The Middleton Grange team knew that to help their shopping centre increase its sales against a recession helps clear objectives was crucial.
By Kevin Stanley
29 October 2009
The Middleton Grange team knew that to help their shopping centre increase its sales against a recession setting clear objectives was crucial
As Middleton Grange shopping centre struggled in the retail downturn, alternative, innovative initiatives, such as Corporate Citizenship, selected media and promotional activity were |used to increase awareness, profitability and attract visitors. Mark Rycraft and his team knew that if they were to help Middleton Grange shopping centre to increase retail sales despite the recession that having Clarity of objectives was key. When Rycraft saw the recession was creeping up on them a strategic meeting was held to revise the marketing plan and having identified their target audience they developed a Creative Strategy using Local media - Supporting Hartlepool in Tourism and Leisure.
Rycraft and his team believe that their work with the community is very important. Safety and security, especially where children are concerned, is of paramount importance says Rycraft. The Child Safe initiative that runs in Middleton Grange was set up with the aim of re-uniting lost children with their families as quickly as possible while The Kids Club and Shop for Schools Loyalty Programme at the centre also encourage child safety as well as incentivising parents.
Increasing awareness was also key to the success of the centre, which meant that links forged with Hartlepool Borough Council's tourism department were essential and allowed access to several local publications which was supported by direct marketing and live radio interviews.
Increasing profitability was a goal that every retailer was personally responsible for achieving, Rycraft saw his job was to provide the forum for them to do that by giving advice and guidance in respect of point of sale and sales techniques as well as involving them in the marketing plan.
In order to excel as a great leisure destination Customer Service was also required. The Information Desk allows for ideal accessibility and for wheelchair access. From searching for lost umbrellas to providing information about retailers Middleton Grange customer service team representatives always have a smile on their faces.
A team of over 40 colleagues ensure that the centre operates at a high standard. Rycraft explains that shopping centres are not readily seen as a Facility so it is important to demonstrate that the shopping centre industry is another dynamic aspect of facilities management. In this changed business context an enlightened, strategic view of communications and marketing is crucial both in building internal relationships and fostering an open work culture, and in fostering and sustaining customer loyalty.
This award category sought to recognise in this changed business context an enlightened, strategic view of communications and marketing is crucial both in building internal relationships and fostering an open work culture, and in creating and sustaining customer loyalty.
For the judges, Middleton Grange was the clear leader for the award in this category. The head judges for this category, Mace Macro director Alison Hartigan said: Mark Rycraft of Middleton Grange is an outstanding individual. Under his energising, passionate and creative leadership, the achievements of his team at the shopping centre are immense. Every new initiative that Mark leads breaks new ground and reaches out to the local community for their benefit and enjoyment
The response from the public has been equally enthusiastic with over 25 schools from the local community having participated in the Shop for Schools Loyalty Programme. Rycraft understood the importance of providing the general public with an overall feel for the shopping centre. The website is key for the strategy's performance and as a tool for monitoring traffic and statistics on the success of any campaign he said. The overall FM function of the organisation is not something that is promoted ordinarily to the general public he explained. But we have worked alongside the Carbon Trust to promote the good work we have done on an environmental level.
EUROPA AND THURROCK COUNCIL
The council's Road Safety Team educates children and residents of Thurrock in Kent, to help to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on local roads. For the second year in succession, the project is highly commended by BIFM judges.