Customer Experience Web Misc

How to Promote a Mall in the Year 2010

There’s a mall near my apartment called Billings Bridge. It’s a pretty nice place with a nice variety of stores, and up until about six months ago that’s all I would have had to say about it. But six months ago I started following their marketing director on Twitter, and since then I’ve come to the conclusion that Billings Bridge is a great case study for how to promote a mall in the year 2010. Here’s a look at some of the awesome things they’ve done since I started noticing them in December 2009:

Give-aways just in time for Christmas.

I found Billings Bridge on Twitter after reading the tenth or eleventh tweet about how they were giving away extra products they had lying around to their Facebook fans and Twitter followers. I know first-hand how awesome it was for them to do this, because I won an iPod Touch. On December 23rd. (That’s two days before Christmas.) So for the next three weeks, whenever anyone asked my girlfriend (now fiancée) what I got her for Christmas, she’d have this great story about how because Billings Bridge is super-generous and using modern communication channels that are easy to follow, they gave this to me so that I could give it to her.

There are probably about fifty other stories like this, plus all those tweets, and now at least one blog post. Word of mouth sells.

$50 for every 50 fans.

I don’t know when they started doing this or when they’re planning to stop, but every time Billings Bridge gets fifty new fans “likes” on Facebook, they give a $50 gift-certificate to one of their.. likers? (What do you call people that like things now? I miss fans.) This is brilliant because the sooner they get another fifty “likes”, the sooner they’ll give away another gift-certificate. This means that they have a steady stream of excited new mall-enthusiasts, in a very powerful social networking environment, constantly trying to get their friends and acquaintances to pay attention to that mall that gives stuff away. Motivate people to say something nice in a conduit for viral messages, and you’re going to get a lot of attention for your brand. Textbook smart marketing.

Sex and the City month.

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of tweets about various fun things Billings Bridge is doing related to that new Sex and the City movie that’s coming out soon — things like that trip-for-four to NYC that they’re raffling off at the end of May. This is a fantastic topic to promote around, because it’s a movie that glorifies shopping. It allows them to catch interest through the popularity of a trendy, upcoming film, and convert on that interest because the film is about shopping. People that like to shop probably like the movie, so bringing them into the mall is obviously a good idea. Simple. Genius.

This is how every mall should run promotions. I’m sick of billboards and radio advertisements — I ignore them. If you want my interest, meet me halfway and spend time where I spend time. Give me incentives to pay attention to you, and better yet, incentives for me to get other people to pay attention as well. Try new things with new tools, and create a feedback loop so that I can tell you what works and what doesn’t. It’s working for Billings Bridge.


Oh, and did I mention that they’re giving away an iPad when they hit 2010 “likes” on Facebook? Because they’re about halfway there, and if you could “like” them too, and then tell a few friends, that would get us both a bit closer…

4 replies on “How to Promote a Mall in the Year 2010”

Very interesting, I didn’t know about any of this. I go to Billings Bridge every few weeks and am always impressed at the way they seem to improve on things incrementally and constantly. The center area, for example, where they create “buzz” by demo’ing new products out in the open seems very effective, it really adds to the general experience of being there.

Last time I was there they had a live jazz band in the mall. I figure the marketing director was probably watching “You’ve got mail” (similar target audience to Sex in the City, who is incidentally their target audience), noticed there was a constant subtle jazz soundtrack (particularly as Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks walk the shopping streets of New York), and realized that incorporating this same feel into the mall was just a couple of local musicians away.

If you ever went to this mall in the 90s, it was like a graveyard. Kudos to whoever overhauled it, and what a great marketing case study in our own back yard. Now if only they could hire the same team to rework Sparks Street, the city’s new graveyard…

I agree, Kudos to whoever has turned Billings Bridge shopping center around!

I don’t know exactly when the change took place, but back in DecemberI had to stop on Riverside as a result of traffic. While I was sitting waiting, I glanced towards Billings Bridge and noticed their new face-lift on the outside. It made me curious about the inside.

I’m not a shopper but it was like it was inviting me to come in. I haven’t shopped at Billings Bridge in years until then because it was a depressing place to be. Didier’s “graveyard” description is perfect. I have been there 4 times since which is about half of my shopping days ;-) And there has always been something happening in the center area.

Is it wrong that my first comment on your website is about a mall; the only thing I can relate to? I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m sure Billings will too. Now for that mystery pink envelope….

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