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Oct 26, 2022 Michael DiMella

The Problem Most Real Estate Developers Don’t Even Know They Have

Most real estate developers don’t know they have a major problem that will dramatically increase the risk of a poor lease-up or sell-out.

Multifamily and condo developers are outstanding at what they do best, which is identifying opportunities, and designing and building great housing projects. 

But there’s almost always a major problem that nobody sees coming: There’s no real marketing plan.

Oh, everybody thinks they have a marketing plan, but they’re wrong: a holistic “go-to-market” strategy is completely missing — leaving an often insurmountable gap in demand that even the most well-designed projects have trouble overcoming.

Here’s a typical sequence for a development project:

  • Find a deal
  • Design a building (sometimes with a vague notion of the target audience)
  • Get it permitted
  • Start construction
  • Engage a designer or agency to create a brand and website
  • Hire a real estate firm or property manager

If you’re very lucky, there’s some semblance of a marketing plan from a firm that goes a little deeper than “list in the MLS/ILS and pray” (but probably not).

In reality — there is usually no effective go-to-market strategy whatsoever.

A website is not a marketing plan.

A brand is not a marketing plan.

Go-to-market strategy isn’t just listing in the MLS or the apartment ILS, placing random ads on Facebook and Google, and maybe spinning up an Instagram account with generic content. In order for a project to be really successful, it needs to effectively create demand to accelerate sales and leases for full and fast absorption (if done well, at pro-forma beating numbers).

3 Reasons Marketing is Overlooked in Real Estate Development

#1. Branding Is Not Marketing. 

There are many great branding agencies. But the work designers and agencies do is different than the marketing execution needed to create demand from buyers and residents.

#2. Real Estate and Property Management Firms Lack Marketing Expertise

Best case scenario, you end up with a series of random tactics in search of an effective strategy. And they’re usually too busy branding themselves all over your project to help win their next client anyway.

#3. No Local Ties

Outsourced marketing agencies lack local market direction and on-the-ground knowledge. Without a true quarterback directing a holistic strategy, and without deep integration with the on-site sales or leasing team who are interacting with prospects every day, you end up with useless reports filled with vanity metrics instead of strong execution driving actual sales and leases.

Takeaway: Marketing Your Real Estate Development Properly Matters

You build projects to sell (or lease). Don’t let bad go-to-market strategy get in the way of your goal.

What you need is to go deeper with a strategic process to develop a unique go-to-market plan for your development.

If you’re concerned you may be lacking a strong plan for your next project, and are curious about how we work at CHARLESGATE, let me know. I’d love to discuss our framework.

Want to chat with Mike? Connect and DM him on LinkedIn.

Published by Michael DiMella October 26, 2022