The City vs The Suburbs

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Which one appeals more to you?

Pretty much everyone has had to juggle the question back and forth. Whether it was choosing a place to live or where to plant your business, the topic of the city versus the suburbs is always a common one.

The public relations team and I recently ventured from our semi-suburban Needham office into Boston, on what you could call an informational “field trip.” Our goal – to rethink a client’s strategy in the context of their Boston roots. And what better way to do that than to put ourselves in the heart of the city?

At EZG, we like to think we are a universal firm. We understand diverse markets and our clients across the map. We know that there are strong differences between the city and the suburbs, from what you see and hear, and even to what you smell. However, we’re not the only ones understanding the nuances between the city and suburbs.  Advertising and marketing experts use this as the foundation of any new campaign.

Advertising companies know that when it comes to the city, your audience is mostly working professionals and young adults. They know when placing ads in the suburbs, their audience is more family oriented. This major difference in demographic is always on the forefront when choosing what – and how – to advertise.

On our offsite, one advertising theme that continuously caught my eye was the alcohol related billboards. High above the ground, these billboards ensured that employees in the neighboring office would see the advertisement – hopefully sparking in them an interest for the product. These billboards give the impression of ‘you had a hard day at work, now kick back with a drink’. Other ads found round the city consisted of fuel efficient cars, art festivals, and “foodie” type billboards and food trucks.

When it comes to advertising in suburban markets you can count on the majority of campaigns to consist of family friendly material. Growing up in Levittown, NY and for the past year calling Natick, MA ‘home’ I’ve always been surrounded by advertising in the ‘burbs. Compared to the ad’s we saw in Boston, I’ve never once seen a large alcohol related advertisement in a suburban market. Instead, there are banners and posters advertising fundraisers, town festivals, farmers markets, and local sporting events. These ads promote the spirit of what the ‘burbs are all about – families, neighbors, and a community.

Below are a few sights that I captured on our tour of Boston and some photos of the Suburbs of Natick:

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Whether you live or work in Boston or in the suburbs, the marketing you see is no accident.  We find that in general, businesses in the suburbs drive so much more traffic through community partnerships and charity initiatives, while city businesses do better with more big picture, high level campaigns.  The environment is such an indicator of the demographic – pinpointing the marketing strategy never gets old…

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