A Real Estate Agent's Perspective

Case Study 1
Wisma Tenggara, Damansara Heights

Case Study 2
Sentul West
Developing a product innovation

  • Problem: Being in a comfort zone without any room for change.
  • The problem is not knowing how to get new innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. (eg. Dee Hock - business visionary and creator of Visa)
  • The problem is not about learning but about forgetting.

What it isn't.

  • Real Estate Marketing?
  • Not to be seen as the task of finding clever ways to sell the properties.
  • Not to be seen and confused with the sub-functions of marketing I.e. advertising and good salesmanship
  • It is not the art of Selling what you develop i.e. production concept is out of the window!!!

What is innovative real estate marketing?

  • It is the art of knowing what product to develop.
  • It is the art of identifying and understanding customer needs and creating/developing real estate products that deliver these needs which the customer is willing to pay for.
  • It is the art of developing the marketing channels required to reach the desired target market.

How innovative real estate marketing works.

  • It is to be treated like the marketing management of any other product. The following needs to be determined:
    • Consumer and Market Analysis
    • Competitor Analysis
    • Channel Development
    • The 4Ps - Product, Price, Place, Promotion

Case Study 1
Wisma Tenggara, Damansara Heights

  • Languishing for two years at 38% occupancy rate.
  • Zerin Properties was then appointed exclusive agents of the property.
  • Within 6 months, occupancy was in excess of 85%.
  • Currently, occupancy is at 98%
  • How''
  • Market & Consumer Analysis
    • Product - Well maintained with good tenants although there was a slight oversupply of office space in the said category.
    • Pricing - Competitive, however, consumers were looking for easy entry levels.
    • Place - End users were not defined and the playing field was not determined, Marketing channels were not developed very well.
    • Promotions - The name was not recognised in the market as there was a total lack of market awareness .
  • A "differentiation" strategy was applied.
  • Zerin Properties focused on building relationships with the target market and the marketing channels.
    • Target Markets - Small to medium sized professionals, consulting firms and IT-based companies.
    • Product - Positioning - The best secondary office building in Damansara Heights. Zerin Properties aimed to outdo all competitors.
    • Place - Channels - To consciously develop a relationship with marketing channels such as Estate Agents.
    • Price - Acceptance level of rental was about RM2.40 -RM2.50 for tenants. An increase of interest was garnered when they were required to pay less deposit and also during the introduction of rent free periods
    • Promotion - Advertising and Public Relations - Named the Building Wisma Tenggara. The advertising strategy was to be editorially driven while having minimal but effective advertisements in the targeted media.
  • From Strategy to Tactics
    • Exclusive appointment to build channels that last.
    • Targeted Direct Mailers - Regular mail and e-mails to net communities and target markets.
    • Pricing and innovative promotions to position the property
    • Editorials in targeted press i.e. business magazines, business sections etc, Branding the building via a name to proliferate the building and what it stood for.
  • A successful property development usually sees market leading and market driven products.
  • The decision on the Product is the most critical. The other elements are of course the remaining 3 Ps: Price, Place - choice of distribution channels and Promotions - advertising, personal selling, public relations, publicity and direct selling.
  • But HOW do you develop a product?
  • Market and Consumer Analysis
    • 36% of the population in Klang Valley is between 30 to 60 years - which falls into the high-earning category.
    • This demographic is more discerning in the choice of their dream home. Their interest does not just lie in the type of property but also its quality and the lifestyle offered by the product.
    • One must realize a niche that was unarticulated before i.e. a latent demand for high quality lifestyle products. Note: that high quality does not mean high price
    • Available gap in the market to capture and service this market.
  • Location Competitor Analysis
    • Mont Kiara - High-end, perceived as high density and smaller sized.
    • Bangsar - Commercialised but excellent location.
    • Damansara Perdana, Desa Park City - Location.
  • Developer Competitor Analysis
    • Please Refer to YTL Land
  • Channel Development
    • To build product trust with consumers
    • Direct to buyer /end user
  • The Marketing Mix
    • Product. Needed a product that will appeal to the affluent target market.
    • An available 'Marketing Gap' was recognised.
    • A 'lifestyle' concept was used as the product's main driving force, but choice of lifestyle was innovative. The old golf course and the view of a park could be used as the primary focus. However:
      • Fundamental issues are still very important. i.e. size, layout, finishes, orientation, views, M&E etc
      • Main focus is 'lifestyle' and how the units can sustain it.
    • Pricing. To reflect the lifestyle, to attract those who appreciate the lifestyle, yet to remain competitive with competitors in the surrounding location.
    • Place. Target market very well defined - 28-45 years old, professionals, business people who enjoy and cherish their lifestyle
    • Promotion. Used the print medium and YTL Community.Com to attract the target market. Also organized talks and seminars on their development.
  • Again, it was a case of doing the same things differently
    • Product - Not focused on Golf, Lake etc but Park, draw parallels with Hyde Park and Central Park. Not focused on size of units, finishes, location but on lifestyle
    • Pricing - Not focused on cost but on providing Value
    • Place - Not focused on creating mass awareness, but only to the target markets
    • Promotions - Not focused on selling but helping people choose a lifestyle

So What is Innovative Real Estate Marketing?

  • Creating a product that meets the requirements of the consumer.
  • Creating the channels to ensure the product reaches the consumer.
  • Creating the awareness of the channel and the availability of the product.
  • And most important, forgetting past successes and creating solid foundations for new ways to do the same things.

Bonus - Product Development & Foreseeable Trends

  • The character of the development must start from some perceivable element and is gradually built up by a composite of other complementing factors such as quality, management and layouts.
  • This perceivable element can be in the architectural styling of the development, the layout of the properties or some other element that is strong enough to leave a lasting mark in the minds of purchasers.
  • These developments must also have an ambience that is well thought out. The ambience in demand now is something elegant yet simple.
  • We also anticipate tropical (not to be read as Balinese) designs to be a long-term sustaining ambience concept. In addition, well designed landscaping that will take advantage of the land profile and layouts must be evoked and implemented. The landscape content must appear quite 'natural' rather than manicured.

Bonus - Product Development & Foreseeable Trends

  • Other critical success factors include:
    • Low density. (or appearance of low density)
    • High privacy and security.
    • Ample facilities and amenities.
    • Efficient, functional and spacious layouts.
    • Quality finishes and fittings. (do not mistake quality for being expensive)
    • Quality of the detailing and construction of the building.
    • The property manager's reputation and the anticipated quality of the management and maintenance of the building/development.

Bonus - Product Development & Foreseeable Trends

  • The trend of building lifestyle homes is here to stay and developers have also taken this concept to secondary locations to great heights such as Ceriana at Taman Seri Cheras. Others include Green Haven in Damansara, Kota Kemuning Hills in Kota Kemuning and Glenmarie Cove Resort (the only Riverfront Lifestyle Resort in Malaysia)
  • Developers are still offering houses instead of homes need to seriously rethink of holistic approaches towards fulfilling the needs of the more discerning crowd. Deciding on the right product is definitely challenging and with this in mind, it is always good to back product decisions with ample information, a structured decision-making process and reliable advice.