This article seeks to explore the usefulness of city marketing as a method to attract new residents and firms from a geographical perspective.
To answer the research question, the paper reviews relevant theoretical concepts, empirical data on migration flows and Dutch case examples.
A geographical approach towards city marketing makes clear that residents and firms show spatial self‐preference and do not easily move. This insight questions the usefulness of cold city marketing aimed at attracting newcomers.
The article is largely based on Dutch migration data and cases. More detailed research on other countries is needed to be able to generalize.
Local authorities should shift their focus from cold to warm city marketing: they should invest in existing residents and firms rather than in newcomers. To operationalise this approach, the literature on relationship marketing might be helpful.
City marketing is mostly aimed at attracting new investors, residents or visitors. This geography‐based paper sheds a new light on the topic and provides empirical support to take into account a city's existing population in city marketing.
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