CHANGES IN CRE MARKETING
Written by: Caroline Ball
As a marketing specialist at Colliers International, Caroline Ball utilizes her communication and graphic design skills to market and promote properties and assist in new business development in the Office Services Group. She is responsible for all promotional and leasing materials, social media platforms, email marketing activities, event coordination, and listing platforms. Keep reading to get Caroline’s take on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted marketing in commercial real estate.
It seems like more than only months ago that we packed up our monitors, supplies, etc. and set up makeshift offices in our kitchens, living rooms, and dining rooms, but many things have changed in our worlds in a relatively short amount of time. With new ways of work have come new best practices for how we communicate and market to clients and prospective tenants.
Before the COVID outbreak, videos were often viewed as a differentiating marketing technique reserved for properties with large marketing budgets or ambitious occupancy goals; this is no longer the case. As traditional prospect property tours have come to a halt, video tours have become a requisite for successful property marketing. While property tours have become essential, the industry has seen an increase in popularity for other types of videos as well, including scripted property commercials, property “teaser” videos, drone and location surveys, lifestyle videos, and professionally rendered animations.
Traditionally, the cost of such videos has come with a hefty price tag not suitable for all budgets. As a result, savvy real estate marketing teams have implemented creative solutions to produce videos in-house by exploring new products and platforms.
Even as social distancing restrictions begin to lift and tours resume, it is unlikely that the need for videos will subside. As prospects have adjusted to the convenience and utility of property videos, videos will likely remain standard marketing protocol. Moreover, the pre-qualifying process for tenants has never been easier: many tenants have been able to narrow down their shortlist in a fraction of the time.
Taking the use of video a step further, many brokers have found success in implementing videoconferencing tours on platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. These tools allow tenants to ask questions while being lead through a live walkthrough of the property. For this to be successful, it is imperative to ensure the property is equipped with a stable Wifi connection to prevent video lags and dropped calls.
Attractive Digital Brochures
While property brochures have been standard for some time, the current circumstances have necessitated the creation of marketing material designed to be viewed primarily on screens. This has created an excellent opportunity for marketers to experiment with different dimensions and layouts typically not practical for print use. This shift in design has also been accompanied by a shift in messaging that addresses the new needs of real estate occupiers.
Whereas previously the marketing for a property may have been heavily focused on location or area amenities, the COVID-19 crisis has created a more robust demand for features that help protect the safety and health of all employees, tenants, and other end-users of space. As a result, greater emphasis has been placed on features such as updated HVAC systems, integrated technology, touchless entryways, and sustainability enhancements. Additionally, as many have adjusted to new schedules and routines while working from home, amenities such as on-site athletic facilities, wellness/meditation rooms, and highly functional kitchen areas will prove to be popular tenant requirements.
Other Digital Technology
As consumers continue to spend an increasing amount of time on their screens, it has become more important than ever for marketers to implement a digital-first strategy. A robust property marketing strategy now necessitates the implementation of user-friendly technology, such as the use of virtual tour software programs like Matterport, interactive online maps, custom property websites, and online space planning tools. By making use of the innovative products and services offered through online platforms, marketing teams will continue to stay ahead of the curve while better meeting end-users' needs.