Metrics: Understanding The Habits Of Your Consumers

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There aren’t many things that you would generally do without any research or insight. Can you imagine buying a car, building an addition to your home or doing an archaeological dig without doing ample planning and/or necessary surveying? Well, when it comes to marketing online, the mindset should be absolutely no different. How can you accurately strategize or make decisions around your online marketing – whether it be your website or social campaign – without understanding your audience and how they interact with your brand/product? For this reason, metrics are essential to not only gather, but also analyze.

Sounds like common sense, right? Not quite. In fact, a report by Grovo suggests that 90% of all (annual) digital advertising dollars across the board are spent without knowing whether or not they were effective. That sounds like a red flag if I’ve ever heard one!

Metrics, if planned into your overall strategy, can do a few things: tell you where, when and how your audience is interacting with your site/brand, and highlight where you’re losing them. It’s important to understand the habits, hotspots, pitfalls and potential dead zones. It will help to further shape, modify and optimize your messaging and content to better satisfy your audience, their needs and their concerns. This is true of not only your website, but your social networks. Listening to feedback, measuring engagement with your content, and understanding demographics and consumption patterns will help you to properly use the networks for optimal results.

What is the result of data analysis? More engagement, more leads and fewer complaints/questions. To top it off, you’re guaranteed to save advertising dollars. Being able to understand your audience and their lifestyles will help you to deliver more relevant marketing, which will inevitably give better bottom line results – it’s a no brainer. This type of information is readily available, and gathering it in-house, or by 3rd party, should be a priority when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of your digital efforts.

BAM at the Brookfield Residential Charity Golf Classic

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This week, BAM was proudly supporting our client Brookfield Residential at their Charity Golf Classic tournament that took place at the Deer Creek Golf course in Ajax. The tournament, which had roughly two hundred golfers, raised $24,000 for 3 wonderful charities: Habitat for Humanity, WindReach Farm and Precious Minds Support Services.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit that advocates access to decent and affordable shelter and offers a variety of housing support services that enable families with limited means to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. Precious Minds provides support to families with children and youth who have barriers to learning. This includes the full spectrum of learning, physical, developmental and behavioural disabilities. Lastly, WindReach Farm provides an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for people of all ages and disabilities by providing opportunities to enjoy experiences in a farm and natural environment.

BAM ran a blindfolded putting competition, and with the support of many of the tournament’s golfers, we matched $275, for a total donation of $550 towards the three charities. Thank you to everyone who gave our challenge a shot!

You can see our full photo album here.

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Mid-Rise: The Future Of Urban Development

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As Ontario’s population continues to balloon, the province – along with developers – need to address the increased demand for housing, while also developing strategies to protect our greenbelt and farmland. The key is to work towards increasing population density in urban areas, with a creative blend of mixed use residential. This is something I’ve written about in the past. This need to intensify along major transit routes, and in pivotal areas of the city, is beginning to inevitably make way for an increase in the development of mid-rise buildings.

Mid-rise buildings offer an amazing number of benefits. For starters, they bring a neighbourhood to life by offering new retail and culinary options/opportunities on the street level. Offering shops and necessary amenities allows residents to become much less dependent upon vehicles, as does door-front access to transit. In contrast to many high-rises in the city, mid-rise buildings have family-sized living spaces, which make them attractive to families who may not be able to afford a detached, multi-room home in the city. Then there’s the sheer benefit of human scaled buildings that allow the sun to shine on the sidewalk – and the height of the buildings to comfortably complement the width of the street; however, the widespread embrace of mid-rise by builders in the GTA is not without challenges.

Key obstacles include: the cost of land, the lengthy – and expensive – development approval that closely mirrors that of high rises, and concerns from single-family residential homeowners. Some homeowners feel that the future of small local shops will be jeopardized, and that there may be a potential loss of privacy and sunlight as mid-rise buildings spring up next to their homes.

It is clear though, something needs to be done in order for the GTA to meet the goals set-out in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which sets intensification targets for urban growth centres and requires a minimum density to be achieved by 2031. Mid-rise buildings offer a viable solution to the population growth, while adding economic benefits and maintaining the charm of Toronto’s urban aesthetic.

Net Zero Homes in Canada

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As the population in Canada increases, so do the demands for energy. For this reason, Canada (provincially and nationwide) has invested a lot of money in green, renewable energy. Unfortunately, this investment has yet to positively affect the wallets of Ontarians, who continue to experience rising hydro rates. Amidst the most recent increase, consumers are more concerned than ever with how much energy their homes consume; however, not as many people are concerned with the amount of energy their homes actually generate. Over the last decade, a number of products have made it possible to make our homes more efficient by lowering the amount of energy it takes to complete tasks such as lighting, cooking and laundry. The question is: how do we take that to the next level? That’s where Net-Zero building comes into play.

Net Zero is a building practice that uses a multitude of renewable technologies to build homes that consume either less or an equal amount of energy than they produce on an annual basis. Net Zero’s history in Canada dates back to 2004’s Riverdale Net-Zero project in Edmonton. To date, it’s not exactly a “market friendly” practice due to issues around cost, feasibility and the lack of a community-sized demonstration necessary to gain widespread acceptance by builders and buyers.

One project is aiming to increase the amount Net-Zero housing nationwide. The ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative is working with five homebuilders across the country to build at least 25 Net Zero homes. Mattamy Homes, Minto, Provident, Reid’s Heritage Homes and Construction Voyer, along with a number of partners and consultants, are aiming to complete construction by 2016, according to the initiative’s website. The project’s aim is to double the number of Net-Zero homes in Canada. But could it become a standard? As I’ve mentioned before, consumers generally aren’t willing to pay more for green features – regardless of the long-term savings potential they offer. If builders can find a way to address the issues around affordability, Net Zero will become a no-brainer.

Messenger for Business: Increasing Engagement with Homebuyers

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Amidst reports of its decline, Facebook continues to dominate all aspects of social media ­– and many aspects of general web activity. With over 90% of all brands reporting that Facebook is an element of their marketing plan, it’s clear that the platform is healthier than ever. This past March at their annual F8 conference, Facebook unveiled another way that businesses will be able to utilize the platform to engage directly with their audience: Messenger for Business. In simplest terms, the development tool will allow businesses to better integrate Facebook’s native messenger chat into their websites, which will allow for next level to live-chat capability.

What can this new development mean for homebuyers and builders alike? Let’s explore a scenario.

Imagine that you’re a potential homebuyer searching home listings in your area. You come across a new community that you’re instantly in love with, and decide that you’d like more information. You notice a live-chat pop-up and click on it. It asks you for your Facebook info, and after a quick login you’re connected directly with the builder. You ask a number of questions, and receive feedback. Sensing that you’re extremely interested, the builder invites you to book an appointment. They offer you a few available timeslots. You’re not sure if the times work for you, so the builder tells you to simply let them know. Because the website’s chat applet has been using the Facebook messenger platform, the whole conversation is archived on your Facebook, and you’re now connected directly with the builder. Two days later, using your mobile phone, you open up the Facebook app and accept an open appointment time. The conversation is archived, so it’s easy for a representative of the builder to quickly see the message trail – and respond appropriately. The day before your appointment, the builder sends you a message with an easy to read Google map. Below is an example of how an interaction could take place.

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Unfortunately, this feature isn’t available just yet. Facebook is slowly rolling it out with a small group of large US brands, but a representative recently revealed that we could see a release for all pages/businesses within the next 4 months. It’s very exciting, and has the potential to further personalize the homebuying process – and to create a strong community of engaged buyers. If you’re interested in Messenger for Business, Facebook is currently allowing parties to sign up for updates.

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