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Place marketing: how did we get here and where are we going?

Mihalis Kavaratzis (Faculty of Spatial Sciences, Urban and Regional Studies Institute, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Gregory Ashworth (Department of Planning, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 25 July 2008




This paper serves two purposes. First, to identify the stages of the historical development of place marketing, because place marketing has developed over time through discrete phases, which differ in their sophistication as well as in their approaches and objectives. Secondly, to identify and articulate significant issues, which will determine the “way forward” for place marketing.


Place marketing has been shaped by developments within marketing science and cognate disciplines but also by the external historical contexts at various spatial scales that determined its assumptions, goals and priorities. A concordance of a number of approaches to the evolution of place marketing is attempted and from this, conclusions are drawn about the current assumptions upon which place marketing is based.


Seven issues are identified that appear to hinder marketing implementation from delivering its full contribution and are suggested here as significant for the future of place marketing. The most important ones refer to the need for a collective understanding and appreciation of place marketing, the achievement of wide cooperation and clear role allocation, the implementation of marketing as a long‐term process and the expansion of marketing understanding to fields other than tourism development.


The originality of this paper lies in the clear articulation of the historical episodes of place marketing development and, at the same time, the identification of the issues mentioned above, which will determine the effectiveness of place marketing practice. Therefore, the paper is of great value to both academic commentators and practitioners of place marketing.



Kavaratzis, M. and Ashworth, G. (2008), "Place marketing: how did we get here and where are we going?", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 150-165.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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