CPPDSM4013-Topic 2 - Check Marketing Materials
Before commencing advertising or promoting a property we must of course ensure that all appropriate documentation has been completed and all relevant statutory requirements have been met. Having done so, we must choose from a variety of advertising media the most appropriate tools to promote a property. Advertising is a vital communication tool for both consumers and investors of property. The ability of advertising and other promotional methods to deliver carefully prepared messages to targeted audiences has given them an increasingly important role in the marketing programs of large and small organizations alike. Changes in technology, the fragmentation of mass markets, the globalization of markets and economic uncertainty are changing the ways organizations approach marketing as well as advertising and promotion.
Some of the tools used to promote property include:
For rent signage board
This is a method of promoting a property to tenants who are driving past the property and involves a sign displaying for lease and agency details. These board signs are continually developing and are now including internal images of the property as well as highlighting other features and specifications of the property. The benefit of this type of advertising is that it targets tenants looking in a local area as well as identifying the property when people are going to a property to conduct an inspection. Recently the quality of print and images on boards has improved dramatically thanks to digital photography, high resolution printing and higher quality materials. Overall, it is an inexpensive method of promoting a property. Other new technologies on sign boards include boards which are lit at night and powered by solar cells.
Window card displays
People’s first port of call when wishing to rent a property is the real estate office. They arrive, browse through the window and get a feel for the market and availability of properties.
This is their first impression of the agency and the presentation offered in the window display will have a great initial impact on the tenant’s impression of the agency and its agents. Window cards must be well presented, accurate and kept up to date. Information provided on the cards must be consistent with all other promotional materials.
Newspapers are the second largest form of print media, the largest being magazines. They are an especially important advertising medium for local retailers and businesses. The vast majority of newspapers are daily publications serving a local community, although in rural areas they are usually a weekly service. Daily newspapers are read by about 60% of adults on weekdays and 68% on Sundays. Weekly newspapers originate in small towns where the volume of news cannot support a daily newspaper. Weeklies are appealing to local agents because of their local geographic focus and lower absolute cost. Whether the newspapers are local, city, national or special audience newspapers, the main point to remember is that it must reach our target audience as efficiently as possible. Most papers have special classifications or sections for different types of property, especially large daily city newspapers. Real estate has experienced such a boom that dedicated lift-out real estate sections are available in most newspapers. The types of newspaper advertising that are available for promoting properties include display advertising and classified advertising. Special ads and inserts can also be used but are considered more one-off activities for larger projects or developments.
Editorials are an excellent method of promoting an agency or an extremely unique or landmark-type property. The benefit of editorials is that they are perceived to be the opinion of a third party and not the agency. There is a greater possibility of getting an editorial in a country newspaper than a city newspaper.
Magazines are the most specialized of all advertising media as most magazines are targeted to a very specific audience. Consider Multilist Realtor, not only does it specifically advertise real estate but it also segments the market further into geographic areas throughout NSW and then again within each region. For example, the Far North Coast NSW region promotes properties that are broken down into townships such as Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads, Lennox Head, Nimbin, Bangalow, etc. all the way to Evans Head. Therefore the main advantage of using a magazine as an advertising medium is their selectivity, or their ability to reach a target audience. Other advantages include excellent quality, permanence and prestige. The drawbacks of advertising in magazines are that they are expensive, they have limited reach and frequency (often once a month), and the problem of clutter and heavy advertising competition. It is not a toll recommended for rental properties.
This is an excellent form of advertising that can be easily prepared in-house, thanks to the high level of office technology that is now available. They can highlight a particular property or other properties listed with the agency as well as a range of other information such as open for inspections, auctions, new listings etc. As with all information provided by the agency, presentation and accuracy is of paramount importance and all print should be checked and verified before being released to the public.
Radio and Television
Radio and television are rarely used to promote a property but are more likely to be used to promote an agency, especially a franchise. The obvious advantage of promoting on radio and television is the broad coverage obtained. In addition to this, other advantages include creativity and impact and having a captive audience. The disadvantages include cost, lack of selectivity for targeting property purchasers among the greater viewing or listening audience and the fleeting nature of the message (usually 30 seconds). It is not recommended for rental properties.
All real estate agencies use the internet and just about all agencies have a website from which they can promote their business and properties. Websites provide an excellent tool for promoting properties, the agency, and agents. They can provide virtual tours of a property showing high-definition digital photographs as well as all relevant information regarding the property and contact details. Overall it is an interactive tool to communicate with your clients.
More importantly, it can be integrated into your office’s computing system to better manage and use the flow of information. It is not unusual for an office computer system to have all client and property details on their computer system and have digital photos taken which can then also be downloaded and filed alongside any description of the property. This information can then be used for producing window cards, emailing to advertisers e.g. newspapers or printers for “For Lease“ boards and placed on the agencies’ website. The benefits of the internet and websites currently far outweigh the disadvantages, which are few.
The advancement of digital technology allows agencies to easily take photos of properties and store these images on their computer systems. The digital photos can then be edited and manipulated to create better quality and high-impact technology, which is easily transferable. The final result is better service for your clients at a reduced cost.
Other forms of advertising
Without going into descriptive detail, other forms of advertising include direct marketing by using existing customer databases, outdoor advertising and sponsorship. The most important thing to consider is how effectively your promotional efforts reach your target market.
Deciding on promotional options
Usually, more than one form of media is used to promote a property. So how do we decide which options to use? The starting point is often based on the budget that has been allocated on promoting the property. This is usually decided on by the agency itself or by the agency and owner after negotiation and discussion. There are many methods for determining an appropriate budget such as the percentage of rent price, matching the competition, or the task or objective method (how much will it take to get the property tenanted). It is important to remember that we are looking at minimal expenditure with maximum return.
Once the budget is set then we can commence planning our promotional strategy. It must be an integrated approach to promoting the property that communicates the message consistently throughout the different media used. We cannot suggest in one form of media that the property is cheap while in another form of media, it is promoted as exclusive. It sends a confused message. The timing of the different media is also important. A promotional plan/strategy outlining details should be carefully established and presented to the client for approval. Some owners, for example, choose not to have a board placed outside the front of their property while others will request a more expensive campaign for which they are prepared to pay.
Typical promotion of properties for rent includes window display, placement on the agency's website and advertising in an appropriate newspaper alongside other properties for lease.
We would like to keep our advertising in front of prospective tenants all the time. This is of course not possible for many reasons, the main being the budget, nor is it necessary. The primary objective of a media schedule is to time the promotional efforts so that they will coincide with the highest potential rental times. This may, for example, be when a property is first listed and it is new to the market or during a holiday period. Different strategies may be adopted when determining your media scheduling. You may wish to commence with an intensive media campaign and reduce media coverage after some time. You may wish to adopt a continuous media coverage strategy where the property is promoted at regular intervals, say every week or you may wish to advertise every day depending on budget and the motives of the owner. Another consideration in determining scheduling is reach vs frequency. An infrequent large advertisement may be just as effective as a daily small advertisement. There is no formula for making these decisions and no hard data to prove that one method is preferable over the other. It is suggested that frequency is necessary when promoting property for the rental market.
As can be seen, there are many considerations when establishing a media plan so now let us develop one.
You must record all instructions accurately. How you do this is up to the individual but it must be in writing. Most property management staff will take down the instructions on a notepad and transfer these instructions to the agency agreement. These notes should also be stored in the owner’s file in case of a dispute over the instructions.
One method of ensuring accuracy is that after each instruction is written down, the property manager repeats verbally to the owner what you understood was said. In this way wrong or confusing instructions are eliminated or minimised and what the owner signs in the agency agreement is a true and accurate reflection of what the owner is after.
All of these documents must be stored in the owner’s file.
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