What changes in technology will mean for residential development project marketing in 2013: Peter Chittenden

Peter ChittendenJanuary 21, 20130 min read

It’s almost impossible to think about any aspect of marketing today that does not involve the use of online applications and this includes project marketing. However, before we start to look at some of the key trends, I want to suggest some clear pointers for our industry.

To help keep a focus relative to project marketing it is useful to approach this topic in two main areas: content and delivery, with delivery including both applications and devices.

The main reason I have done this is to help ensure that we aim to discuss practical examples of how to use online media across the varied sales roles we undertake for any project. And further, which tools might be best suited to relevant parts of the sales path, from a registrations of interest campaign to the ongoing marketing. We must appreciate how online media and other technology can enhance the sales path, while the buyer experience needs to remain central outcome.

I think that this is a reasonable approach because according to comScore, there are more than 1 trillion digital interactions monthly, and given this huge number and all of the new technologies out there, our industry needs to be sure that the varied options we use to drive our business are relevant. There can be lots of opportunity, but we need to make sure we are not being swept up by the allure of the technology without a clear focus on the benefits it will bring to the sales path. As an industry we are now spending more and more money in the online environment with each project, but we need to keep a balance and be sure that we are fully engaged with the buyer and not simply relying on technology.

The digital environment is, however, a part of every consumer’s world and is more accessible than ever. Our role is to use this in a positive way but not become lazy.

So as we start to look at some of the key trends for 2013, as project marketers we need to be actively involved in helping to build sales paths that in turn match the digital tools available and produce content that will help sell the projects we are marketing.

Smartphone and tablets

The first point is one connected to the key aspect of delivery: how are our marketing messages being received?

The use of smartphones and tablets is growing rapidly, and it is only a matter of time until they become the main way people access the web.

How the devices are used varies greatly. If we think about this, we need to start delineating our messages and at the very least this will address full consideration of how project websites are designed.

I am sure we have all seen a tablet being used in a café or at the airport, and this helps underline that research shows most tablets are used for research and entertainment

Consumers on smartphones who are out and about looking at property are not really in the frame of mind to stop and fill out a long online forms or view a complex PDF about your project or fiddle about to re-size an image, and so specific mobile web sites are required.

As we are dealing with mobile communications, it’s also important to remember that neither tablet nor mobile users will have immediate access to a printer.

The value of content needs to be seen through the eyes of a buyer who might be very much on the move and so content needs to be planned according – again, this brings us back to the value of content. When we set out to plan the goals for mobile marketing and communications we need to be sure and match the various devices that consumers use.

Send to a friend

Look at almost any digital marketing you now receive, or think back to those digital Christmas cards you prepared or received in December, and you will more than likely recall the words – ‘share or send to a friend’. Interaction with others is now at the heart of digital marketing. We need to be aware of this and how information of every kind is being shared is starting to change how a product received by the market.

Our target market is almost guaranteed to share the content (information) we provide with their family, friends and associates and all mobile devices make this very easy. It is also going to be shared by Facebook, Instagram, etc, and our target will of course almost always add their own comments –  both good and bad!

We will be working to encourage comments that we want to be positive – ‘look at this great image’ we do not want ‘look at this rubbish that so and so just sent me,’ and again this brings us back to the quality of our content.

In looking at content from now on we need to ensure that we produce content that our target will want to “send to a friend” and this will enhance our marketing efforts.

Make sure there is enough interesting material, material that will have content to engage our target, so that they buy into our message, we need to have a clear vision and the third item is to ensure our content has variety and is relevant.

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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