In over 15 years in marketing, sales, and lease-up of over 35 new development projects at CHARLESGATE, we've created massive demand in new markets, set absorption and pricing records, and have built new tactics to engage the market creatively through challenges like covid.
We've also had plenty of failures & challenges along the way. That is where the best learning comes from, and here are four critical learnings I've taken from our experience:
#1. Demand > Brand
Far too often developers rely on an agency to create a slick brand for a project, but there's no actual "marketing" plan.
Most branding agencies don’t actually do marketing execution. So there's no strategy for creating demand, no funnel to generate leads, and no process to nurture leads or convert demand to sales & leases.
Takeaway ➡️ Agencies and marketing & sales teams must be tied at the hip EARLY to prioritize how the branding will be used to create demand.
#2. Most Target “Demographics” Are Useless
I can't tell you how many times I've heard "we're targeting 'empty-nesters,' or 'young professionals,'" like it's anything meaningful.
Besides avoiding a potential fair housing violation, it's far better to identify the "why" people are attracted to your project, instead of the "who." Impactful brand & marketing execution comes from a deep dive into lifestyle interests, behaviors, and location amenities.
Takeaway ➡️ It's better to deliver more impact to fewer people than creating something that most people just sort of like. Do this by tapping into the "why."
#3. Not Having an On-site Sales Playbook is a Recipe for Failure
This is where the true on-site pro's accelerate absorption.
Almost every project has some sort of "marketing". But almost none have a real sales process that enables the on-site team to identify the most engaged leads or build confidence in prospects with the right sales enablement content.
Takeaway ➡️ A detailed sales playbook dramatically accelerates lease-ups & sell-outs.
#4. Agencies Can’t Do the Job of Boots-on-the-Ground Content
Social media & other 3rd party agencies can be helpful, but only if there is no disconnect with the on-site team.
Too many on-site sales and leasing firms rely on agencies to do "marketing." But where does the best content come from? From the team at the property daily, engaged with prospects actively answering their questions, and building relationships with new residents.
Takeaway ➡️ Marketing must be tied closely to the on-site team to create authentic content & amplify engagement. Otherwise, it's all vague, slick fluff that doesn't create real demand.