Buying and selling a house are highly emotional experiences. The stakes are high financially and in terms of one’s quality of life. What gets activated in people is a fear of the unknown.
Homebuilding is an ever changing, highly competitive and risk-driven undertaking. Not only do you compete with other builders in your region, you also compete with the resale market. Adapting research to your marketing strategies and tactics as part of your operating policy will help you solidify your product and strengthen your position.
Benefits of research
When you want to give yourself an edge in your marketplace, understanding your customer through research will provide it by:
- Identifying demographic shifts and trends. As people age, their housing needs change and it’s imperative to know the housing requirements of the specific market segments that you serve. As young people come into the marketplace, their lifestyle may be very different than the generation before. As family composition changes, to a young family or an empty nester, the community and product requirements become very different.
- Learning preferences that homebuyers have. One of the most challenging aspects of homebuilding is designing the product itself. Asking consumers in a meaningful way, whether through focus groups, Internet surveys or intercepts at subdivisions gives you feedback you don’t learn any other way.
- Giving your company a competitive edge through product differentiation. Offering the same product concept and execution as your competitors do means you’ll have to work harder to make each sale. Research can help you identify a profitable, less competitive design approach.
Applying the findings
The marketing strategy and plan need to be driven by the research. In applying the research findings, a team approach works best by including the players responsible for community and product development, with those who have the sales and marketing responsibility for selling it to consumers. When you’re targeting a different niche or changing your branding, bringing in experts and consultants with expertise in those fields will give your team the background expertise they need to execute the marketing strategies and tactics successfully.
The benefits include:
- Different points of view;
- Minimizing the biases team members may have;
- Wider experiences; and
- Fresh ideas.
In most cases, consumer research yields clear results, and the experience and insight the team brings to the table can help you fine tune the results throughout the development process. It’s more cost efficient to study the designs on paper carefully, using the input from the research and the team before submitting and executing the project and design.
Seeking input from consumers and applying the results to the strategy and plan helps you stay on top of changes in the industry and can give you an edge over your competitors. Taking your company forward without the reality check that consumer research provides could limit your opportunities and ultimately, profitability.
Have you used research in creating your strategy? Leave me a note; I would love to hear about your experience. – Maureen