O P I N I O N
Something to mall over
In the AEC industry, technical knowledge is important – but sometimes it’s equally important to step back, look around, and see what lessons can be learned outside the AEC realm.
T he AEC industry is a specialized environment. Marketing for architecture, engineering, and construction firms is best when the marketing team has advanced knowledge of projects and how the work actually gets done. Immersing ourselves in professional development can reap huge rewards.
Jane Lawler Smith
However, pursuing a certified development path is not the only way to go. Lessons in marketing can be learned pretty much everywhere, as we are living in a consumer-driven society and, as we’ve discussed before, the ultimate client is a human being. Still, I was struck recently by lessons learned at the mall. As we all are aware, the glory day of the mall is long past. Ian Bogost wrote in The Atlantic , “I was a youth in the 1980s and early ‘90s, the heyday of the mall as a cultural symbol and a commercial powerhouse. In those days, mall-going really did offer some of the social benefits [Victor] Gruen had imagined. The American suburbs lack the density of daily encounters that characterizes the modernist cities of Europe, and the mall provided a space where people could amble in thick proximity.”
However, the other day, the thick proximity was returning to full effect at our regional, high-end mall. Bucking the trend of decline and covering more than 2 million square feet of leasable space, this mall offered it all. A recent expansion (followed by some unexpected and mandated time away) made even regular shoppers a little confused. So many visitors were making their way to the mall directory. No longer a static map, this high-tech version can answer any question about the massive development … provided it is working. Which, unfortunately, it was not. I witnessed at least a dozen shoppers alternatively staring, touching, swiping – to no avail. Enter, the mail carrier. Obviously mid-rounds,
See JANE LAWLER SMITH, page 10
THE ZWEIG LETTER JUNE 7, 2021, ISSUE 1395
Made with FlippingBook Annual report