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Malls are best billboards



Shopping centers offer opportunities to generate revenue by advertising products, brands, services and merchants, a media executive told delegates at ICSC RECon.
“The mall is a parade [of consumers], it’s a mass medium with a lot of reach,” said David Parsons, president and CEO of McGavren Guild Malls LLC. “The mall is a medium because we influence a lot of people.”

Shopping centers offer enormous advantages over, say, highway billboards or even radio and TV advertising, Parsons argued. People in a center have their wallets with them and are in a mood to spend, as opposed to those zipping past a billboard in their cars.

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Moreover, shopping centers offer a variety of venues to suit individual advertisers. A company selling diapers, for instance, can set up a promotion close to a children’s play area. Microsoft, he said, always likes to advertise near an Apple store. Shopping centers can offer space for pop-up stores, walls for digital advertising, arenas for food promotions as well as canvasses for banners, floor advertising and escalator ads.

To promote new stores, LL Bean, has created artificial rivers through common areas and decorated elevators to give them the appearance of tents, he said.

 But attracting advertisers calls for good judgment and a deft touch. For instance, different types of centers in different markets should target different clients. National advertisers will only want to do business with landlords owning large portfolios. Owners of small portfolios or single centers will have better luck with local advertisers, whether they be car dealers, banks, schools, medical services and the like. “Seventy percent of any mall’s advertising will come from the local market,” Parsons said.
Landlords should use the price of roadside billboards in their areas to gauge how much to charge for their own banners, he said, adding that their rates should not be more than twice the rate charged for the former.

Center owners also should seek to deal directly with potential clients rather than bombard them with calls or emails, Parsons advised, so that they can tailor promotions appropriate to the product or service. Once a client signs on, landlords should check-in frequently so that both sides an evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the promotion.

Done right, mall promotions can be a lucrative source of revenue, Parsons said. “We have a huge amount of power.”

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