Marketing – In-house or Agency?

Foundation Recruitment has found that specialist property recruitment has consistently been the answer for the majority of shopping centre landlords and managing agents for marketing roles based in-house and is becoming more so for marketing agencies covering portfolios of shopping centres. In this article, we will explore the skill sets necessary to be successful in both disciplines from a recruitment perspective – what do clients want?

Changes in responsibilities within shopping centres have seen in-house marketing professionals producing and implementing strategy as well as taking increased responsibility for community engagement, retailer and tenant liaison, and engaging with key stakeholders. The increasingly proactive nature of in-house positions encourages the on-site individual to immerse themselves in their direct community, seeking new opportunities and identifying potential prospects. The resulting day to day role is thus more active and involves constantly meeting with retailers, tenants, stakeholders, and the centre management team; the emphasis is on face-to-face liaison. So as well as having the relevant experience and skills set, the successful candidate will always have the ability to build relationships and relate to retailers and tenants.

At present, a number of landlords and managing agents within the UK shopping centre market are choosing to outsource their marketing needs to specialist, sector specific agencies. There are a number of niche agencies in the arena and Foundation Recruitment are fortunate enough to become more and more involved in their marketing recruitment requirements.  Similarly to in-house vacancies, agencies tend to look for candidates with shopping centre relevant knowledge and experience however, in contrast, we are finding a multi-site or agency background is desirable. The successful candidate will always take a “hands on” approach and have involvement with the shopping centre itself. Where this type of role is differs, they will be responsible for setting and implementing entire strategies remotely across a number of schemes. A key skill which is predominantly demonstrated as a necessity from our client’s is the individual’s ability to manage their time; agencies are corporate and are the definition of a fast-paced, demanding and dynamic environment. Having the ability to effectively manage multiple schemes, producing and implementing several successful marketing strategies and prioritising can determine the individual’s level of success in an agency.

From a recruitment perspective, whether they be landlords, managing agents or agencies, our clients are of course looking for individuals with previous experience in shopping centre marketing; though the determining factor of which position type an individual will successfully attain and thrive in will always ultimately be the environment.

Although the processes of shopping centre marketing are comparative across the board, there is a lack of consistency throughout the industry with some landlords and managing agents choosing to maintain an emphasis on in-house opportunities and others deciding to centralise or outsource their entire portfolio to specialist agencies. The success of a marketing strategy at each scheme will be determined by the client making the right decision for each individual centre; will the scheme thrive with a marketing professional in-house taking a focussed approach? Or will the success of the scheme be maximised by a marketing agency professional dealing with a number of comparable centres? The crucial question is – in-house or agency?

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