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Advertising Directed Toward Up-and-Coming Cities

By Tim Sanders

Young adults graduating from college are often looking for a new city in which to begin their career — preferably one with a flourishing job market, thriving art scene, efficient transit, sustainability, diverse restaurants, farmer's markets and adventure opportunities close by. Some want a clean city with a multitude of microbrew pubs and inexpensive housing. Others crave the hustle and bustle of big city living.

Being aware of the cultural differences in cities of a growing population is important in your marketing campaign. Advertising techniques allow businesses of any size to reach distinctive demographics across the country.

Because people's interests vary so broadly, it's necessary to hone in on to what's happening in certain areas. The following is a list of some popular cities for new graduates, along with ideas on how to market to the people who live within them.

Portland, Oregon

With plenty of parks (16.1 percent cover the city, according to, Portland is a city of lovable hippies, incessant art fairs and the most awesome pubs (all dive bars in Portland are more or less the same, except for the clientele). Willamette Riverwalk has some of the best musicians and artists in the whole state, and if you want, you can even see a cool band by night. Oh, I might have forgotten to tell you, but most residents practice healthy living by going to the gym and being environmentally responsible. Go figure. 

Yes, it rains a lot, but that doesn't stop people from doing their work. The rain just makes the city, and its surroundings more lush and beautiful. It's a city where one can live in a high-energy downtown alive with coffee shops and unique boutiques; but, if it gets overwhelming and you need some peace, you can take a short drive in about 30 minutes to bask in the wonders of Multnomah Falls.  

A marketing tip: Center your outreach around sustainability by reaching out to those dedicated to green living with recyclable print collateral. Focus on web-based advertising. Look to target graduating seniors from the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. Consider, also, that many desert natives in the Southwest want to escape to greener pastures for the summer and might be looking toward Portland for heat relief.

Cleveland, Ohio

Surprised? Don't be. Cleveland ranks high on Business Week's 'Best Cities for New College Grads' list because it's emerging as a research base for biotechnology. While the city's primary industry is manufacturing, science and engineering are prevalent, as well. Home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland is also ranked high on GQ's 'Best Beer City in America' list. It's not snooty, for what it's worth.

A marketing tip: If you haven't begun a social media campaign, now is the time to start. Create your online presence and get people talking. Alumni from Ohio State University often stay in contact and reach out for new product suggestions. Get your name in their circle by directing daily tweets to them on Twitter.

Austin, Texas

Live music. Great Food. Cool bars. Eclectic shops. Various outdoor activities. Sunshine. These are just a few aspects that make Austin so appealing to our nation's graduates. The capital of Texas is known as the "live music capital of the world" and is diverse in its ways. You can go to one of the 100 live music venues to check out a cool band and the next, cheer on the UT football team. It's a city of healthy eaters and a healthy job market.

Angelos Angelou, an economist and Chris Engle from Avalanche Consulting, both report that all sectors including construction, manufacturing and the residential market are growing, according to a recent KVUE interview. Touted as 'one of the fasted growing economies in the country' by Engle, Austin is a city you should be getting to know … quickly.

A marketing tip: Stand out by designing plastic cards at Printing For Less to give your brand power and keep your name in the heads of new graduates entering the corporate world. They'll be on the lookout for new businesses to use and support in their new city and on the Internet.

Burlington, Vermont says Burlington is known for its "hippy dippy rapport," soul and local and organic food. Everything about it is fresh — the food, the creativity, the ice cream (home to the Ben & Jerry's factory). While it's on the cold side: average high is 54 degrees, and the average low is 35 degrees that just gives young couples a chance to cuddle up by a cozy fireside. Most importantly, almost everyone has a job — the unemployment rate is 4.1 percent (compared to the national average of 7.9 percent).

This bright job outlet makes Burlington an ideal location for young professionals. Its small town charm married with its peaceful culture could make for promising leads. When people have a job, they have money. When they have money, they consume.

A marketing tip: Target this up with a guerrilla marketing campaign that's an unconventional and less expensive than a continuous grander gesture — for example, Colgate briefly advertised on the inside of a pizza box encouraging consumers to "Don't let your dinner breath become your morning breath." A simple and brief campaign that makes you take notice — I brushed.

Honolulu, Hawaii

While it may not be the most practical choice, if there's nothing holding a recent college grad to the continental U.S., there are many reasons to embrace the island spirit. Ranked for emotional health and well being, earth enthusiasts can find their inner chi by living in this eco-friendly happy place. ranks Honolulu as one of the 'top 25 cities in the U.S. to find employment.' Top jobs include tour guides, reservation agents, educators, engineers, massage therapists, registered nurses, musicians and financial managers. Also, archeology, anthropology and aquaculture offer unique job opportunities.

A marketing tip: Hospitality is the name of the game in Hawaii. Targeting your campaign to Californians looking for this line of work would give you a great advantage in your search for new business.

Diversifying your marketing plan is crucial. In this new year, update your website, expand your social media platforms and redirect your campaigns that aren't proving successful.


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