City marketing in the broadest term can be defined as the strategic design of the city to satisfy the various stakeholders of the city who often have conflicting goals. This frequently requires an integrated approach that aligns and addresses the expectation of various stakeholders to create vibrant communities. The current trend in globalization, formation of regional trade blocks, and the shift in importance of location factors have increased the intensity of competition among regions and cities. More than ever, cities need to compete and cooperate with each other to attract companies, investments, talent, tourists, and create markets for their products and services. This entails that cities embrace strategic marketing management tools and practices, and utilize e-services such as electronic customer relationship management. The authors propose a broad approach, called strategic stakeholder relationship management (SSRM), which is enabled by information and communication technologies, including Internet, to help the decision makers succeed in designing the 21st Century city marketing initiatives.
A favorable business climate often perceived as a key factor for local economic development (Blume, 2006). Globalization has effects on regions/cities in that there have been observable shifts in intensity of competition, and shifts towards knowledge factors (Blume, 2006). Even though competitive ability of an organization depends primarily on business-related and knowledge factors (cost-efficiency, an ability to innovate, marketing and other internal factors) (Krugman, 1996), it is clear that local economic policies may enhance or inhibit such competitiveness. For example, unwanted side-effects are seen in areas such as the Inland Empire in Southern California region as well as in and China, where an overly focus on transportation and production respectively has had detrimental effects on air quality and congestion. The locational factors traditionally driving economic development in China has been the availability of cheap labor. For Inland Empire, the locational factor has been availability of cheaper land, located centrally to major distribution routes (air, ship, and road).