By Jennifer Lloyd
Most commercial real estate marketing comes at either the investment or leasing stages of development. But a little-known fact is that firms can market their properties during all phases of the real estate lifecycle, from soup to nuts.
A resource offered by Connect CREative helps firms do just that. It’s called Product Evolution Marketing, and it consists of much more than brochures, advertisements, news releases and property videos – though all of those are included. And, this marketing campaign can take several years, just like the time it takes from project proposal, to completion, to ultimate sale of the property.
The strategies and tools deployed at various stages in the property lifecycle include:
- During the proposal and permitting process, a Request for Proposal with a marketing budget will help establish a clear plan that’s supported by market research to determine how the property will be pitched to the desired audience.
- In the pre-development phase, key elements will encompass a marketing plan and an overall strategy, naming the property and creating its identity, designing a logo and writing branding and style guides, writing the property’s story and designing the property website and landing page.
- Once construction commences, leasing materials – print, digital and video – are developed, as a social media strategy begins to really spread the word and the project website evolves. But, other considerations may touch on the way construction barricades are designed, printed and installed, and the look of project and wayfaring signage must be taken into account to reflect the identity of the property.
- As the project transitions to operations and as the lease-up commences, site photos and videos will add tangible evidence of progress. This new life will show up in advertising campaigns to create awareness, while a robust website is launched for all to see and use. It’s also the time frame to develop and distribute news releases – print, audio and video – and make media contacts to share news about the project. Finally, resident/tenant welcome material is produced, and grand-opening events can be planned and held.
- Once the property is open and is handed over to the operations team, it is wise to continue marketing it. Interactive media, such as video and directories, can be developed, advertising can be sold to increase revenue, and events and promotions should always be taking place for tenant appreciation and to recruit potential tenants for any vacancies. Meanwhile, the website must be maintained, its content constantly refreshed, and its look and feel reimagined every couple of years.
- Finally, at the disposition stage when the owner/operator plans to exit the investment, there are important marketing considerations to help maximize value. Offering memorandums must be written, and various forms of disposition marketing must be executed, including advertising, video and social media.
All of the above tactics are marketing, though the intended targets may be different. Some efforts are Business to Business; some are Business to Consumer. But in commercial real estate, properties must be constantly marketed, and Project Evolution Marketing is a strategic way to ensure that it is done consistently and effectively throughout the real estate lifecycle.
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