Marketing to property investors requires detailed and specialist support

Peter ChittendenJuly 2, 20120 min read

I suspect that like me you will have seen a few advertisements for investment properties, in particular those associated with large projects. A frequent selling point is to feature a happy smiling face or a happy couple proud of their purchase. They have it would appear not only secured some real estate, but seemingly also a new lease of life.

Another common theme seen in this style of marketing is that the copy will frequently refer to “long-term” goals and how this or that purchase took a lot of time to find and that our happy buyers “did a lot of research” before they made their purchase.

The depth of the property investment market also supports a raft of specialist magazines, with surveys of hot suburbs to invest in and profiles of savvy investors who have built up multimillion-dollar residential portfolios as popular content. There is little doubt that residential property is a popular investment and one that possibly connects with buyers at much more of an emotional level than, say, cash, bonds or the share market.

Despite the happy faces in the advertising, understanding and connecting with this market is a much more deliberate exercise than it might appear. Residential investors are a discerning market. To engage them successfully within the project marketing mix requires a great detail of work and ever more attention to detail.

Investors are not an isolated or second tier target group, which will just be swept up by general marketing. They may well be looking at the market much more critically than the owner-occupier market. So here are few key starting points to consider before we move further into this key theme.

The first step is detailed support

There can be no argument that within the project sales path investor marketing requires detailed and specialist support. One particular aspect that needs to be addressed is the reality that a major project will usually be expected to attract investors from varied areas, both in terms of geography and demographics.

The investment dollar is very mobile and usually lacks an emotional attachment to a particular location; other factors like rentals and potential capital gains from population growth will take priority.

To help demonstrate some of these key points, I am going to draw on the experiences within Colliers International. The credentials for which are established by the fact that over the last 12 months some $1.45 billion in sales came from 3,120 private investor transactions that covered 34 projects. These figures clearly demonstrate how big the local investor market is and reaching the market, as I have already highlighted, requires a weighty level of support.

A wide-ranging reach

Given the effortless mobility of today’s investor market, one key aspect is the need for a sales path that includes a broad network of investment intermediaries that should aim to cover the entire domestic market as well as international options. Both are key areas and while the scale of individual projects will be a key determinate, if the target market is carefully defined then reaching and servicing all markets is recommended.

However, what is important is the spread and reach of these groups. Within the marketing mix they can then be employed to help underpin any particular project and reach the most suitable target markets.

In most cases this will require a demographic split and an ability to reach groups like offshore investors, expats and buyers who might access opportunities by groups like accountants. My point here is that the investor target can be complex and they may not always be engaged by traditional marketing options.

The key idea is to extend the reach of the local sales team by establishing marketing partnerships, to implement sales through the varied qualified channels and so help deliver successful sales results.

The management of key resources and information

The marketing of a major project will always involve a great deal of information and the need for secure and reliable communications.

In looking at a wider marketing community, which can include financiers, investment groups, conjunctional agents or offshore specialists, the project team will need to deliver to the entire marketing effort core sales tools, such as investment reports, floorplans, depreciation schedules, etc. An easy way to do this is via secure internet portals.

Investor reports – a foundation document

No matter how they are prepared or by whom, investor reports should be seen as the foundation document, the basis foundation required before taking any investment product to market.

These reports can be prepared in various ways and formats and when a project marketing firm like Colliers International is used, we prepare our own due diligence and research reports for each property and client. But no matter the mechanics these documents need to conform to best practice for property investment reports.

There is little doubt that the investor will pour over every detail in these reports, because from mum and dad investors upwards every investor has come to expect that investment opportunities will be presented in a concise format. Failing to do so is not only sloppy, but it can and will affect potential sales.

The benefits of producing a quality investor report will clearly increase credibility with buyers. The information needs to be fully tailored and supported by analysis and research because across-the-board and general statements will not be acceptable.

Peter Chittenden is managing director for residential of Colliers International

Peter Chittenden

Peter Chittenden is managing director for residential of Colliers International.
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