In a conversation where trust and authenticity came up time and again, this was not the forum for a sales pitch. This was an organic discussion that got to the heart of consumer marketing, what resonates with buyers and how a balance of emotional and pragmatic cues can influence sales.
Not only did we have Colin Peacock, organizer of the Property Marketing Awards; in its 27th year no less, but we also welcomed Thomas Brown, Head Judge for the 2018 event, as well as clients and peers from across the New Homes sector, including the Head of Marketing at Peabody client team for Fish Island Village and the Sales & Marketing Director for Crest Nicholson for our double award-winning Paintworks development (2017).
Thomas started proceedings with an eloquent assessment of what makes great marketing and how marketing should truly be judged:
• Firstly they chose judges from out of the vertical, bringing a cross sector of specialist knowledge and experience from which to access impartially.
• It was recognized that the agencies had to do the basics well and deliver brilliant campaigns as a pre-requisite and it was the required evidence of strategy before execution.
• Customer insight and personas formed the backbone of successful campaigns, those that knew their market and spoke to them with relevance.
• Connected objectives had to be demonstrated, so the entries had to articulate business goals and how they were achieved as part of the campaign delivery.
• Thought before action - Marketing is not an afterthought, again there needs to be that strong strategic thinking behind the campaign and not just design for design’s sake.
• In terms of results, business metrics were sought, not vanity metrics. You can have all manner of followers and re-tweets, but if you cannot attribute any sales to social media for instance, it’s arguably not an effective campaign.
• Disciplined creativity - Innovation and creativity should be based on evidence and avoid simply regurgitating a ‘cookie cutter’ approach. Thomas also cited the beautifully coined expression “Kitchen sinking”, where an agency or client team will do everything they can, as part of a scattergun or ill-disciplined approach.
• Storytelling is key and the ability to tap into the heritage of the destination, its defining story and origin is a great way to connect to the community. It was recognized at this stage the importance of this tactic as part of effective placemaking.
• Evidence of collaboration with the wider community, especially in the early phases for authenticity and engaging material and not just a PR stunt.
• Examples of what made an impact vs what was fun to work on.
• It was pointed out that social engagement is increasingly important and the ability to add to the conversation and not just be a sales mouthpiece. This therefore drives genuine engagement and local advocacy.
• Finally, the importance of listening, not just talking was proposed, especially on social media.
These points not only address the best ways in which to judge marketing, but they also form the basis of a defined structure or modus operandi from which to strategically approach property marketing. Simply listening, thinking and planning before jumping straight into execution is a sure fire way of creating the most effective solutions. However the time and sometimes even the cost for this additional key element can be overlooked as being sacrificial and a non-prerequisite for success.
This in itself opened up another conversation about the quality of design briefs and how we as an agency can help develop and refine the brief with the client before the work is actually started. This in itself identifies the challenges to overcome, the business goals and metrics that should be checked against as the process unfolds.
The rest of the discussion covered a wide variety of topics as the conversation evolved, including buyer’s trust in developers and how this can be won and lost, not just in the social sphere. Sandra Dixon from Crest Nicholson shared metrics as to how effective social media marketing had been at Paintworks in Bristol, whilst Andrew Peglau from Peabody corroborated Thomas Brown as to the importance of early community engagement.
Ideas surrounding brand loyalty were discussed, as well as corporate social responsibility, with interesting solutions surrounding homelessness.
This rewarding experience from multiple disciplines comes on the back of a streak of popular roundtable discussions from Key, so don’t miss your place to BOOK at our next event in February 2019 with Savills as guest speakers. For more information about Fish Island Village and our award-winning campaign for Hill and Peabody, visit our case study here, or speak to the team today.
Watch this space for further developments.