January 2023

Maintaining Momentum

Continuing holiday prosperity and building on seasonal sales.

For so many retailers, the holiday shopping season has become an increasingly critical time of year—now starting earlier than ever. However, the holiday period is more than just a chance to boost sales and take advantage of increased foot traffic and consumer spending: it’s also an invaluable opportunity to forge strong and enduring connections with new and existing customers—connections that can help maintain sales momentum for years to come.

What happens when you turn the page on the calendar, however? For far too many shopping centers, what comes after the holidays is an afterthought. For well-run centers, however, the New Year can and should be viewed as a new opportunity. Tenants and landlords can work together to capitalize on holiday momentum and make sure that the experiential energy of seasonal celebrations and special events carries over into the post-holiday period—and throughout the year ahead.

Keep it Going

Maintaining momentum and prioritizing continuity in programming and consumer communications is one of the best ways to do just that. Ideally the holiday season has made a big impact both on tenants and members of the surrounding community, with the kind of programming and holiday highlights that gives people plenty of reasons to visit—and to spend more time and more money. It’s critical not to let those new connections fade away and to continue to build on the progress made during the bustling end-of-year period.

One way to do that is have promotions and programs specifically designed to encourage or reward consumers to come back after the holidays. Another is to leverage marketing and communications (both before and after the holiday shopping season) to keep the “conversation” going and stay top of mind. At NewMark Merrill, we maintain a weekly cadence of email communications with our customers and community mailing list, highlighting new or upcoming tenant promotions or highlights. Building relationships and reinforcing consumer connections is a year-round effort and an investment that can really pay dividends in maintaining holiday momentum.

Pointed Promotions

Another great way to keep the seasonal energy going even after the toasts have been toasted and the confetti has been cleaned up is to deploy creative promotions specifically designed to resonate with consumers who may be motivated by post-holiday spending limits or New Year’s resolutions.

Gym membership discounts or specials, for example, are an obvious way to capitalize on New Year’s resolutions. Restaurants can also promote the nutritional content of their offerings. Entertainment and hospitality venues can deliver messaging and promotions emphasizing self-care or highlighting the convivial warmth and celebratory energy from people coming together to enjoy a drink or a great meal. It’s the kind of message likely to resonate with consumers looking to break out of their winter doldrums or simply brighten their day by coming in from the cold. Given the ongoing inflationary and potential recessionary pressures facing consumers, promotions, coupon programs, and messaging aimed at helping families and individuals make potentially strained budgets go a little further could also be timely and effective.

Landlords should be working closely with tenants, not only to amplify their offerings but coming to them with potential new promotional ideas or campaigns. Smaller independent tenants that don’t have robust corporate support will generally benefit more from marketing support and collaboration, and help compile promotions from all center merchants into a broader and more cohesive all-boats-rise effort.

Dollars and Sense

All of that is only possible provided marketing budgets are properly allocated to continue momentum throughout the year. The best run centers avoid that pitfall by strategically optimizing marketing budgets to account for heavy holiday expenditures—while still leaving plenty of gas in the tank for a post-holiday boost and a yearlong calendar of special events, promotions, and creative communications.

When you have your budget set months (or even years) in advance, you can plan accordingly, delivering an impactful marketing plan while leaving enough financial wiggle room in to take advantage of potentially great opportunities that may arise throughout the year.

It’s Better to Give

What better way to recognize the spirit of generosity and community connections forged throughout the holiday season than to keep the spirit of giving going throughout the year?

Charitable giving and programs that emphasize service and philanthropy are a critical part of what we do here at NewMark Merrill. It’s not only a direct reflection of our corporate values, but in many ways an organic reflection of a team of passionate and inspired organizers who have worked hard to continue to find new and impactful ways to give back to the communities we serve.

Whether it’s food donations or school support, there are myriad ways to make acts of service not just a holiday highlight, but a regular part of your operation. In the process, you build new connections internally and throughout the community. On the ground, those connections are enormously valuable, both in making your center an indispensable pillar of the community, but in yielding new insights into ways in which you can continue to better serve that community. In other words, the holidays might be over, but the relationships, mutual understanding, and goodwill that comes with a strong charitable culture is a gift that keeps on giving.

The Buzz @ NewMark Merrill

An opportunity to give back to an organization that has had a deep influence on my life and the lives of so many others.

I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a great deal of inspiring and rewarding professional opportunities in my career. But there are few (if any) professional honors or responsibilities more meaningful to me than my recent appointment as the new Board President of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles. I’ve been an active member of the board for almost two decades, but my connection to this non-profit organization and its admirable work goes back even further.

As a child, I attended Camp Max Strauss, now called Camp Bob Waldorf, an overnight camp owned and operated by Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters. It was an experience that had a profound and lasting transformative impact on my life. Those camp experiences filled me with a deep appreciation for the power of mentorship, inclusivity, teamwork and leadership. They also sparked a lifelong commitment to community service, and a deep appreciation for the incredible work done by the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles. Since 1938, Camp Bob Waldorf has served over 65,000 children by providing them with camping and mentorship opportunities often at little or no cost, a key part of the organization’s broader mission of supporting and empowering children in need through one-to-one relationships with caring adult volunteers—and strengthening both families and communities in the process.

Appropriately enough, there may be no better example of the positive impact that Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters can have than my own story. I was a kid in need of guidance, direction, and support—and that’s exactly what this organization gave me. With deep and lasting gratitude, I have made every effort to “pay it forward” and to continue to make service and giving back a central part of my life. In addition to my work with the organization, I have also served on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the Board of Stephen Wise Temple, and was former Chair of the Real Estate Principals Organization (RPO), the real estate group of the Jewish Federation dedicated to giving and mentoring. I am an active participant in the Community Leadership Institute (CLI) dedicated to mentoring young leaders in professional, personal, and spiritual development.

Anyone who knows me or my story understands that I view this new responsibility as an extraordinary honor and a privilege, and that I will do everything I can to help this impressive organization continue to fulfill its mission in the months and years ahead.

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