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‘Know your customer’

Published:  01 July, 2004

Retail destinations must increase their understanding of customer agendas if they are to attract mall income-producing brands and marketing/brand partnership events, a BCSC Retail Marketing Group seminar was told.

Paul Soanes, chief executive of Brandspace, said prime locations such as food courts would remain at the top of the brand marketers’ wish lists. But he said brands still did not believe major shopping centres were always targeted enough as a medium to deliver the desired consumer profile.

Smaller centres were likely to remain off the radar unless they were in unique profile locations, he added.

Brandspace, which conducted a survey of 76 brand managers, found 45 per cent were not familiar with the options available for marketing in malls. “As an industry you need to show off your assets much better than you do presently,” Soanes said.

“There are opportunities for multi-structure partnerships across media, data acquisition, branding and event sponsorships but retail destinations must prove their case to the brand managers if they are to attract marketing events.”

Iain Bell, commercial marketing manager of The Mall, spoke of the need to utilise mall space professionally.

He said The Mall was working to ensure brand managers know their centres are more than a collection of shops; they are media platforms offering a number of commercial opportunities for brand and business partners.

“The principles adopted by The Mall are about achieving a balance between relevance and revenue,” said Bell.

“Our aim is to develop our brand with ‘partners’ that add value and revenue in the short, medium and long term. It is crucial to build relationships with brands to ensure that they are able to take advantage of our national coverage whilst maintaining local relevance for the customers in each centres and complementing the core retail offer.”

Eileen Connolly, director of retail marketing at Donaldsons and chair of the BCSC Retail Marketing Group, said: “Brand managers are realising the true value of a shopping centre’s main asset – the consumer. If landlords want to maximise revenue, then the industry must be able to provide strong and accurate demographics, footfall statistics and evidence of consumer shopping patterns.”