The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Success Factors of Place Marketing: A Study of Place Marketing Practices in Northern Europe and the United States

Seppo K. Rainisto

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management for public examination and debate in Auditorium Luna, Spektri Duo Building, Metsänneidonkuja 6, at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 19th of September, 2003, at 13 o'clock.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 951-22-6684-9)   [1588 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 951-22-6685-7)


The aim of the present study is to evaluate which are the most critical success factors in place marketing, and how these factors could be utilised in place development. The study builds a framework and analyses place marketing practices from the perspectives of the process, assessment criteria and success factors. The main research focus is on marketing management aspects in place marketing.

The primary theoretical background and concepts in place marketing for this study consist of marketing theory, branding, assessment criteria, process, place development, local economic development and non-profit organisations. This study uses a theory building, qualitative case research agenda, with an embedded, longitudinal and multiple case design. The study applies the theoretical framework of successful place marketing in an empirical research with the case locations of the Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Chicago regions. The field research was carried out between April 2002 and March 2003. This study investigates also how Northern European versus U. S. place marketers differ in their practices and comes to the conclusion that both regions can benefit from a study of each other's practices.

This study contributes to the literature by "translating" the key concepts of corporate marketing theory for places, forms a conceptual framework and makes 35 propositions about general place marketing practices and its specific success factors. The study makes a managerial contribution by giving recommendations for place marketing practices, and by offering a new and holistic framework to help places move to a more systematic and effective marketing approach.

Strategic marketing can be also applied to places, and the tools of corporate marketing can be transferred to place marketing. Places can also be branded, through creating and communicating a place identity, which increases a place's attraction.

Keywords: place development, place marketing, place customer, place branding, success factors

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© 2003 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26