Derived Importance-Performance Analysis: A Diagnostic Tool for ‘Main Street’ Planners

by Judy A. Wiles
published by Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, 2002
Ref AMSJ06-11
 

The preservation of historic buildings in a downtown area is an effective economic development strategy but not sufficient to attract shoppers in itself, concludes a study outlined in this article.

The article discusses the Main Street Program developed in 1977 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the US. This has grown into an international success by focusing on the overall distinctiveness of downtown districts and the rehabilitation of historic properties.

This study, carried out at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, was commissioned by the Main Street Steering Committee. The aim was to understand the multi-faceted desires of downtown customers and went beyond the collection of customer satisfaction data. It used instead a diagnostic tool that can provide targeted strategic direction for leaders of any downtown revitalization project, taking into account customers’ attitudes toward shopping in various districts of the city, and their feelings about historic buildings and their preservation.

The study found that customers wanted to preserve the historic character of their downtown area and enjoyed shopping there. However, other factors considered of paramount importance by customers were not being met, for example, safety, variety of stories, parking convenience, shopping hours, and the quality and style of products on offer.

The analysis outlined in the article enables the creation of highly focused improvement strategies, writes the author, providing a framework for maintaining and improving other Main Street communities and revitalization projects. 

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About the author

Judy A. Wiles is a Professor of Marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.

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