The changing face of marketing suites
There’s no doubt that we’re living in a ‘digital’ world; most of us are addicted to our smartphone (55% of people look at their phone within five minutes of waking!), we’re reliant on apps for fulfilling multiple tasks (like the weekly shop) and when we need to know something, our first instinct is to browse the Internet.
In fact, many of us interact with digital technology on a daily basis, whether it’s wearing a fitness tracker to monitor calorie intake, or simply browsing a smartphone to check for train delays.
This reliance on technology and our interaction with digital applications has understandably impacted the way brands communicate with us. The endless variety of marketing channels combined with a vast amount of ads and an increasingly mobile population has meant many brands have had to adapt their marketing strategy in order to successfully engage with consumers and ‘cut through the noise’. Although that has meant a boom in digital communication, there are still a variety of offline touchpoints that brands rely on to market to consumers. And within the property sector one of the biggest methods of offline communication is the traditional marketing suite.
When is a sales suite not a sales suite?
The role of a marketing suite is to showcase a development/product and, ultimately, it has to entice customers to make a purchase. It’s the final stage in the buying process and the majority of online and offline communication is focused around driving footfall to the marketing suite and getting consumers on site. Although their purpose hasn’t really changed over time, the customer expectation of a marketing suite has changed quite dramatically. Gone are the days of the portacabin-style building with a basic fit out and low level of interaction. Today, digital-savvy consumers expect a far more immersive visit to a marketing suite; they expect an experience.
By the time a customer visits a marketing suite they’ve already gained a pretty extensive overview of a development. They’ve probably researched it online, visited the website, downloaded the marketing materials and maybe even had a conversation with the brand on social media. The marketing suite’s job is to provide a physical experience for the consumer and to bring all of this previous activity to life. It also has to complement the previous communications to ensure a consistent user experience. So how can brands deliver an interactive marketing suite experience and keep people engaged when they’re on site?
We believe brands needs to take a holistic view of their overall marketing campaign - we use this approach when we’re working with our clients. The look and feel of the marketing suite is something we focus on during the early stages of a project. We work with a number of partners to deliver an immersive experience for potential buyers and we look at the bigger picture, asking a number of questions such as: what are our main objectives? How will the marketing suite tie in with the overall marketing campaign? What do we want customers to get from their visit? What experience do we want them to have and what do we want them to feel?
The proof is in the eating
Our marketing strategy for Fish Island Village is one example of how the physical marketing suite can complement the wider promotional activity.
Our campaign was focused on championing the spirit of the place and its distinctive character. We did this by creating the campaign pillars ‘Vibrant. Authentic. Eclectic’ and embarking on a community outreach programme. We invited local creatives to produce artwork which we used across various online and offline channels and within the on-site hoarding.
We then carried this theme into the marketing suite and helped commission a local ironmonger to create our brand marque and also display physical pieces of the artwork that were featured throughout the campaign in the form of a gallery setting. Not only did this create a consistent user experience, it also encouraged interaction and supported the campaign ethos of championing the local people. It also pushed the boundaries of the traditional marketing suite, doubling up as an art gallery and offering those visiting the chance to buy local artwork and display it within their home.
Immerse yourself in the experiential
Creating a cohesive customer journey isn’t the only thing brands need to focus on; the use of technology within marketing suites is just as important. According to Tech Crunch, global app downloads exceeded 175 billion in 2017. The Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2017 revealed that of the 16-75 year olds they surveyed, 91% had used their smartphone within the last 24 hours.
It’s clear from these statistics that consumers are becoming more and more reliant on mobile communication, so when it comes to offline experiences, brands simply have to adopt a cross-channel strategy. We work with partners like Octink and Quintessence to create digital experiences within marketing suites and there are so many ways you can add digital to the space. Developing interactive maps, screening video, holograms and VR tours are just some of the ways you can create an immersive on-site experience.
Despite the surge in digital, offline touchpoints like marketing suites continue to be a crucial part of the buying cycle. In fact, 75% of digital marketers believe face to face events are the best marketing tool. Ultimately, whether it’s creating an advertising campaign or putting on an event in the marketing suite, brands need to keep consumers at the heart of what they do and utilise new technology to maximise their results.
Should a Marketing Suite or Sales & Marketing Suite be called this anyway? Yes it's owned by the Sales & Marketing department, but as a customer I don't really want to be overtly sold or marketed to. I want information, a compelling and emotive experience as I'm used to in a more retail environment. I want stories, authenticity, relaxation, empathy and understanding - not sales and marketing... Is it therefore a simple Visitor Information Centre, an Experience Suite, a Lifestyle Gallery or Show room? One for wider discussion there.