A Playground of Opportunity: Mall Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is most effective when reaching a large audience.

Knowing who your target audience is when designing an experiential marketing campaign is ideal. Doing the market research to figure out their consumer habits, what positive marketing looks like to them, and where they spend their time is key to executing a successful experiential marketing activation.

There are natural gathering places for consumers of a specific market – niche stores, special events, and social activities. But there is one institution where consumers of all needs, desires, and means congregate.

Shopping malls.

These brilliantly designed spaces evolved from multi-purpose markets where everything from fresh produce to clothing and household supplies were sold. The modern manifestation is the shopping mall. Varying in sizes, malls seek to expedite the shopping experience, placing multiple outlets in one place, providing variety, convenience, and efficiency for every shopping trip.

Usually the eclectic combination of stores and offerings draws consumers of all backgrounds and shopping needs, meaning your target audience and potential consumers are in the same place for the same reason.

Now, how do we utilize this brilliantly designed consumer experience to maximize experiential marketing impact?

It’s genius – mall activations.

Malls were a revolutionary invention, but there is no doubt the model has been facing a slump in popularity as consumer values and market trends shift. Retailers and retail marketers are now looking for innovative ways to market to the millennial generation of consumers, who demand a more transparent, relatable, and accessible shopping experience.

This is the secret power of experiential marketing – it fits perfectly into this new demand.

In fact, Forbes recently cited a survey which found that 70 percent of marketing companies have increased their events-related marketing budget in 2017.  

There are a number of ways to utilize mall activations and engage with your target audience. Here are a few of them.

Pop up Shops

Pop up shops are becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons. From a business aspect, a pop-up retail shop or guerrilla activation is cheaper than a long-term lease on a retail space, and the “surprise” element adds a sense of urgency which encourages consumers to take advantage of the offerings. The pop up shop mall activation has potential for increased sales and exposure in ways regular sampling or experiential activations don’t.

From a consumer standpoint, a pop up shop is a disruption in a monotonous sea of retail saturation. The hottest artists and musicians of today frequently utilize the pop up shop model to connect with their fans in a special way. Often pairing special product offers, discounts, interactive photo opportunities, and chances to meet artists increases the demand and exposure of the pop up shop. Fervent Events has extensive experience designing and implementing retail pop-up shops, including one for international clothing retailer HiO.

Many shopping malls now set aside several retail spaces for short term or temporary permits specifically for pop up shops. Some pop up shops do so well that they become permanent retail spaces.

Check out Fervent Events’ mall pop up shop activation here:

pop up shops marketing toronto

Flash Mobs

I know what you’re thinking – flash mobs are corny and outdated. However, the flash mobs that have become synonymous with straight-to-dvd teen musicals and cheesy show tunes are a thing of the past.

Experiential marketing is largely about disrupting the everyday retail landscape to bring something fresh and exciting that a target audience is compelled to engage with.

Similar to the pop-up, flash mobs can be customized to suit any situation, location, or budget.

The number of dancers, the space (inside or outside), and the costumes are all part of the flash mob, and can make the difference between a well-received experiential marketing promo and a sloppy dance-off.

The viral potential for flash mobs also makes them an easy talking point even after the performance is done.

Flash mobs can draw attention to a sampling activation or a store opening. Well coordinated and thought out flash mobs are clean, fresh, and entertaining. Fervent Events has a roster of multi-talented performers and brand ambassadors with backgrounds in dance, theatre, and music, who are ready to perform as an additional feature of an experiential marketing campaign.

Check out some of our experiential marketing activations.

Sampling and Contesting

Nothing beats a good ol’ sampling activation. The effectiveness of getting product into the hands of consumers via an enthusiastic, well-informed brand ambassador has been proven to directly increase immediate and long-term sales.

As a mall activation, the sampling increases in scale – a bigger audience means more reach, but also more inventory. Since malls are a mix of target and potential consumers, mall sampling activations are a huge opportunity for brand exposure.

Adding a contesting element to a mall activation is another way to draw people in via entertainment and interactive games. Whether it’s a prize wheel or a ballot draw contest for a single, big prize, increasing the positive stakes for reward make the interaction with your brand worthwhile for a potential consumer.

Fervent Events has organized many experiential marketing campaigns that include a sampling or contesting element, from the Megabus university tour to the social media contesting we can add to any experiential marketing campaign.

Check out some photos from Fervent Events’ mall activations below:

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