Marketing in a Technical Recession – why brands should advertise in the mall environment

By: John Faia, GM: Mall Ads™

One of the burning issues at the moment is that we are in a technical recession. Any marketer would be forgiven for getting a fright: “recession” is one of those economic terms that strikes fear into the heart of the consumer, affecting the consumer mindset and spilling over, usually negatively, into their shopping behaviours.

So what does happen in the mind of the consumer, or the shopper, during a tough economic period? They look for value. In this regard, brands need to really up their game plan if they want to affect purchasing decisions within a retail environment. It is during times such as these that brands need to relook their marketing strategy and be more in the faces of their target consumers, especially when they are about to make a purchase or when they are deciding to buy one product over another. So how do brands do this? The answer is simple: they need to be in the mall environment if they want to see success on the bottom line. And to reiterate, they need to be in people’s faces at that very point when they are making a purchasing decision.

It was Henry Ford who said: A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time. It does not make sense. Yes, we all feel the pinch and yes some brands are feeling the discomfort of being cash strapped. But brands should think twice about cutting back on marketing only to sabotage short and long-term success.  It is the overall marketing strategy that needs to be relooked and recreated to be leaner, perhaps, and more effective, definitely.

As marketers we need to be asking ourselves:  What will make the biggest impact? What will get product into baskets? How will we promote and engender repeat sales?

When times are tough, consumers need to be reminded that your product or service is without a doubt the best in the category, and that’s why marketing can’t stop because of a bad economy. In fact, it is exactly the time when brands need to amplify their marketing efforts.

Why is advertising in a mall environment so effective? Firstly, malls cater to various age groups and demographics. They offer brands high dwell times because consumers go there to not only shop, but for entertainment. Convenience malls, which are located within communities, are visited during the week for approximately 30 minutes. This is when consumers buy daily necessities such as bread, milk and eggs. The bigger regional malls have a much higher dwell time – approximately 2 hours. Furthermore, it is a planned visit, consumers will travel a longer distance to get there and bigger purchases are made. In fact, a strong correlation exists between dwell time and total spend. As marketers we need to harness the consumer mindset, especially the mindset that occurs during a technical recession and go with it for the benefit of the brand.

I do believe that it is during tough times that some of the most creative and opportunistic strategies are crafted. It’s about finding solutions that work. In order to uplift sales in a retail environment, the solution is simple: your brand has to be there. It has to be noticed. The campaign needs to be relevant to your target audience.