Marketing a city

This month’s guest writer – Neil Darwin, director of economic development at Opportunity Peterborough – reflects on the challenges of marketing a city. When it comes to marketing a city such as Peterborough, fundamental marketing concepts need some readjustment!

Classically, good marketing starts with an analysis of customer needs. What does the customer want? Then the diligent marketer – working with others, of course – goes on to create the product or service that will meet that need, at a profit to the business.

But for Peterborough’s economic development company – a publicly funded organisation run by a private sector board – the classical approach to marketing needs some adjustment to make sure business objectives are met. [more]

Opportunity Peterborough is responsible for, among other things, ‘marketing’ Peterborough to encourage new business investment. Our customer base is vast: essentially every business operating from Peterborough is a customer and every business based outside of the city is a prospect.

Equally, our definition of ‘profit’ is far from standard. The number of new companies relocating to Peterborough, job creations, the health of our local economy and, more generally, the city’s profile and its ability to be ‘front of mind’ to our prospects are all indicators of profit.

So, with such a large and dispersed group of prospective customers, how can we maximise our limited budgets to boost our ‘profit margin’? Well, reaching a targeted audience with focused communications to position Peterborough as an attractive business destination is a solid start but we also call on our local companies to join us and help spread the word.

Our bondholders – the city businesses which support our work – play a crucial role in promoting Peterborough. In our increasingly connected world, it’s what people and businesses who are already here say about Peterborough that has the most influence on how we’re perceived externally and on the prospects of new investment and employment coming to the city. Whether you realise it or not, you’re playing a role in marketing Peterborough too!

Peterborough’s appeal speaks for itself. The city is vibrant, successful, multi-cultural and growing – it’s a great place to invest and do business. We have a range of high performing business sectors, excellent infrastructure connections and, according to McKinsey, we’re tipped to be England’s fastest growing city by 2025.

So, if your company isn’t yet a bondholder, why not consider joining over 1,000 local members? It’s completely free and, as well as playing a huge part in Peterborough’s future growth and development, there are great opportunities for local networking and promotion. Find out more and register for free: www.opportunitypeterborough.co.uk/bondholder

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