Marketing means business

Lee's Summit JournalDecember 11, 2013 

In today’s highly competitive environment, it is imperative that cities adopt the same marketing investment principals as private sector businesses, in order to differentiate themselves and stand out from the competition.

Each day we are bombarded with nearly 2,000 messages, all clamoring for our attention. And the rapid growth of the digital world and emerging media has only served to magnify unfortunately, the consumer’sexposure to competitive messaging.

Consumers sometimes both the public and private sector have a tendency to raid the marketing budget whenever they need cash for other purposes. This usually comes about when marketing is viewed as a disposable factor in the battle for market share versus other cities for: shopping, tourism, talent, healthcare, entertainment and business investment dollars.

One of Missouri’s most famous residents, Mark Twain, had this to say about advertising: "Many a small thing has been made larger by the right kind of advertising."

Twain would be proud to know that our marketing consistently communicates a single, powerful expression that reflects what we know to be true, meaningful and distinctive of Lee’s Summit. That we are a place where history converges with vision and energy to create a one-of-a-kind environment that values relationships and holds out the promise of a community where all things are possible.

A brand promise which is relevant to our target audience’s needs, wants, desires and aspirations and therefore clearly inspires, while effectively setting Lee’s Summit apart within the category.

Here are five marketing terms to help provide a clear understanding of some of the language we’ve been using as we market the City of Lee’s Summit.

1. Brand Promise: A distinct and compelling benefit that translates into a powerful sense of motivation.

2. Positioning: How we (Lee’s Summit) want to be perceived in the consumer’s mind. What it is exactly that we want them (our audience) to believe that we can (actually) deliver on.

3. Research: Identify emerging and relevant values and attitudes allowing us to speak directly to our audiences, providing insights into their behavioral decisions.

4. Audience: Our prime suspect. Who is most likely to engage in the desired action/activity we desire. In our case we have several audiences we’re targeting.

5. Media Planning: Is built on a foundation of research regarding the types of media our target audience consumes. This allows us to reach the right audience, at the right time, with the right message, at the right cost.

Research has helped us craft an optimistic, consistent and relevant communications platform that seems to be resonating both internally and externally. In this era of opportunity we believe we can gain traction for the city of Lee’s Summit by communicating a distinct and compelling message that will serve to attract more bodies to our community and therefore get the cash registers to ring in our hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues and businesses alike.

In essence, a bigger pie allows everyone to enjoy a larger slice.


James McKenna is the branding manager for the City of Lee’s Summit. Reach him at

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