February 21, 2017 - Amanda


Blue Sail is 10 years old, and we’re marking our first decade with a series of Top 10 blogposts throughout 2017.  As well as favourites from the Blue Sail crew, we’ve asked good friends of the company for their Top 10s too.  And so our first is from Sheona Southern – managing director of Marketing Manchester.  Sheona has put together these Top 10 Tips for Place Marketing Organisations specially for us … and of course for you.  There’s some great learning here from one of the most experienced destination marketers around … Enjoy!


Top 10 tips for place marketing organisations

  1. Be your audience – good place marketers know who they want to communicate to and who their priority audiences are, but they must also experience the destination as that audience whenever possible. When attending an event, opening, exhibition or launch I’ll always think about which audience it will work for and how we can best champion it.
  2. Look and listen externally – know your place and where it sits in the wider scheme of things. Ranking lists are to be embraced as an essential learning tool. Whether domestic, European or global they reveal how your audiences see your destination and how it can be bettered.
  3. Champion connectivity – you can shout as loud as you like about specific assets, but people need to know where your place is and how to access it. Those working in place marketing often forget how poor the general public’s knowledge of geography is, even of their own country – they need to be reminded constantly.
  4. Glance backwards from time to time – historical context is hugely important; it is the DNA that runs through a place and the foundation for its values. History can tell you a lot about where you are going. In Manchester the term Original Modern reminds us of where we came from, what we have achieved, and where we are going.
  5. Build effective partnerships – and do so at all levels: local, national and global. It’s very easy to be territorial and function within self-imposed boundaries, but some of the most valuable work is often borne out of collaboration with neighbours or with those who share a common and often complementary offer.
  6. Get your narrative in order – strong, clear and linear narratives for each key sector are absolutely essential if you want others to understand your place and get on board with the message. Also, make sure every one of your staff understands your narratives – they are your salespeople in the field.
  7. Flex your influence – with budgets becoming ever more tight, influencing others to dovetail their activity with your place is more essential than ever.
  8. Squeeze every pound – make the most of every bit of budget you receive and always keep an eye out for new funding and income streams from both the public and private sector.
  9. Acquire amazing assets – invest as much as possible in photography and video that makes your place pop with vibrancy and colour. If a potential visitor or investor is researching your destination, it will be the fantastic images that they remember, not the facts and figures. Then share these assets, making it easy for your partners and stakeholders to use them too.
  10. Have a sense of humour – in the end a place is for everyone to enjoy: visitors, investors, businesses and residents alike.

Sheona Southern is managing director at Marketing Manchester, the agency charged with promoting Manchester on the national and international stage. Sheona leads Marketing Manchester’s engagement with other Greater Manchester stakeholders, on initiatives and campaigns aimed at both national and international markets, designed to promote business and to attract visitors to the city centre and its environs.




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