This project is being built within the district of Connaught. This historic district, also known as the Beltline, holds many of Calgary’s original sandstone homes.
At the turn of the century the Connaught area was developing an exclusive character; this and its proximity to downtown made it an attractive location for the homes and the business elite.
This area then developed into a predominantly middle class neighbourhood. Description of Wood-framed houses and small brick apartment blocks were built in large numbers to accommodate Calgary’s rapidly growing population. Connaught has grown into an inner city neighborhood with man of its original buildings left intact. Points of interest include Wesley United Church (1911), the Lougheed Residence or “Beaulieu” (1891) The Ranchman’s Club (1912-1914), Ashley Square (1912), Central High (Dr. Carl Safran School), (1907), Grace Presbyterian Church (1913), the Anderson Apartments )1910), and the Devenish Apartments (1911) to name a few.
Of particular relevance to this location is that today it features a proportionately large number of restaurants and boutiques. Most residents, given appropriate weather, can walk to the downtown core in less than one half-hour. The area supports a wide variety of multi-family condominiums projects; many built during the 1070’s boom years. In the last 15 years a new era of condominium development has emerged in this area.
Located immediately north, across the street is Dunhill Estates, which was a conversion project. Located west across 5th Street is Chateau Falls, a 36 unit Courtyard project build in 1996/97.
Buyer Profile and Design Factors
Our experienced buyers exhibit the following characteristics.
- Many are first time purchasers.
- Some are recently out of relationships.
- Most are single, approximately 55% female and 45% male. Our research has found that most males rent when coming out of relationships while most women wish to stabilize their overhead and re-invest their equity.
- Transportation characteristics are specifically different than that of other Calgary market segments. Previous experience indicates that 10% of our buyers do not own a car. Many people choose bicycles or walking as the preferred method of transportation in the inner city. Most owners will have one bicycle and many will have two.
- We have found that pet ownership is substantially common, particularly cat ownership. Many owners have two pets.
- The target market’s gross income is between $65,000 and $120,000 annually per household.
- Gross debt ration figures generally approach the 25% range for first time buyers but are much lower for the recently single crowd especially on the male side. This leads us to believe that there is an opportunity to tap into some of this discretionary income in forms of extras and upgrades.
- Purchasers will be employed in white collar occupations and professionals. The majority will be employed in the inner city. This well-educated market segment has gravitated to the inner city to enjoy lifestyle and social advantages.
As stated earlier, discretionary income in this group is relatively high. There exists an opportunity to increase our margins by offering selection of high demand options. The opportunity to upgrade units is only manageable if a committed attempt is undertaken by the builder/developer to tightly control the process.
We believe that we sell only one of two things. Either we sell price or we promote value. Of course, we all believe that value is the message we are attempting to get across.
In order to sell value, though, we must fully understand what value is. Value is simply what our prospects understand and accept as being important to them We must, therefore, determine what our buyers enjoy in terms of creature comforts that we can afford to include at our prescribed price levels.
Many developers make the mistake of ignoring what items their target market truly values and replaces them with items the builder, marketers’ or merchandisers personally value.
Along with material goods as inclusions, we must never underestimate the value that purchasers place upon subjective issues. Issues such as after sales service, clarity of communication with the builder and his representatives and the commitment on the part of the builder and representatives, to make the experience of purchasing a new home one of the truly rewarding and memorable experiences of the purchaser’s lifetime.
Proposed Marketing Strategies
Early identification of the primary target markets is very important. Identification of ages, lifestyle values, dominant buying motivations, gross incomes and behaviors all play key roles. The next assignment then becomes the formulation of a plan to take our product to the market. Strategies must be well thought out, have specific purpose and be measurable.
Understanding the motivation of the anticipated buyers is key. There are four major factors that will dictate prospecting efficiencies.
- Where do our prospects live? Do they own or rent?
- Where are they employed and what are their occupations?
- Description of lifestyles and social interests.
- What media will most effectively reach these prospects?
We purpose that our marketing plan be an aggressive approach where we take the information and product to the market rather than the traditional approach that was discussed earlier. The components of this plan are discussed below.
- Internet Web Sitemarket place. This medium reaches more people than any other affordable medium available to us. The Web is high hitting, totallythis particular web site to our corporate web site. Through this vehicle we deliver a message of sophistication with serious and relevant
- flexible and very cost effective. At a relatively low cost we can link
- This vehicle allows you to deliver a strong message to the
- Direct Mail
There are two approaches to this strategy. They are outline below.
- Postal code mail
As outlined earlier, we know who our target is and where they live. Simply, this allows us to deliver our message to this specific market. Creative material can direct purchasers to the project or directly to the web site and direct mail pieces work effectively together to convey our message.
- Data base mail outs
Mailings are directed to our personal client bases who have been supportive of our past projects; to potential purchasers who can be identified by where they live; and to people who have contacted us in the past and have expressed an interest in being kept up to date regarding future projects.
- Effective Signage
- Primary “on site” sign
Must be effectively designed, properly located and convey the message to our marketing group. It must give them a reason to either visit the project or hit the website. Effective signage costs no more than poor signage. Much thought must be given to design, message and required call to action.
- Sandwich boards (bandit boards)
Can be very effective at drawing traffic to the project or to a sales location. Design and colour should complement the primary project theme.
d.) MLS Promotion
We feel that we can effectively introduce the project to a select group group of high performing realtors.
Additional cost will be incurred because of MLS participation.
- Referral Incentive Program
The least expensive and some of the most powerful advertising is simple word of mouth from past happy customer. As outlined earlier, it is imperative that we make the sales process a positive one for all our buyers. If we are effective in doing so, we can expect high quality referrals. Small but appreciated financial gifts can be transferred from the builder to these customers. A special note should be taken that the reverse of positive word of mouth can be devastating to any marketing in this tight and highly communicative target group.
- Product Specific Advertising
This form of advertising is designed to make the phone ring. The ad can promote the best priced units for our market place.
Newspaper advertising is generally ineffective unless the funds are dedicated to meet the required frequency. Small product specific advertising as outlined above can be effective but frequency again becomes the concern. Newspapers do, though, provide the best reach of all available media. A well planned newspaper advertising program is always advised but a cost benefit analysis is imperative to avoid misdirection of marketing funds.
- Speciality Publications
Institutional advertising in speciality publications can be cost effective and quite focused. These publications have limited reach but are geographically and demographically targeted. Even though the reach is limited, the frequency issues are effectively addressed because of substantial shelf life.
- Market Publications
Calgary Real Estate News and the Calgary Condo Guide are two examples. These publications can be very effective if properly utilized. Cost benefit analysis should be completed before any commitment is made in this regard.
Traditionally marketing techniques suggest that mass exposure of product to the widest market is the path to success. This relatively random or shotgun approach to marketing a project like this is quite inefficient. Statistics show that less than 5% of prospects that are generated through traditional means can be converted into sales and considerable less than 5% are actually ever converted to your project. This is because the traffic tends to arrive on the project or sales location in groups and within a very restricted time period. Salespeople must make quick decisions regarding motivation and qualification and inevitably let many strong prospects slip through cracks. Weekday traffic is generally very weak and it is therefore difficult to keep salespeople focused and motivated during the slower periods.
We are suggesting a somewhat untraditional although very effective method of generating buyer leads, demonstrating the product, garnering referrals and exposing the project generally.
This theory of equitable marketing is simply to balance the more costly and less efficient forms of prospect generation against those that have a lower dollar investment, so that the net result is a plan that will produce enough qualified buyers to lower the average cost per customer.
The four broad classifications of traffic generation are as follows:
- Traffic generated from signs and adds (both product specific and institutional)
- Direct marketing through mailers or d-base lists. (Must be followed up by telephone solicitation to be truly effective).
- Broker co-op opportunities.
- Referral from past purchasers.
Without question, the skill level of the marketing and sales team must be very high and the presentation must be strong to make this system work.
Merchandising and Sales
We feel strongly that the physical environment in which the buyer is introduced to the product plays an enormous role in whether one has the opportunity to begin taking the customer down the critical path toward the purchase.
This sales environment in which prospective purchasers are expected to make decisions plays a dominant role in the psychological aspects of the sales process. The impact of the visual presentation on the senses and emotions of customers is a critical factor in the way they respond to the value statement that we present. Our objective, therefore, is to provide an emotionally stimulating environment and prepare them for a well organized sales presentation.
We must communicate the value of the offering and demonstrate commitment on behalf of the builder and the marketing team. Failure to do this will force us to resort to strictly price point marketing in an effort to penetrate this highly sophisticated buyer group.
A primary objective is to avoid being eliminated by proposed buyers who are qualified to purchase. This objective is addressed in two manners:
- Present to the purchaser on the initial visit or meeting, a merchandising presentation that catches his/her eye and excites them as to the possibilities of how their lives and lifestyle will be significantly enhanced by living in our project. This presentation must not only reflect the lifestyle to which they aspire. It is our opinion most merchandised models are ineffective in generating excitement because, although the dollars have been spent, the merchandisers (decorators) were more concerned with getting their personal message across than addressing the hot button issues of the target market group.
- Present a well organized “critical path” system of sales presentation. We believe that a critical path process should include a mastery of the presentation. Measuring and maintaining control over the process is what a master closer does best.
The “critical path” process always contains the following description seven steps:
- Attention gained
- Interest generated
- Emotional involvement sought
- Ownership pictured
- Barriers encountered and objections overcome
- Conviction (summary closing)
- Actual closing
Any salespeople dedicated to the sale of your project will be well trained and versed in the process of moving suspects to prospects to buyers to referral sources.
In order to assist our salespeople to be as effective as possible, we must develop strategies that capitalize on the differences between ourselves and our competition. We must thoroughly understand our competition in order to maximize our marketing and sales effectiveness. A primary objective is to establish clearly the unique selling proposition that distinguishes our project and environment from everyone else’s. This message must be hard hitting, easy to understand as well as motivating to the purchaser. We strongly attest to the benefits of utilizing value index forms to demonstrate the differences to purchasers and keeping this information at the front of their minds for an extended period of time.