The explosion of event marketing, mobile tours and other mega-events may be partially responsible for the death of the American mall as a top-tier marketing venue.
If you take a good, long look, certainly there are other factors, as the article describes — the economy, the growth of the low-cost retailer, a trend towards more manageable and balanced personal consumption (especially in the face of recession), and the emergence of the green and now “dark green” demographics. The economics of the mall are struggling to adapt to the new retail landscape, for sure. And when consumers aren’t showing up like they used to, that makes for a difficult marketing venue no matter what.
However, marketers now bring impactful events out to the consumer, instead of vice versa. A stand-alone retail store used to be a pariah when compared to the multi-store power of the mall. Now, you may show up at that stand-alone retail outlet and find an event that beats the essence and excitement of a mall. And most stand-alone stores nowadays provide some kind of retailtainment atmosphere to keep the traffic coming. Outside of the retail venue, you may show up in a variety of places and find the same impactful events — sporting events, transportation hubs in major metro areas, high-traffic city blocks, local fairs and more.
The mall used to be such a strong venue for events because the masses were there. And surely they’re still there to a certain degree, and so are events. Yet marketers started delivering great events outside of that venue, and it worked. And now that consumers don’t rely on the mall as much, they expect to find the experience and engagement with brands in those other venues. And marketers know those other places deliver the demographics and volume. So it’s a good match. And we haven’t even discussed the online channel, which dovetails with the live event experience on multiple levels to keep the engagement lasting.
Surely, the mall will rebound and find ways to remain relevant in some fashion. Or, as the article above hints, with low-fashion or thrift-fashion. And when it does, event marketers will surely charge ahead and be there too.