Make 2021 the year of action for shoppers, home buyers, and travelers.

The data is coming in, and it is as you might have expected, 2020 was the year of waiting. Waiting to be with family, waiting to get away, waiting to sell a house, and waiting to feel normal again. We have the data that shows people cut back on a lot of activity that drives local economies, and not all of this waiting was just in alignment with state mandates. 

Utilizing Scarborough’s most recent consumer survey, we’re able to measure the impact 2020 has had on real estate, travel, shopping, and entertainment across Southeast Minnesota and Northern Iowa. Here’s what we believe: these buyers, shoppers, and travelers are coming back. Let’s take a closer look.

Real Estate

In 2018 and 2019, we saw expected growth in the real estate market; with growing businesses and a workforce centered around Rochester, new homes have been on the rise for many years. However, the latest data says that people looking to sell a house dropped by 5,000 in 2020

We predict that of those 5,000 local people, most are waiting. They are waiting to find the right time to move, waiting to feel comfortable viewing houses, waiting to take the next step. When the wait is over, who are they going to call first? 

Take Action: 
  • Advertise next to local news to help build the trust halo. 
  • Define audiences that are likely in the market to sell and find tactics to reach that group. 
  • Livestream what the experience is like for buyers and sellers to bring a sense of ease.


It is no surprise shopping at a local mall dropped in 2020, but we see that malls drew over 33,000 fewer people when shoppers/surveyors were asked if they visited a shopping center in the last 30 days.  

Our local malls see about 237,000 people in an average 30 day period. While malls in Minnesota began closing in March, the foot traffic has not returned to pre-pandemic levels after reopening. The chart below breaks down the local malls’ 30-day traffic over the last 3 years.

According to recent Axios findings, the Mall of America remains down 52% in foot traffic from the February 2020 baseline. 

Does this mean these people will stop visiting malls for good? Some online shopping data may suggest as such. But we predict that the online experience cannot replace the feeling of shopping in-person. Now is the time to remind shoppers of the safety steps in action, the variety of local shopping, and ramp up or refine alternative shopping experiences. 

Take Action: 
  • Review all entry points into your online shopping experience, can customers easily shop and buy with shipping and pickup options?
  • If you are shipping or doing curbside pickup, spread the word through local advertising and going beyond digital with TV and print.
  • Gather customer reviews that will help spread the word of what it’s like to shop at your store.


Ten thousand residents in Southeast Minnesota and Northern Iowa took fewer vacations in 2020. As restrictions lift across the country, Americans will get back on the road, purchase airline tickets, book hotels, and make vacation plans once again. 

Where will they go, where will they stay, and what will they do can come down to how readily available information is to them on what is open. 

Take Action: 
  • Get the word out on any special booking offers new customers can take advantage of through targeted digital ads.
  • There will be vacationers that will want to keep it regional this year, offer locals the vacation experience with guides, partnering with local restaurants, breweries, hotels, and parks to make it feel like they can get away near home.
  • Get the camera out and share what it is like to travel and vacation in your area!

Customers are done waiting. How are you taking action?

Twelve 36 Marketing is a team of data-centric marketing champions who work the numbers to discover what marketing and advertising touchpoints connect your brand to your customers. Whether it’s broadcast TV or digital marketing, together, we can build the smartest marketing decisions for your dollar. Located in Rochester, Minnesota with a footprint that reaches throughout Southeast Minnesota and North Iowa.

If you are interested in getting in touch with a Strategic Marketing Executive and learn how we use data to connect to customers, connect with us today.

Website | + posts