3 June 2022 | Münster

In cooperation with Ladbergen, Lengerich, Lienen and Tecklenburg, a project team from S2BMRC investigated how the municipalities can improve their awareness and attractiveness through cooperation.

How can communities in rural areas become more attractive for residents and tourists? This question was addressed by a team of four students led by Professor Thomas Baaken at the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre at Münster School of Business. The focus of the cooperative project entitled "LLLT" lies on four municipalities: Ladbergen, Lengerich, Lienen and Tecklenburg. An initial interim result suggests that the key will be cooperation and partnering.

In order to identify strengths and weaknesses of the communities from the perspective of the residents, Lisanne Klein, Paul Uthmeier, Tobias Hinteresch and Niclas Schulte developed a questionnaire and conducted a survey by asking citizens. They found out, how satisfied people were with the cultural and recreational offerings in their town and what they were missing. The question of how important the cooperation between the four communities is from the citizens' point of view was also part of the first survey. The result was that the residents of all four communities surveyed felt that the topic of intercommunal cooperation was particularly important.

"That was an elementary interim result of this project," explains Baaken, professor of marketing. "It was clear to us then that we had to start at this point." In the next step, the students therefore designed a second questionnaire that got to the bottom of the reasons why citizens visited neighboring communities and which offerings in each community were particularly attractive to people from the surrounding area. A total of 217 citizens took part in the survey. At a focus group in the form of a "citizens' breakfast" with representatives from the communities, the team finally sought direct exchange and discussion with the residents.

The project team now presented the results of the surveys and the focus group to the mayors Torsten Buller (Ladbergen), Wilhelm Möhrke (Lengerich), Arne Strietelmeier (Lienen) and Stefan Streit (Tecklenburg) in the Co.Creation.Lab at FH Münster UAS. Birgit Neyer, Managing Director of Wirtschaftsförderungs- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft Steinfurt WESt mbH, and Silke Uhlenbrock from the LEADER Region Tecklenburger Land were also present.

In addition to a catalog of measures with suggestions for improvement in the areas of leisure, work, or infrastructure, the students specifically addressed the topic of increased cooperation in the presentation. They illustrated that cooperation regions can be successful with some best practice examples.

The audience at Co.Creation.Lab was highly impressed by the results and recommendations. Baaken's conclusion: "The region's 'we-feeling' must be used and further developed for marketing the region."

The presentation was an interim results; the cooperation between the S2BMRC and the municipalities continues.

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