Opinion

LOOKING FOR FRIENDS

To combine the practical with the useful is a great thing and, because Copenhagen is also quite beautiful to look at in late spring, my participation in the ICSC European Marketing Conference in early June was a great experience. I enjoy the eager discussions with marketing experts from all over the world. Exchanging views and sharing is, after all, an important part of my daily work. Not infrequently, new and exciting friendships sprout on such occasions.

BY REINHARD WINIWARTER

Speaking of friendship, I’m sure you know the specialists’ hottest marketing tip. Exactly. Social media or: “Head out on the virtual search for new friends, collect as many as of them as possible, and then bring your message to the world.” The right tools are of course already available. Facebook is the most famous. But how fit and fail-safe is Facebook for a well-visited, supra-regional shopping center, for example?

Take Center X in a small, fictional European country. The operators and owners are actually quite pleased with the annual footfall of seven million visitors. They are proud of the Facebook page with 100,000 friends. If the operators jot down some calculations and assume that every customer comes once a month on average, the percentage of the customers who are Facebook fans is just over 17%.

Not bad, Were it not for the fact that Facebook now uses an algorithm when forwarding messages to ensure that the constant stream of “likes” and whatnot is not excessive. Sounds reasonable. The problem is that if Facebook adjusts its “friends filter” to an estimated 30%, the message reach proportion from Facebook friends shrinks in relation to footfall to just 5%. In addition, content is often poorly positioned and unoriginal.

Many shopping center operators unfortunately often still rely on content from their retailers on Facebook – often copy-pasted. With repetitive event announcements and little innovation, the virtual external presence soon has a dull aftertaste. Of course I realize that social media strategies have an important place in a shopping center’s marketing mix. The emphasis here is on marketing mix, however. Please do not forget to use other channels, both traditional and innovative. One of them would be, for example, new online technologies at the point of sale. In short: Innovative marketing is not just in the eyes of the beholder and Copenhagen is always worth a visit.

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