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The Virgo Consultancy The Virgo Consultancy’s presentation focused on customer loyalty and ways to identify and reward best customers, drawing on tried and tested retail methods. “It comes down to understanding the

customer and the relationship they have with you,” said The Virgo Consultancy. “The more information you gather the more effective your communications.” And according to The Virgo Consultancy,

mobile phone technology could be the key – it’s currently growing eight times faster than the internet was at its peak. “It’s all about experimentation,” they said.

“Try things but don’t spend all your budget at once. Start with 10 per cent and evolve.” And they reminded marketers that there’s no quick fix – things need to be tried out and then “reviewed, repeated and amended”.

Toolbox Marketing Toolbox Marketing’s Michelle Daniels spoke about retailer relations, using football as a metaphor to mirror the event’s venue. She advocated encouraging a two-way communication relationship with tenants and creating a healthy competitive working environment by hosting an annual awards ceremony for retailers, for example. “The skill set of store managers and staff

differs from centre to centre and from store to store. Introduce surveys and mystery shopping - creating a competitive working environment within a centre creates a community environment,” she said. Daniels suggested asking retailers to

partner rather than participate in a campaign,

working with them to create the ‘wow’ factor, in exchange for data and feedback. She also gave an overview of Toolbox’s new B2B app, Mallcomm, a tool that allows centre management teams, retail staff and suppliers to communicate with ease. It can

also be used to promote special offers and even to store safety documents.

Madisonsoho Madisonsoho’s presentation set out to bust social media myths. Delegates were reminded that there isn’t an off-the-shelf solution - what works for one centre might not work in another – but with 50 per cent of the UK population now using Facebook, it’s a platform not to be missed.

They advised that social media should

be experiential, brought to life with engaging content, and marketers should instigate and steer conversations with ‘fans’ or ‘followers’ rather than try to control it. “It does take a lot of energy and

management,” said Alan Thornton, Madisonsoho’s senior account director. “Once you start using social media, there’s no simple way to switch off and if it’s inactive it will harm the perception of your brand.” However, he stressed that if used as

part of an integrated marketing plan, it can reap rewards in terms of data capture and consumer engagement. Providing practical advice on how to build

marketing strategy and produce innovative campaigns as well as acting as a networking forum, the Shopping Centre Marketing Seminar proved to be a great success, culminating in plenty of positive feedback. Shopping Centre looks forward to hosting

it again next year.

Find out more: For more information, please contact the author November 2011 SHOPPING CENTRE

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