Disrupting Real Estate: Why Traditional Marketing Isn’t Working Anymore

Contributed by Erina Malarkey, Virtual Marketing Officer

It’s undeniable that the real estate industry is largely antiquated in its approach to branding and marketing, at both the corporate and asset levels. Many of the innovations, disruptions, and technologies that are revolutionizing other industries’ marketing organizations are often notably lacking or missing entirely, even among top-notch real estate companies.

As branding and marketing specialists who focus in real estate, this is a tremendously exciting environment for us at VMO, rife with opportunity for our clients and partners to drastically improve how they brand and market their assets, funds, and companies.

Lately, we have been talking to a variety of real estate owners and investors, developers, and technologists about where and how we see the industry changing in the next three years. Our conversations have inspired us to share our thoughts in a series of upcoming articles that will address the dramatic changes we are seeing, including:


Why Traditional Marketing Isn’t Working Anymore

A key catalyst for change in the industry will be shifting from a traditional B2B mindset to a B2B2C mindset. We are seeing the need for this most acutely in the ground-up, mixed-use development space in some of the hottest real estate markets in the United States, such as Seattle, Portland, Denver, Nashville, and Austin.

In a traditional B2B mindset, the problem begins at the pre-construction phase, where developers often consult top commercial brokers to solicit their input on who A-list tenants could be, based on the market, location, and intended product type and key needs. Old-fashioned criteria like parking ratios, highway visibility, and the number of private offices quickly come into play. Additionally, a building often is designed for a hypothetical company guided by an archaic hypothesis of what the C-suite designates most important, but not what the end users they are trying to attract want and need.

In a B2B2C mindset, the starting point is different. You shift from considering the C-suite’s needs to designing for the end user. This shift aligns to modern employers and decision makers’ priorities, which includes the need to attract and retain top talent, enhance productivity, enhance culture, and inspire creativity.

For example, the burgeoning tech sector is dominated by millennials who generally have different preferences than boomerssuch as sustainable design and construction, dog-friendly buildings, corporate social responsibility, work-life balance, unique experiences, and comfortable spaces for collaboration and socializing. These employees are key influencers in their employers’ leasing decisions. This makes potential employees much, much more important audiences for real estate marketers and a group that can no longer afford to be ignored or deprioritizted.

By focusing on the end users as well as the leasing decision makers, real estate developers will have better design insight to meet the buying needs of tomorrow. But brick and mortar isn’t enoughstay tuned for our next post about how to build and activate your asset’s brand experience to drastically beat the market.

Have a topic, question, or idea you’d like covered in this series? Email erina@vmo.partners and we’ll add it to the docket.

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