Tag Archives: marketing

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Perfecting your marketing message: Identifying your ideal client

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Perfecting your marketing message: Identifying your ideal client

One of the most common challenges business owners face is figuring out exactly how to consistently and effectively reach their target market. In a world where everyone is constantly bombarded with advertising and information, it’s absolutely critical to know who you’re talking to, where you’ll find them, and what they want to hear from you. If you want your message to be heard through the noise, follow these three steps to effectively connect with your future customers.

Identify your ideal client

For any company to successfully market themselves, they must start by identifying their ideal client. Keep in mind that successful marketing is not about what you can offer anyone and everyone but, rather, how do you specifically fill the needs of your target market. You can identify your ideal client by asking yourself these questions.

Who is your ideal client?

To answer this question, start by considering your target markets psychographics and demographics. Demographics are characteristics like age, marital status, income level, geographical location, and other tangible traits.

What do they care about?

Demographics are certainly important to know, but arguably even more important are psychographics. Psychographics are more about their needs – what excites them, what their goals are, what their fears are, what they are interested in, and where they spend their money. If you’re unsure what some of these characteristics are, consider asking a few of your top clients to answer a few questions over lunch (on you). Your ability to thoroughly understand your ideal client’s needs, wants, fears, and interests will provide an important foundation for all of your marketing (and eventually, sales).

Once you’ve gotten a clear, detailed idea of who you’re looking for, you’re ready to move onto the next two steps.

By Danny Kerr, Managing Partner, Breakthrough Academy

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THE AD EXEC: Market calls for a 'Think Different' approach

THE AD EXEC: Market calls for a ‘Think Different’ approach

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THE AD EXEC: Market calls for a ‘Think Different’ approach

As advertisers, marketers and builders, we can take a lot from Apple’s direction, especially in today’s new real estate climate.

by Tami Kenwell
Madhouse Advertising

When Steve Jobs and team launched their Think Different advertising campaign, it altered the course of the company’s history forever. The idea behind the line is about change. It’s about looking at things from a different perspective and never being satisfied with the status quo. As advertisers, marketers and builders, we can take a lot from Apple’s direction, especially in today’s new real estate climate. Some would argue that the market is cool across the board, but there are still project launches and locations that are met with pent-up demand and strong sales. That’s why we like to say that the market is simply “different,” and that calls us to be equally different in our thinking and execution.

If we were sitting here two years ago and you wanted to launch a new community, our primary tools to generate a robust database may have been the Big Two — signage and digital. Today, getting your message in front of the right audience requires a more tailored approach.

One of the most fruitful strategies we’re currently implementing is the use of multi-platform campaigns. The old “don’t put your eggs in one basket” adage couldn’t be truer. Some of our most successful launches have been in the last few months, combining signage and digital with targeted direct mailers, event-driven marketing, cross-platform initiatives, radio, TV and magazines, as well as custom broker programs. And based on consumer feedback, it’s definitely working as people are clicking on a much broader mix of marketing platforms when asked where they heard about the project.

Another marketing initiative that’s combatting all those tire kickers and fence sitters is the concept of multiple touch points. We believe that spreading a project’s key messaging over scheduled communications is key to staying top of mind with your hottest prospects. With increased supply, buyers may be content to simply wait for the right opportunity before they pull the trigger. Our email metrics show high prospect engagement with this type of drip model, slowing the revelation of project highlights counting down to launch. As digital marketing is constantly evolving, we’re paying even closer attention to what people really want and creating touch points that are always trackable and measurable.

Apple’s Think Different campaign was launched with their famous commercial titled “To The Crazy Ones.” Before it aired, the agency that created it pitched the original idea to Steve Jobs with a powerful mood video inspired by the song “Crazy” by Seal. After the video played, a series of title cards appeared and I’ll leave you with that:

“There are people who see the world differently. They see things in new ways. They invent, create, imagine. We make tools for these kinds of people. Because while some might see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.”

Tami Kenwell is president of Madhouse Advertising.

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THE AD EXECUTIVE: The marketing rules are ever changing

THE AD EXECUTIVE: The marketing rules are ever changing

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THE AD EXECUTIVE: The marketing rules are ever changing

This is a brave new world – the world of Facebook, Google and Instagram, of short attention spans and instant gratification.

by Linda O’Connor
Ryan Design

With the population of the GTA expected to grow by over 2.6 million to 7.45 million people by 2031, the demand for new housing is greater than ever. That being said, with opportunity comes a crowded market, fierce competition and the dire need to stand out. While newspapers, magazines, TV and radio have their place as valuable advertising tools, social media provides layers of added engagement, and many of the old rules don’t apply anymore. This is a brave new world – the world of Facebook, Google and Instagram, of short attention spans and instant gratification.

Here’s where social media can play a vital role in the success or failure of any project. Being a highly visual medium, social media gives you a chance to show off your work to a wider audience and reach the right people in a way you never thought you could. Post a great picture of your project and it instantly gets shared, widening your reach and engagement levels.

Social media has completely changed how people search for, research and buy new homes. In the past, they got their information from newspaper and magazine ads, radio ads and billboards, but nowadays they turn to social media for information. This is a paradigm shift, and we in the industry must move with the times and change the way we market and advertise our projects.

Because social media is interactive, you can instantly gauge the success of your campaign by how many clicks it generates, how many likes, how many times it’s shared, where it’s shared, and so on. That’s the magic of metrics and analytics – the power to put precise numbers and data to your ad campaign in a way that’s never been possible before. Every ad dollar can now be accurately tracked and every penny can be put to maximum use.

Facebook has become a giant in digital advertising solely on the basis of the vast information it has about its members, and it has found a way to monetize that information. Whether you want your ad to be targeted by behaviours, interests, age ranges, languages or locations, your Facebook ads will be served to the right people at the right place, and at the right time.

Instagram has become another popular avenue to promote your brand and product because, as we all know, homebuyers love photos! By uploading pictures of your gorgeous homes or renderings, decor centres and sold-out events, you’ll instantly entice your customers to be more intrigued about your project. With the help of popular hashtags added to your posts, you will be able to reach new heights by getting more views to your page and generate more likes.

The thing about social media is that it’s instant, and it’s viral, but your message needs to be fast and concise before you miss your chance to attract your audience. By asking the right questions, listening to your customers, and engaging with them, you can improve your product, finetune your message, plan your events, and offer the right incentives. By providing relevant messaging in real time, you can create trust and instill confidence in your customers. At Ryan Design International, we understand every tool is only as good as the user, and social media is no different. With a proper understanding of its impressive powers, our award-winning digital team can maximize reach, optimize value and provide better and more cost-efficient media spend to reach potential homebuyers.

Linda O’Connor is the CEO of Ryan Design International.

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THE MARKETER : To open or not to open?

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THE MARKETER : To open or not to open?

By Lianne McOuat
McOuat Partnership

Our agency currently represents 35 active new home sites, 25 about to open sites and another 35 in the pipeline, which will open later this year or early next year. Being a part of so many teams, something we hear every day is, “Should we open, or should we wait?”

Many of our “about to open” sites have had a sign up for a few months and some have been building up their registrant list for a number of years. We have one “coming soon” site with a database of over 9,000, but yet, as a team, we are hesitant to open the sales office in these current market conditions.

Even when we have a confidence level that our list is great, we still wonder: what is the right price to ask in order to make sales in today’s market?

One strategy many of our clients are employing right now is test marketing. What we are trying to do is gauge the market sensitivity and use this data to inform our next steps. Test marketing can be done in many ways, but the key is that the wider market should not know that you are test marketing. This should be done behind the scenes and without a large splash so as to not affect your overall program. Here are some ways to test the market:

One-on-one personal appointments with your prospects: You don’t need a full marketing package, complete features list or even a sales office. All you need is a healthy database and a dedicated sales team willing to spend their time presenting the opportunity to prospects and getting their honest feedback.

Focus groups: Use your existing database or advertising on social media to recruit a group with similar demographics of your target market, bring in groups of 10 to 15 buyers, showcase your site plan and home/suite designs, ask about features and finishes, building amenities desired and test the price sensitivity using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Ideally you use a third-party research firm, as you do not want prospects to feel they are being “sold” to.

Online surveys: Survey programs are inexpensive and can be totally interactive and interesting for your prospects to participate in. Consider sending a survey to your database offering a taste of your project. Most importantly, be sure to ask the right questions to get true insightful answers, not just support company preconceptions.

The major benefit of test marketing is that it allows you to move forward with your project with a better degree of confidence, rather than risking failure or standing still. Perhaps you have designed your project for a 2016 market and need to take a step back, red line your plan for another product or go back to the drawing board. Perhaps you need to wait it out until market conditions return to normal. Or perhaps what we have all seen as normal was actually not a sustainable model and we need to take a deep breath and adjust our expectations for pricing and sales absorptions.

Today’s market calls for new strategies, and doing what we have done in the past may not convert to sales the way it did in the past. Now is the time to dig deep into our experience and push ourselves as an industry to ensure we are offering the right product, at the right price and at the right time.

Lianne McOuat is the vice president, strategy at McOuat Partnership. http://www.mcouatpartnership.com/

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THE AD EXECUTIVE: Building better experiences

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THE AD EXECUTIVE: Building better experiences

Building better experiences
By Tami Kenwell
Madhouse Advertising

What an exciting time it is to be a marketer! Today we have access to the most advanced digital tools and platforms that allow us to create amazing customer experiences, from presentation, right through to sales and beyond. And it couldn’t come at a better time. The market has clearly changed and buyers are in limbo wondering what will happen next, so we’re encouraging all of our clients to embrace new technologies.

Take a page out of the automobile playbook for example, where online and instore experiences are incredibly interactive and engaging with beautifully executed user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). A customer can build, customize and price their car online, then sign the paperwork at the dealership. If the car guys can do it, we can too, especially with how empowering websites have become and the recent influx of emerging suppliers driving down the price of software and hardware.

Today’s savvy buyers are becoming increasingly dependent on digital experiences to enhance their lifestyles. From communication, getting around and ordering food to scheduling meetings, booking travel, banking and controlling your home, almost everything is done online and usually from the palm of your hand. Did you know over 60 per cent of prospective customers will register for your next project on their mobile device or that 78 per cent of Canadians have a social media presence? All signs point to utilizing digital marketing to not only give your customers a better experience, but to increase the quality of prospective buyer databases, boost sales, increase brand reach and give you the ability to improve your digital campaign in real time based on comprehensive metrics. ROI never looked so good.

Some of the new technologies we’re seeing and using are so amazing. Things like AI-powered chat bots on conversational websites, proximity-based sensors to activate content on screens and site-plan tables, voice command touch screens, the automated delivery of custom content based on user behaviour, plus immersive virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). With these tools, we’re creating some of the most strategic and dynamic marketing campaigns that are sure to help our clients’ stand out from their competition.

Lastly, we’re encouraging our clients to look at the incorporation of digital from a holistic perspective and not simply project to project. Each buyer has true lifetime value and, as we all know, one of the best brand ambassadors is referrals and repeat customers. Creating an interactive, memorable and streamlined digital experience is one of the most important aspects of brand building, brand reach and nurturing lasting relationships with your valued customers.

Tami Kenwell is the president of Madhouse Advertising.

http://www.madhouseinc.ca/

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The Marketer: Print media is not dead

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The Marketer: Print media is not dead

By Lianne McOuat
McOuat Partnership

Nearly every day I have to make the case to a client on why to run print. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “print is dead,” I would be rich.

The fact is print is not dead. Every day print lands on the doorsteps of millions of people who appreciate journalism and want a deeper perspective on local, national and global events beyond the headlines.

We advocate a layered approach to awareness building. This includes outdoor advertising on transit shelters and billboards, YouTube, direct mail, search engine marketing, public relations, banner ads on news websites, retargeting your web site visitors, geofenced digital ads to target competitors, social media promotion and a mix of targeted magazines and newspapers. The allocation may have shifted but print still has an important place in your overall media buy.

Here are some reasons why print should be part of your media mix:

  • You can stand out. There are fewer ads. That means you have more opportunity to be impactful.
  • Print ads trigger a higher level of engagement. It takes effort to boot up your computer, or search your phone and visit the URL.
  • Print ads are tangible. They can be saved and stuck on your fridge door or in your briefcase.
  • Digital ads have reached a saturation point. It can be irritating when banner ads follow you for weeks. They can actually give a negative brand impression if you don’t set retargeting limits. Let’s face it, online surfing can be a distracting environment.
  • The people flipping through the homes section of the newspaper or a homes/condo magazine are people looking for a new home. How targeted is that?
  • There are strong branding benefits to targeted print ads. With a consistent aesthetic and appropriate frequency in specific media, you can create a powerful impression of your company in a way a small digital ad just cannot do.

Yes, digital advertising can be more cost effective and targeted. Yes, it is convenient and quick. There’s no doubt that digital advertising should form a strong and healthy part of your campaign.

But with print, the experience outweighs the delivery method. Print readers are focused, and they see your ad while they’re relaxed … in a coffee shop, or on their couch on a Saturday morning. It’s non-intrusive and credible.

I will tell you what is dead. Throwing media dollars against a wall to see what sticks, crossing your fingers and hoping you generate leads without analyzing your ROI. Those days are over.

We advocate a weekly Cost Per Lead Analysis of web visitors and what percentage take action. The print drops on Tuesday and your website visits go up 30 per cent. Coincidence? I think not. Only 5 per cent of your web site visitors register? Not enough. Improve your call to action and data capture method. Which leads convert into sales? Your $5 digital lead or your $60 print lead? Dive in!

Yes, there are longer lag times for measuring impact. With print’s longer shelf life and higher potential for pass-alongs beyond the initial reader, it requires patience. But its value extends far beyond simply the cost per thousand.

Lianne McOuat is the vice president, strategy at McOuat Partnership.

http://www.mcouatpartnership.com/

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Spotlight On Durham: Blue Elephant Group

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Spotlight On Durham: Blue Elephant Group

Innovative real estate brokerage, combined with a savvy branding and marketing agency, is taking Durham Region by storm

By Zoe Dobson

I recently had a chance to sit down with Mark Wadden, CEO and co-founder of Blue Elephant Group Inc., and his partner, co-founder Blair Johnson, to discuss their strategic push into Durham Region. This two tiered company consists of Blue Elephant Design & Marketing Inc. and Blue Elephant Realty Inc., Brokerage. It has become a one-stop shop for developers in search of a concise and cohesive approach to marketing and sales, as well as providing an alternative to the corporate style brokerage for resident homebuyers.

With two Durham Region development projects and over 30 residential listings signed for 2018, along with dozens of active buyer clients, it seems Durham Region is calling on Blue Elephant to spend more time in the area — and they are more than happy to oblige.

Q: Blue Elephant is the new kid on the block in Durham. Despite 2017 being its first year really focusing on the area, the company has seen quick growth with both buyers and sellers. How does the group standout in a saturated metropolis?

Mark Wadden: It’s really everything about our brand that differentiates us — we have an Elephant as a logo afterall. It all starts with our marketing and how we communicate with and educate our clients. From our inception we have really differentiated ourselves in different ways.

One, we have always been looked at as industry leaders in advertising, marketing and technology, we have always taken pride in getting incredible exposure for our clients. Two, our brand and the way we do business really resonates with millennials, who just so happen to make up the majority of the market today. And three, our people aren’t super salesly. We believe in relationship and educational selling. Our realtors are genuine people and you can tell the first time you meet them. We are boutique and that allows us to be selective about whom we bring on board.

Blair Johnson: For sellers and developers we created a stand-alone marketing company to provide more dedicated services to sell their properties. For developers in the new construction space, this allows us to provide a true end-to-end service under one roof. We partnered with an award-winning agency executive to form Blue Elephant Design & Marketing, which comes with an immediate pedigree of success on every scale. Combining this business with our brokerage allows us to be more agile and aligned than our competition, which saves time, money and always leads to improved results.

Q: What prompted Blue Elephant Group to pursue multiple projects outside the downtown core?

MW: It started with an introduction to a highly reputable Durham builder who was attracted to our boutique brokerage and unique marketing approach. Growing up in small town Cape Breton, I found myself instantly appreciative of how business is done in Durham in contrast to the downtown core. We found ourselves surrounded by like-minded people (in Durham) and I instantly knew I wanted to focus on business development here. To date, our growth has been through word of mouth but now we have built Durham into our official growth strategy for 2018.

Q: Many Torontonians equate the suburbs to lackluster lifestyles. Why is Durham exciting for future homebuyers?

MW: Durham offers a wide range of living styles, whether it is by the water or hobby farm acreage. The urban expansion of GO Transit, the Highway 407 expansion and the recently announced Pickering Casino project all go to show that both the provincial and federal governments are looking to it as the next place to be.

Q: What projects are you most excited for in 2018?

BJ: This is somewhat biased, for good reason, but our upcoming projects are very exciting. First, Eden Park by Fourteen Estates is comprised of 28 modern detached homes sitting on massive lots. Fourteen Estates partnered with renowned BONE Structure to provide cutting-edge, Net Zero-ready homes. They are literally building what will be the future of developments.

Our second development is the Clover Collection by award-winning Holland Homes. The homes are quickly becoming some of the most sought after in Durham. Once you have stepped inside a Holland Home you will know why. The Clover Collection is unique in that the lots are spread throughout Durham. Unlike a standard development, you get to pick your favourite neighbourhood, street and lot. Finding one is like finding a four-leaf clover — lucky to find but an easy pick.

BLUE ELEPHANT GROUP

Go online to register for Fourteen Estates at LiveLarger.ca and for Holland Homes at CloverCollection.ca

BlueElephantGroup.ca

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Maximizing the Utility and Value of Your Home Renovation

Maximizing the Utility and Value of Your Home Renovation

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Maximizing the Utility and Value of Your Home Renovation

by Ralph Fox and Kori Marin

Home renovations are an inevitable step for almost all homeowners at one or several points in life. Although many might solicit the help of an Architect or Interior Designer, too few consider the benefits of supplementing that advice with that of a Real estate professional. While the design professional can help maximize value, the Real estate professional will define how the market measures that value. Together, they can intelligently achieve a perfect balance between the qualitative and quantitative tools they each offer, respectively. Although there is no limit to how much you can spend on a home renovation, you should consider your investment along with your lifestyle. This is also true if you are on a budget, as most are. If not planned out effectively, the value of the renovation costs may not be able to be recouped when the sale of your home occurs. But how can you maximize both the utility and value of your home renovation?

The first thing to consider is the Market data in your neighborhood. Regardless of how long one has lived in their community, individuals or their designers will likely not be familiar with the entire makeup of their neighbor’s homes as well as the Real Estate Agents specializing in those areas. Local Agents will have been exposed to a considerable amount of home renovations and will have witnessed first-hand, the impact they have had on the value of not only the home itself but the neighborhood as well. Those Agents will then able to discuss the renovations that have returned the best value in each neighborhood. With this context, a baseline budget can be established which may end up being less or much more than anticipated.

An agent who knows your neighborhood will be the best person provide advice on the nuances of the Market. Using the available local Market Data, Agents can also help identify the reasonable standards in the neighborhood to help you understand what is expected to meet the standards of the homes in the area.

Depending on the conditions of the local market, the value of your home may already be at its maximum potential and any renovations may become superfluous, adding little to no value in relation to your home as an investment. Even in a hot market, homeowners must be cognizant of over-renovating. Typically, this occurs when the value of a home is already significantly higher than the comparables in that neighborhood. A real estate professional can provide these statistics and walk you through the variables.

An additional item to consider is that buyer perceptions vary, and potential buyers may not have the same tastes as you. Though there are classic and neutral designs that may seem “universally pleasing” it is challenging to predict how a potential buyer may react. A seasoned real estate professional can get to the heart of what drives certain perceptions and can single out or establish those worth pursuing in your home. It is important to remember that most buyers will not be able to identify the difference between a $800 and $2,000 bathroom sink.

A prudent homeowner will also consider the potential hidden costs of renovating. No matter what the budget, most homeowners run into setbacks that end up costing far more than anticipated. Working with a Realtor who is in tune with construction costs can provide you with the additional benefit of flushing out unexpected costs. Although Designers can ensure your project stays on budget, the real estate professional brings to the table an understanding of costs in relation to the reasonable standards of the local Market, early in the process. Working together, the Designer and Agent can identify the costs and hidden costs associated with your project.

Whether you are considering selling in the long or short term, renovations should always be carefully considered prior to beginning any work. Real estate professionals can provide a clearer sense of the big picture so you can work with your designers on a budget that is feasible and marries your taste with the market. Seeking the advice of a trusted agent who understands what creates demand in your neighborhood can help maximize your investment and keep you updated over the long term for future improvements.

FOX MARIN is a dynamic duo with decades of success in real estate investments and brokerage services in the GTA. Fox Marin creates smart solutions that meet each client’s unique personal and financial objectives. They have been featured in BuzzBuzzHome, Canadian Real Estate Wealth magazine, Global TV News, The Huffington Post, New Condo Guide magazine, and the Toronto Sun.


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