Why our Client Empire Communities is a Pioneer

What is buying a home about? Is it about square feet?

Or is about emotion?

If you chose the second option, chances are you share with us the passion of exciting people. Chances are you also know passion sells — far more than features and facts alone.

Obvious as this all seems to many of us in the marketing industry, many builders still don’t get it. Where they should be hard at work to excite people, they continue to highlight the same old figures and information.

And when sales fail to skyrocket, they wonder where it all went wrong.

There’s a better, more effective way — one that Apple stores and other retail leaders have long used to their advantage. To inspire today’s jaded consumer, who won’t respond unless he’s inspired, these smart companies rely on cool, unique finishes.

With this in mind, we at BAM are truly delighted that, for the first time ever, a client is willing to step up and revolutionize.

In fact, Empire Communities is putting on the market the most revolutionary kitchen to be offered on a volume basis.

I commend Empire and Paris Kitchens for truly delivering something this special.

Do You Sell Benefits or Features?

Mason Homes' Green for Life

Who wouldn't?

I was very pleased to learn last week that Mason Homes won EnerQuality’s award for Best Green Marketing Campaign (which we developed).

Called Green for Life, said campaign highlights the immediate, practical benefits that homeowners can derive from living in a Mason home and a Mason community. These include increased health and well-being, as well as saving money thanks to reduced water and energy consumption.

In other words, Green for Life is first and foremost about comfort, economy, and happiness. Saving the environment takes a back seat to the daily reality of most people’s lives.

In this, Green for Life differs from other builders’ green-themed campaigns that make the conservation of natural resources their main selling point.

This doesn’t make either product significantly different from the other. For example, most of these homes are Energy Star qualified. It’s their branding that differs.

To be sure, Mason homeowners are preserving the planet and reducing energy consumption. It’s just that they were sold on a different benefit.

My point? You don’t have to be different to be branded and perceived as different. More importantly, you’re better off not promoting features—it’s by drawing attention to benefits that you will succeed in creating perceived value.

As the article announcing Mason Homes’ award said: Green for Life and Mason Homes did “outstanding work in successfully integrating energy efficiency and a green message into their overall marketing program.”

Many people in the industry still work hard at selling features. In our experience, it’s the benefits that people want to hear about.

Using Technology to Appeal to an Unexpected Demographic

There’s a myth that only the young appreciate and use new technology.

It doesn’t pay to buy into that myth.

Mason Homes’ Port Hope Golf & Country Club is a community designed for empty nesters looking for an active lifestyle.

It would have been predictable to brush aside new technology to target this demographic. It would’ve also been safe and boring.

Wanting to address our client’s potential homeowners in an innovative way, we first decided to make music part of the campaign theme.

With that in mind, we peppered classic song lyrics on the community’s website, knowing they would appeal to homebuyers who finally get to kick back and dance to the beat of their own drum.

Port Hope Golf & Country Club's Sales OfficeAgainst all odds, large touch screens and iPads played
an important role in a campaign aimed at empty nesters.

Next, we made large touch screen displays and iPads part of the design of the Port Hope Golf & Country Club Sales Office. Our goal was to incorporate technology in an unobtrusive manner that:

  1. Served a practical purpose, and
  2. Highlighted the campaign’s theme.

Here’s how it worked.

Upon entry into the Sales Office, visitors were asked to register on an iPad, and at the same time they were invited to select a song from a playlist on the iPad, which began playing right away throughout the Sales Office.

Next, visitors were invited to browse the Sales Office, where large touch screen displays had been set up displaying home renderings, floorplans and other pertinent information. 

The opening was a success. Many a visitor said they were impressed by how user-friendly the experience had been, despite their having never used an iPad before.

In the end, using technology in our client’s campaign accomplished several important goals:

  1. It allowed us to highlight an older generation’s adaptability and willingness to embrace new things.
  2. It incorporated fun and whimsy into the space, making our visitors feel current and young.
  3. It allowed us to display multiple products at once, which made comparison easier.

So much for old myths.

Case Study: Selling Homes Before the Presentation Centre Opens


Case Study: A client in a northwest GTA community.

Challenge: Go to market as early as possible to get a solid base of sales for our client.

Strategy: Host blueprint preview events to start selling homes before we had completed coloured renderings or an open sales office.

Solution: Create urgency and value, as well as a feeling of exclusivity.

If you are in advertising, you know it pays to create a sense of urgency and value among prospective buyers. This is especially true in Canada, where, as I mentioned last week, we rank second only to Italians in deal-hunting.

But how do you achieve this? How do you create irresistible value? How do you persuade buyers to bypass the competition and choose you?

As this week’s case study shows, in the low-rise home building business, one way to achieve this is to sell homes out of the basement—literally.

Let me explain. Builders traditionally wait until they’ve opened a sales centre, complete with full-colour renderings, before they start selling homes. This makes sense: people like to visit fully appointed and staffed locations where they can inspect full-colour renderings that show what their home will look like.

But what if we could sell homes earlier, say, 6 to 8 months earlier than usual?

Doing so would allow the builder, who at this point has already spent a ton of money, to recoup some of its huge investment a little sooner and reduce his risk. It would also reduce the wait for impatient homebuyers.

This is exactly what we did for one our clients, a builder in the northwest GTA community. Here’s how:

1. We ran ads in publications and online, offering a special opportunity for potential homebuyers to come preview the home designs before the general public. We amassed a large list of registrants.

2. We emailed our registrants, inviting them to book appointments to an exclusive blueprint preview event. The booked appointments allowed us to not only control traffic flow throughout the day, but also made the event seem that much more special. Signing up creates momentum. It tells potential buyers, “This is so hot you have to sign up in order to get in.”

3. We hosted our blueprint preview events in a rented basement in a local community centre. We sold homes off of black-and-white blueprint drawings.

4. We created urgency and excitement by reminding buyers that the sooner they buy, the more money they will save.

5. We also reminded them that buying early lets them choose the best homesites.

The results? We sold 68 homes in 4 days of appointments.

Once the Presentation Centre was finally ready to be opened this May, we had yet another Preview Opening by appointment only. This resulted in another 50 home purchases.

But it all started from black-and-white blueprints displayed in a basement, before the presentation centre had even opened.

Ahead of the Curve

One of the challenges of BAM’s business is helping our clients reach the registrants for their new home communities in an effective and expeditious fashion. We want to have valuable communications with our registrants: giving them the info they want, the way they want to receive it. Recently, we used two new techniques to revolutionize how we communicate.

1.  Online Appointment Booking

BAM sent out an eblast inviting Pathways’ registrants to an exclusive preview event for Pathways in Caledon East. It led them to a website (see screenshot above) where they could see available appointment times and book one for themselves. When people booked an appointment, an automatic email was sent to them confirming their appointment time and telling them how to get to the venue and how to cancel their appointment if necessary.

Similar to convenient services like OpenTable and other online appointment booking services such as retail services for hair stylists and for purchasing movie tickets, this system benefitted both the builder and the public. We got to control and limit the number of people attending our event without the tedious task of manually managing an RSVP list. Registrants got to book their appointment quickly and easily, and at any time of the day or night.

2. Text Messaging Campaign

Even those who don’t have email on their phones often utilize at least their texting feature. According to Pew Research Center’s 2010 Mobile Access Survey, one of the two mobile activities people do the most is sending or receiving text messages (72%).

Launching a SMS (i.e. text messaging) campaign for the same Pathways event gave us an extra medium to communicate with registrants who wished to be contacted in this way. Being able to contact registrants via text allowed us to contact them on the fly, instead of the slower medium of email that we usually use. This was extremely useful when, for example, our Limited Release Blueprint Preview sold out; we were able to notify people who had appointments booked later in the day that the lots available had sold, and warn people that they could still come to their appointment but would be unable to purchase a home.

Text messaging also has the benefits of being:

–  Nearly impossible to miss (vs. email, which often ends up in your junk folder)

– Instant and available to you wherever you are

– Personal

BAM continues to innovate with new ways to engage and communicate with people. It’s a modern, mobile world, and we are constantly adapting to this world.

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: