Economic and cultural fragmentation have coincided with an explosion of ways to target people with marketing messages. A major challenge for shopping centre marketers in 2015 will be how to develop an inclusive customer focus and weave a steady course through multiculturalism, changes in family composition, changes in what’s typical at any given life stage and a myriad of other changes that are occurring in the makeup of target audiences.
Here are four important things to consider about your target when developing communications:
1. Know Your Shopper
When building a strategy, we all know that it’s important to study the demographics of the target. But you’ll need to dig a lot deeper to find something relevant to leverage in your communications. What is their lifestyle, wants, needs, hopes, dreams, frustrations, social environment, media choices and consumption patterns when it comes to your category and product?
2. Celebrate Culture
Don’t be afraid to highlight aspects of a particular group’s social world and culture in your advertising. Building promotional programs around the social and cultural identity of your audience, if developed in tandem with solid research, can be a very effective way of creating unique and exciting experiences for shoppers at your centre.
3. Beware the Stereotype
When dealing with a diverse shopper base, a lack of understanding can be disastrous. Don’t default to stereotypes when you have an incomplete understanding of a particular segment of your audience. There is no shortcut for gaining a thorough understanding of the diverse groups your shopping centre is trying to reach. However, your efforts in this area will increase consumer appreciation and raise the level of trust in your organization.
4. Test Your Assumptions
As you’re developing ideas for promotional campaigns, test them with employees and consumer focus groups. If your research budget is limited, an inexpensive way to approximate a focus group is to use your own email database and one of the many online survey tools available such as Survey Monkey. And never underestimate the value of gaining some simple input from different team members. If more than a few people aren’t “getting it,” you may want to reconsider your idea and approach. Ideas that are simple, relevant and easy to grasp are always best.