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A great issue with lots of really interesting articles from our contributors. The SCCA’s Marketing Awards event is featured on the next few pages. I’m singling it out here because the event, a formal dinner at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney, was, in a word, spectacular. It’s an event that, recognises and pays tribute to the professionalism and the expertise of the marketing arm of the Australian shopping centre industry and more to the point, how it has evolved to become the world leader.

The industry world-wide is about 60 years old. In its early stages, when the product (the shopping centre) was new, the challenge was to attract the shopper, to change tradition, to encourage the public to come and experience weatherproof shopping, piped music, easy car-parking and so on and so forth.

In those days, and right up to the late 1970s, Marketing Managers were drawn from, for example, the entertainment industry. A centre marketing manager could well have been (in a previous role) the entertainment director on a cruise ship, or the entertainment manager in a large RSL or Leagues Club. Attracting shoppers in those days, was all about providing centre-court entertainment – TV Star appearances, bed-making competitions, cat-walk fashion shows, cooking demonstrations by famous chefs, beauty pageants and the like. One of the most popular TV soap operas of the time was titled ‘Number 96’ and the cast spent most of their working life, rehearsing, filming and appearing in shopping centre central courts!

And as such, ‘providers of entertainment’, the marketing people in our industry were considered secondary to those of other disciplines. Development Managers were the elite, the stars, the movers and shakers and the highly paid. Leasing Executives were up there with them; the ‘deal-makers’, the revenue achievers, the influencers of the ROI. But times change. As does, what’s important.

As the emphasis shifted, from ‘providing’ the product (the centre), to managing it and growing it, so ‘marketing’ in its quintessential form, “the tailoring of the product to suit the needs of both the producer (the owner) and the consumer (the shopper)”, came into play.

In the past two decades, marketing has continually evolved into the highly professional discipline it is today. The SCCA 2019 Marketing Awards reflected the professionalism and influence marketing has, on both the commercial and social aspects of our centres. The standard of nominations, more than 200, were exemplary and placed marketing on the same level as all other major disciplines involved in our industry.

The establishment of the criteria for entries, the judging and selection of nominations for awards, the organisation of the entire event, culminating in this spectacular gala event is a great credit to the SCCA team. Brilliantly done; the best yet and a hard one to follow!

This is the Little Gun issue and the overall picture looks good. Retail wise, we all know it’s tough out there but the Little Gun centres are more than holding their own. There are quite a few movements across all of the performance tables with some past initiatives paying dividends.

The Little Gun issue signals it’s our last issue of the year; Christmas is upon us with the decorations already out as I write! At SCN we wish you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. See you next year with the Big Guns issue!