people and tax income to better support city functions – making their communities great places to live. Not only is competition steep for municipalities, but their budget in which to market themselves is often extremely limited.

As if that wasn’t enough, municipalities must also work to keep their existing residents and businesses happy. This means marketing, engaging, and communicating with all existing stakeholders about public projects and city plans –  road reconstruction, bridge repairs and construction, wastewater treatment updates, downtown planning projects, and so on. Citizens and businesses are intimately interested in these projects because this is where they live, work, and hire talent, and it’s their money being used to fund these projects.

So what’s a municipality to do? So many things to communicate to a variety of stakeholders, with little money to do so. The solutions for many, has been a blend of grassroots marketing, a lot of creativity, and letting traditional communication outlets take over the heavy lifting. If you are a municipality, or working with one, the tips below can help you make the most of your time with maximizing effects.

Improve – And Maximize –  Your Marketing Approaches

·      Partnership Marketing: Within a city there are many different organizations and groups. Tap into theses collectives with similar goals and collaborate. Share resources and team members with other community leaders to reach a wider audience using less money. After all, you are all trying to reach the same goal and communicate to the same audience – why not go for it together?

·      Target Marketing: If targeting to bring in more residents to our area, be laser focused in reaching your identified target of types of people who you want to attract to your area. If you are Los Angeles, you may focus on people who want to make it into show business. If you are San Francisco, you may look for the tech entrepreneurs. This might seem like a no brainer, but it can be easy to think that the broader your reach, the better. If you aren’t a large city that is well known, it can be tough to figure out your target citizen. Develop and understand the identity of your city before developing any of your marketing. Once identified, develop your marketing messaging and target your channels to speak and reach just that target audience. By eliminating the need to reach a mass undefined audience, you can focus on the ones who fit – ultimately saving time and money.

·      PR News: In the spirit of collaboration, let the news media take on some of your marketing. This requires giving up some control of the message, but the cost savings is often worth it. An article about your city or a project you are completing in a respected magazine and/or newspaper will have more appeal, audience reach, and credibility than something coming straight from your office.

·      Influencer Marketing: Influencer marketing has emerged in the past few years as one of the most lucrative branches of marketing. It’s not only Nike and weight loss tea companies who can profit from this marketing strategy. Consider paying influencers to embark on social media campaigns to promote your city, talk about public projects, and highlight key project and city initiatives. Don’t forget! When looking for influencers for a social media campaign, look in your own backyard/the specific area in which you are completing project work. Search for residents with a large social following to promote your city/project by feeding them promotional material to post or engaging them in a lengthier marketing campaign. Using locals will give your marketing authenticity, which is incredibly important to today’s audiences

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