Planning is crucial to the creative content in project marketing: Peter Chittenden

Peter ChittendenApril 29, 20130 min read

Following last week’s content I wanted to reinforce the importance of planning.

I am always keen to cover the entire project timeline and where creative content plays its part.

While planning has to be flexible and may vary, if we cover the entire timeframe from the start then there is a far better chance that the required sales will result.

A good start is to aim for a robust marketing plan aligned to the resources available and an ongoing integrated communications should also include the creative content.

One clear focus that all we must address will be securing the critical number of sales required before a project starts construction or gains financial backing.

The rate of sales achieved will always be a critical measure of activity.

Finance, the rate of construction or civil works are all impacted and so an understanding of the project dynamics should help drive the creative message and marketing content.

Experience shows that the creative message will need to change in line with the different stages of the sales path.

During the progress of any development the creative message will be influenced by a variety of factors and there is always a need to keep the sales plan relevant and on target.

A well-managed sales path will be dynamic and the campaign content will reflect this. A solid sales path should anticipate how messages may need to change, but at other times an unexpected u-turn in market conditions will require a quick but measured response.

Varied stages of construction for example can be used as good news to generate new buyer interest. Some external factors are far less predictable, but they can still be used to drive sales and rejuvenate the creative message.

The how and what not the why

The creative process needs to make a positive, measured contribution and I have always thought that it is an area that should not be ‘micro-managed’ either by the developer or the sales team.

I also think that we can be caught up in the how and what of projects and so over look the why – that is why would a buyer look at this or that project.

Our buyers do after all already know the how to buy and what is on offer but we need the creative message to persuade then why.

So I do appreciate that while there is room for a collaborative approach if the creative resources are handicapped then the results will be compromised.


From a general perspective, it is helpful to consider what the creative message needs to achieve, and not concentrate on housekeeping issues otherwise we can find ourselves playing catch-up. The aim should be to have some core objectives and while I am sure that most creative teams understand this here are some key points that I think are useful to keep in mind:

-       Cut through the clutter – with clear relevant and clever ideas.

-       Make a meaningful connection to the consumer.

-       One they will understand and want to respond to.

-       Build valuable content in the project web site.

-       Make the web site a resource not just a reflection of other material – repurposing material can look like lazy marketing.

-       With so much information on-line web sites need to add value other wise they just look like a shop window.

-       Match creative to the delivery channel both traditional and digital media and have an integrated content plan.

-       Create anticipation but do not over-reach the target and remember that there will usually be a need for ongoing communications.

-       Create an integrated experience so that all creative is leveraged to it maximum possible benefit.

-       Create a positive experience for everyone involved – this includes the sales team itself as well as the target.

-       Convince people to commit to the project.

-       Use incentives that work and do not diminish the core quality of the project.

-       Make a difference in the market.

-       Create a strong brand and desirable brand.

-       Do not under estimate the value of customer service – even after contracts are signed there is still a big job to do.

The creative role – why it’s important

It is impossible to avoid advertising. Across a wide and expanding choice of media options, advertising surrounds us from the moment we wake until we fall to sleep at night. The advertising space and the media in general are full of products and services fighting for our attention almost everywhere people move and thanks to smartphones and tables that now includes private spaces.

In reality there is now so much ‘noise’ in the market and all consumers now have so much information that some advertising is becoming invisible as consumers look elsewhere for the information and leads they need.

Property is just one product on offer and when it comes to the promotion of major projects a big part of the project marketing budget will be absorbed by the varied advertising options, this can account for 35%-45% or more of total marketing budget.

Given the level of noise in the market place and many of the points already outlined the role of creative, the content of our ‘storytelling’ will be critical. All advertising plays a central role in driving potential buyers to our product. It is also the public face of the project and so creates the brand in the hearts and minds of our target market and the wider community.

There will be ongoing comments between the need to balance product and brand, in particular brand as it relates to individual projects however given how transparent the market is brands are now more important than ever.

The creative messages, the look, tone, content and feel of creative material, will always be an area of debate. What one person sees as good or even great creative, will in another persons view be poor or irrelevant creative.

However this situation should not deter or diminish the creative role within the bounds of project marketing. Creative design is a part of the product promise and so has warranted this discussion.

Many people involved in the Project Marketing field, both clients and advertising/creative agencies will agree that great creative more often than not has its heart in a tight and well-developed brief and is one key part of the brand foundation.

Understanding what all stakeholders are looking to achieve, in the widest sense of the word will always improve the briefing process.

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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