What keeps shopping centre leaders up at night…amongst many other worries I’m sure?
Attracting and retaining footfall and tenants – the purpose of the marketing strategy.
Shopping centres are becoming increasingly more competitive; online shopping is becoming more and more popular, centres are undergoing refurbishments, new schemes are being developed and existing centres are constantly (and significantly) developing their offering. All shopping centres need to ensure their marketing strategy is constantly evolving to compete in the current market.
Content Marketing and Social Media
It’s no secret that content marketing is a trend spreading throughout all industries. Content has become vital to engage with an audience and demonstrate business knowledge, specialism and success. In the shopping centre world, content is a great way to protect consumer loyalty, drive new visitors and communicate and celebrate new offerings, upgrades, and benefits consumers can enjoy.
Content needs to be relevant, exciting and shareable to encourage engagement. Social media has taken off over recent years and is an excellent, free platform in which schemes can really build their brand awareness.
Like all things, social media has its pitfalls. Unhappy customers can share their experiences, which may not always be positive. However, if you have a communication strategy in place to combat this, it can be given a positive twist. Consumers expect a response and a solution, and they expect this instantly. If you can provide this, it demonstrates consumer loyalty and excellent customer care. Consumer’s expectations are rising so the industry has to react quickly and efficiently in order to compete with other centres!
We all love a freebie, right? Loyalty programmes are a great way to entice visitors to visit one centre over another. Marketing a loyalty scheme will encourage repeat and new footfall which will ultimately increase sales, improving asset value and tenant interest in leasing space.
Generating footfall through events is a great strategy as it gives consumers a reason to travel to your scheme over their local. Student lock-ins; fashion evenings; blogging events; Easter egg hunts; mothers day evenings; the list is endless! Working with tenants to create campaigns and events will:
Use events to create a community. Taking time to understand the consumer demographic, their interests and needs can be invaluable in planning relevant events that will engage and capture the target market. Using CSR strategies and partnering with local charities or town centres to really involve and relate to the local market can be extremely powerful in generating loyal and continuous footfall.
Shopping centres have a range of tenants appealing to a diverse demographic, therefore, a range of marketing campaigns is vital to reach this wide audience: TV, radio, billboards, social media, direct messaging, the list goes on. Different demographics will respond and be active on different platforms, so if a varied mix isn’t used, a large proportion of the market will be missed.
It’s vital the message is consistent across all platforms. Wherever the consumer may be looking, the brand needs to be sending the same, strong message.
So, do shopping centres need a marketing strategy?
Yes, and the size and flexibility of this marketing strategy are growing at a considerable rate. The need for innovative, driven individuals in this sector is increasing rapidly – if centres want to be successful, a strong, evolving strategy needs to be in place and the right people need to be there to implement this.
With the amount of new technology and platforms constantly being introduced, it has never been so difficult to keep on top of a marketing strategy. The need to be aware of new innovations and opportunities and able to select and integrate relevant technologies into the current strategy is vital to reach the wider audience.