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Thought Leadership

A place to keep up-to-date with the latest marketing trends

Customer Experience, Lead Nurture, Strategy

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, having an exceptional customer experience is the best way to stay ahead of the competition, not only during market downturns, but all year round.

 

With customer expectations constantly changing, evolving and increasing, property businesses must continue to place the customer experience at the heart of all strategies in order to experience consistent success.

“The only truth is that if we follow the needs of our consumers – in content creation and in research and development – we should still have a place in the market in 2021.”

Jessica Best, Vice President – Data-driven Marketing Barkley


Here are three customer experience trends and must-knows to think about in 2021:

With customer expectations constantly changing, evolving and increasing, property businesses must continue to place the customer experience at the heart of all strategies in order to experience consistent success.

“The only truth is that if we follow the needs of our consumers – in content creation and in research and development – we should still have a place in the market in 2021.”

Jessica Best, Vice President – Data-driven Marketing Barkley


Here are three customer experience trends and must-knows to think about in 2021:

 

1. Place your customers’ needs at the heart of your activities
One of our most favourite insights that we like to communicate to all our clients goes a little like this: If businesses continuously placed the customer (and their needs) at the centre of all strategies, it wouldn’t be so hard to make sales during market downturns.

 

This is because by having a comprehensive understanding of who your customer is, what their pain points are, what needs they have and how these needs can evolve and shift, you have the ability to create strategies and products that respond to them.

 

If 2020 was the year where brands had to adapt their services and marketing activities to respond to customer needs and behaviours in a COVID world, 2021 will be the year where businesses will need to have a clear plan in action to monitor and respond to their customers’ evolving needs and expectations in a world where anything seems possible.

 

2. Respond to new consumer behaviours, expectations and priorities
In a world where homebuyers have hundreds of options at their fingertips, property businesses need to deliver an experience (and a product!) that customers genuinely desire or risk missing out. Customers expect to receive a personalised experience that’s tailored to their needs and makes them feel listened to and valued.

 

“Customers ultimately wish to do business with companies that demonstrate care and respect for their needs: having a well-considered customer journey will help set your business apart by approaching your product and service delivery in a way that always puts the customer first.”
Anne Baker, Director – Two Crowns Marketing

 

Consumers have shorter attention spans, higher expectations and different priorities after experiencing a range of difficulties throughout 2020, and property businesses need to be ready to respond to these shifts by placing the customer and their changing needs at the core of every strategy.

 

 

3. Improve mobile and user experience
It’s no secret that the modern buyer explores a range of property websites on their phones and laptops for weeks (or months) before entering a sales office. This means that your brand’s digital experience needs to be optimised and prioritised. Make your value proposition clear, navigation easy and information readily available for those who want to learn more.

 

A great way to determine the effectiveness and identify potential downfalls of your digital experience is through mystery shopping, and the Property Republic team are experts at this. We conduct online, telephone and in-person enquiries, monitor all communication with sales representatives and visit the sales centre. We then audit any follow-up and provide a comprehensive report with recommendations. Our methodology lets you hear from our shoppers and feel the emotion soon after their shopping experience.

 

For more key insights, read our PRX Magazine: The 2021 Trends Edition.

 

 

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Strategy

The Property Republic team spoke with industry leaders to get their insight on what shifts will occur in property throughout 2021. Here’s what the experts had to say:

 

1. The online sales process in property will continue to be a focus
It’s fair to say that the online sales process is here to stay. The lack of face-to-face contact experienced during the 2020 lockdown periods and the increased emphasis of social distancing practices were the push many property businesses needed to transform and improve their online customer experience. Being able to deliver a completely digital customer journey, from initial enquiry all the way to sale and beyond is not only an expectation, it’s essential.

 

“I’m confident the sales process will remain online. Due to COVID we needed to change our sales process to a full online experience. Now that the restrictions have eased, we are still seeing that the majority of enquiry (90%) would still prefer to buy a property this way.”
 Matt Dean, Project Director – Woodlea

 

Home buyers – especially the younger generation of home buyers – will continue to opt for digital experiences over in-person ones and this means property businesses need to make this a priority. Delivering multiple online touchpoints, virtual meetings and walkthroughs, digital nurture sequences and a seamless experience is becoming the status quo, so now property businesses must ask themselves “what more can we do to stand out from the competition?”

 

“I think there will be greater expectations and market acceptance for a digital marketing and sales experience post COVID-19 lockdowns. Like with a lot of things, COVID-19 has fast tracked digitisation which has been slowly happening for years. The days of driving around to 10 different land sales offices to shop around are officially over!”
Ryan Beer, Senior Development Manager – Woodlea

 

2. Audiences will be more engaged and interested

It’s possible that developers will experience higher qualified leads this year, as people are only engaging with the property sector online and in-person when they are seriously considering a purchase. But with a more switched-on audience who have higher expectations, property businesses need to be prepared to differentiate themselves from competitors by prioritising the customer lifecycle and delivering an exceptional experience.

 

Traditionally, the majority of marketing attention and budget gets thrown at the awareness and lead generation stage of the customer journey, with little consideration for how these leads will then be nurtured. This approach needs to change. Property businesses need to place a greater emphasis on the later stages of the customer lifecycle: the interest-intent phase, the decision phase and the loyalty phase. This means refining and perfecting the follow-up call, posting regular and relevant blogs and social media content that serve to educate and inspire and creating an email nurture sequence that delivers real value.


“I believe leads will be more qualified, as I expect people aren’t engaging in the property sector unless they want to transact. And as a result, better conversion rates are expected.”

 Anne Jolic, Head of Development – Retirement Living Lendlease

 

For more key insights, read our PRX Magazine: The 2021 Trends Edition.

 

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Strategy

The Property Republic team spoke with industry leaders to get their insight on what shifts will occur in property throughout 2021. From how we purchase property, to how we work, to people’s expectations of the product, there’s a lot to consider. Here are 2 important takeaways:

 

1. Connecting office-based and remote teams
Flexibility within the workplace will continue to be an expectation, and as a result, a focus will need to be placed on technology to create better connections and seamless communication between in-house and external teams. Businesses of all types must be prepared to accommodate an increased mix between working from home and working from the office, as people’s preference for how and where they choose to work changes. A big part of this involves investing in effective technologies and spaces.

 

“If there is to be an increased mix between working from an office and remotely, there will need to be a greater focus on the technology platforms used to deliver a useful meeting experience whilst accommodating the two.”
Sean Pinan, Director – Catalyst Development Services

 

2. The shifting balance between home and work
Priorities have and will continue to shift within people’s ideas of work-life balance. With people continuing to work from home, and companies realising work can get done without employees being in the office, more people will reconsider where they live – desiring a location they love over a location that’s close to their office.

 

“One word comes to mind: duality. I think a key impact of 2020 (and COVID) on the property industry was being forced to contemplate and reimagine the spaces we live in; the locations we live in; the values we live by or how we’ve been prioritising them and the investments we make.”

Lisa Thompson, Principal Solution Provider – ThinkSolve

 

It’s likely that we’ll continue to see the following shifts well into 2021:


– Regional and coastal locations will boom as individuals continue to work from home most days a week
– Families will opt to live in a more remote location for a better lifestyle
– Increased interest in new master planned communities because they have better open spaces and facilities
– Rising expectations that a new home will have flexible spaces
– Parents choosing to drop off or pick up their kids from school
– A greater likelihood of people purchasing a holiday home over inner city properties so they can enjoy their investments or plan for a “sea or tree change”

“2020 forced people to slow down and rediscover an appreciation for what we have at or near home, and I think this will increase the focus on decentralising Melbourne to establish the proposed 20-minute cities – which has implications for all sorts of industries and offerings.”
Anthony Battista, Marketing Manager – MAB Corporation

 

For more key insights, read our PRX Magazine: The 2021 Trends Edition.

 

 

 

 

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Content Marketing, Strategy

What is it?

Recently, Instagram rolled out their newest feature called ‘Guides.’ It allows users to create more scrollable content by collecting and curating posts, making it easier than ever to share information in an easy-to-digest format.

 

You can choose three different formats for your Guides:

 

  • Places

  • Products

  • Posts

 

Guides can be found on your profile between the feed and IGTV icons. They can be displayed on your profile, in your feed, on the Guides page and in the Explore page, which means they have a high visibility rate.

 

Should you be using Instagram Guides for your project or property business?

It’s recommended that you have a diverse and multi-platform social media presence. However, if your team is lacking the budget, time or resources to commit to integrating guides into your Instagram strategy in a meaningful and consistent way, don’t feel like you need to jump on the guides bandwagon just because it’s new and shiny. It may be something you come back to in a few months.

 

How to get started

If you’ve decided that Instagram guides fits within your strategy and capabilities, the best way to get started is by repurposing and re-sharing content that you’ve already posted to Instagram, to create comprehensive and step-by-step ‘how-to’ guides.

 

For example, if you’ve published multiple posts about finance options for FHB, compile these into one Instagram guide titled ‘5 finance tips for FHB’ (or something to that effect). The same can be done for posts about your project, the local area, benefits of building a brand-new home and so on.

 

For a break-down of all of Instagram’s best practices, read this handbook from our content specialist brand, Content Republic.

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Project Marketing, Strategy

Project marketing involves liaising with an array of consultants, agencies and professionals; content agencies, photographers and videographers, community managers, renderers, copywriters, builders and landscapers just to name a few.

 

To make your job (and their job) easier, it’s essential that you’re a good briefer. In fact, we can’t emphasise the importance of good briefing enough!

 

Briefing is your opportunity to provide your consultants with clear expectations, allowing you to really set the tone of the assets you want created.

 

Here are some things you’ll need to consider when you brief.

 

1. Be a clear briefer. One of the best ways to clearly outline your expectation is by filling out a briefing template. In your brief, be clear about what you want and what you don’t want. You may even like to provide examples. And always set realistic timeframes and provide budget expectations.

 

2. Provide solution-based feedback. Always start your feedback with what you liked. Then voice your ideas and criticisms in a constructive way that will help the professionals to understand your expectations. And be prepared to listen to suggestions from your consultants – after all, they’re the experts!

 

3. Be thorough. Provide the consultants with all the necessary information and assets at the same time to reduce inefficient ‘back and forth’ communication.

 

For more useful project marketing insights and tips, download our free Project Marketer’s Handbook.

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Content Marketing, Strategy

Given Sunday’s disappointing announcement from Dan Andrews about the extended lockdown for Melburnians, your community is craving digital interaction and entertainment more than ever!

 

Use this time to engage and amuse your audience by creating content that they can relate to and enjoy.

 

To help you get started, here are 27 different content ideas you can implement, starting today.

 

8 September 2020 – International Literacy Day  

Blog idea: X must-read books about (topic)

Community engagement idea: Ask your homeowners to post a photo of their favourite book and write why they love it (and tag your handle!) to your social media page.

Competition idea: Host a competition where members of your Facebook community write a poem or short story and post it to your page. At the end of the day, pick a winner and offer a prize.

 

9 September 2020 – Teddy Bear Day  

Blog idea: DIY backyard teddy bear picnic set-up / X best local parks to enjoy a teddy bear picnic

Event idea: Host a virtual teddy bear picnic on Zoom that your community can tune into. During the picnic you can read books and play songs for the kids to listen to. This is an excellent activity at any point of the month – your invitation could be sent on Teddy Bear Day for a date later in the month!

Community engagement idea: Ask your social media community to post a photo of their childhood teddy, or their children’s current favourite teddy, and a short caption about why it matters to them. Make sure you ask them tag your social handle in the caption!

 

10 September 2020 – R U OK? Day

Blog idea: X ways to show your friends and family you care

Communication idea: Show your community and staff members that you care about their mental health and well-being by asking them the simple question – are you okay? Make a social post, send out an email or text, give someone a call. It doesn’t matter how you do it – even the smallest gesture can have a big impact.

Spotify idea: Compile a playlist of uplifting and positive songs to share with your community, and bring a smile to their faces.

 

10 September 2020 – Swap Ideas Day  

Blog idea: Partner up with another brand or individual (such as an interior designer) and share ideas about a relevant topic in a casual interview setting. Top and tail the transcript with an intro and outro to make an interesting read for your customers. You could also film or record this interview and create a compelling video or podcast episode.

Social media idea 1: Use this day to shout out a word of appreciation to other brands or individuals who you have collaborated and shared ideas with.

Social media idea 2: Use your Instagram stories to host an idea sharing session. Ask your followers to send through ideas or suggestions for the community, and respond to them in a short stories video.

 

13 September 2020 – Positive Thinking Day  

Blog idea: X positive affirmations to tell yourself every day

Video idea: Get your sales team to record themselves saying their favourite positive quote, mantra or affirmation using their smart phone. Compile the clips into one montage and share to your socials.

Community engagement idea: Ask your social media community to post their favourite positive quote, mantra or affirmation and tag your brand. Or, host an Instagram stories session where your followers send you their favourite positive sayings and you read them aloud in a video – be sure to give a shout out to each person whose submission you read!

 

16 September 2020 – Working Parents Day  

Blog idea: X confessions of a working parent in iso

Community engagement idea: Ask the working parents in your community to post a video of a funny ‘truth’ or ‘confession’ about being a working parent in iso to your socials (and tag your handle!). You can add incentive by offering a prize for the funniest video.

Social media idea: Post something motivating to your social media today, to acknowledge the hard work of the working parents in your community – especially those working from home with kids!

 

20 September 2020 – National Women’s Friendship Day 

Blog idea: X ways to show your friend you care

Community engagement idea: Encourage your female followers to have a virtual date (or in-person if restrictions allow) with their close female friends and post photos of their catch up, tagging your brand.

Spotify idea: At least one week prior, ask your followers to send through their favourite songs about girl power and friendship. Compile the suggested songs into a Spotify playlist and share with your social media community.

 

21 September 2020 – World Gratitude Day  

Social media idea: Post an inspirational quote or thought to your social media today that encourages your followers identify the things they’re thankful for.

Video idea: Ask your sales team to use their smartphones to video themselves saying something they’re grateful for. Compile the clips into one video and post to social.
Community engagement idea:
Ask your community to post about what they’re grateful for in their home or their estate (in a caption or in a video) and tag your brand. Or, host an Instagram stories session where your followers send you the things they’re grateful for and you read them aloud in a video – be sure to give a shout out to each person whose submission you read!

 

22 September 2020 – Hobbit Day

Blog idea: X inspirational quotes from The Hobbit or X important lessons in The Hobbit

Competition idea: Throughout the day, post a range of quotes from The Hobbit to social media. The first person to guess who says the quote correctly wins a prize chosen by you!

Quiz idea: Host a virtual quiz on Zoom. Participants must write down their answers and email or direct message you afterwards with their answers. The person who gets the most questions right wins a prize chosen by you.

 

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Customer Experience, Project Marketing, Strategy

When launching a project, development teams take a no-expenses spared approach to branding, creating brochures and installing the biggest billboard council will permit along the freeway. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on creating impactful first impressions. And while this is very important – you never get a second chance to make a first impression – what happens after you establish that initial contact and try to build a relationship?

 

All too often we see project teams leaving little budget consideration for lead nurture and content marketing activities. While branding initiatives are important, so too are the actions involved in nurturing your leads from initial enquiry to final sale and beyond.

 

Here’s a list of the items your budget will need to cover:

 

[ ] Brand identity development
[ ] Content and copywriting
[ ] Project website
[ ] Collateral
[ ] Lead generation
[ ] Lead nurture
[ ] Landing page/pages
[ ] Maps
[ ] Print media
[ ] Digital media
[ ] Project movie
[ ] SEM
[ ] Photography
[ ] Renders
[ ] Floorplans
[ ] Signage
[ ] Asset development eg photography, drone, videos
[ ] Display suite
[ ] Model and/or touch screen
[ ] Social media (posts and campaigns)
[ ] Press
[ ] Builder engagement
[ ] Launch event/ongoing events

 

For more insights on how to set up your new project for success, download our free Project Marketer’s Handbook.

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Project Marketing, Strategy

Brand development is the ‘fun’ and creative part of setting up any new project.

 

During this stage, it’s important that your creative agency is well briefed on the intricacies of your project and that the brand reflects and responds to your Value Proposition.

 

You’ll need a project name, brandmark, logos, design guidelines and a vast array of creative assets. Maintaining clear and effective communication with your creative agency is key here, to not only ensure you receive a high-quality final product, but a creation process that involves minimal ‘back and forth’.

 

Key Considerations

 

1. Will the brand resonate with your target audience? How your brand looks, sounds and interacts is crucially important. Take the time to ensure you get this right from the outset – it often takes several rounds of refinement to get it to the right place. This is a very important first step!

 

2. Will your brand stand out from the crowd? Flick through the property pages and you will see a vast array of developments being promoted. How can your brand avoid being the same-same? Think clever brandmark, a bold colour, unique application or strong brand statement.

 

3. How will the brand translate across multiple mediums? A beautiful gold foil logo looks fabulous on a brochure but how will a gold logo translate in a digital environment? Your agency will be able to make recommendations, however these are considerations you will need to make to ensure your brand is always best in show!

 

4. Big ideas are great but often come at a cost! Your creative agency will be working to ensure your brand resonates, stands out and gains traction. Just be clear about your budget from the outset. Big, shiny ideas are great however they often break the bank! Work with your agency to come up with cost effective solutions that still achieve a great outcome for your brand.

 

5. Brand Guidelines are a must! Once your brand is established, ensure your agency establishes brand guidelines so all contractors understand how to replicate your brand correctly. Consistency is key!

 

For more important information on how you can set your project up for success, download our free Project Marketer’s Handbook.

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Customer Experience, Strategy

Developing a strategy is a crucial step for any new project, initiative or venture.

 

In order to set your project up for success, you need to have a documented strategy that delivers on the vision and value proposition, demonstrates a clear understanding of your customer and how they move through the project lifecycle. This then influences the brand development.

 

Your strategy will have a greater chance of succeeding if the whole team is on board with a thorough understanding of the value proposition and their individual responsibilities. This means that the development of your marketing strategy needs to involve the marketing, sales, design, development, customer relations and community teams.

 

Start with the objective

 

Let’s face it. A development business exists to make a profit. A marketer that can think in terms of achieving sales and delivering profit is worth their weight in gold. The best development businesses that consistently make a profit are the ones with the customer at the centre of their thinking.

 

Your marketing objective should be along the lines of:

 

Attract our target audience through measurable lead generation activity, nurture them using educational and entertaining content, delivered utilising technology and an integrated marketing, sales, customer relations and community experience to convey our brand promise. This will ensure we achieve:

 

  • XX sales by DD/MM/YYYY

  • Profit of $XX

 

Then outline the strategies you will use to deliver on the objective. Some ideas around strategy categories:

 

  • On-site customer journey

  • Digital customer experience

  • Collateral

  • Content

  • Lead generation

  • Events

  • Launch

 

Example: Lead generation

 

Our lead generation target is XX new leads per week (based on a XX% conversion to sale) and will come from the following mediums:

 

  • Social campaigns

  • Digital advertising

  • Strategic signage

  • REA listings and project page

  • Builder referrals

  • Customer referrals

  • Search engine marketing

 

Note: Sales suite visits or your website is not a lead generation method. People don’t just wake up one day and know you have a sales centre or type in your website URL. They are prompted by some type of advertising. Each of these sub-categories should then have action items, responsibility allocation and due dates listed.

 

For more insights on how to ensure your new project is set up for success, download our free Project Marketer’s Handbook.

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Project Marketing, Strategy, Workshops

When it comes to initial stages of setting up a new development, you have a blank canvas and a very important role to play in shaping the future of your project. Hosting a vision workshop will not only provide an opportunity to set up the project collaboratively, it will also help to inform your value proposition.

 

Here’s a vision workshop format you can follow to help set up your project for success:


1. About the site: 

  • Number of lots

  • Design aesthetics

  • Access to existing transport, education and retail

  • Proposed transport, education, retail, parks and recreation opportunities

  • Road layout

  • Landscaping opportunities e.g. wetlands 

 

2. Competitive context:

  • Who are your key competitors?

  • What are they doing well?

  • What can you do better?

 

3. Personas:

  • Who is your audience?

  • What are their likes and interests?

  • Where do they currently live?

  • What needs do you need to satisfy?

 

4. Focus Group Findings:

  • What learnings can you incorporate into the project?

 

5. Sustainability:

  • What sustainability features resonated with your focus groups?

  • What could your project implement to make it stand out from its competitors?

  • Are you aiming to achieve any accreditations eg Six Star, Green Star?

 

6. Innovation:

Brainstorm ideas during the session such as:

  • What innovative building techniques or materials could be used?

  • How could you incorporate new technology?

  • What learnings have we taken from the Covid-19 experience that can be incorporated into this project?

 

7. Community and Amenity:

  • What do we imagine for this community?

  • Will there be young families and therefore a need for childcare and parenting groups, communal garden or exercise groups?

 

At the end of the session, you’ll have a wealth of information to collate and the outcomes will help inform the next stage of the process, building your Value Proposition.

 

To discover everything you need to know about setting up your project successfully, download our free Project Marketer’s Handbook.

 

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