Metrics: Understanding The Habits Of Your Consumers


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.

Green Builders are on the Rise


Today, more than ever, people are paying attention to how the products they use, and their lifestyle, affect the environment at large. Green marketing, as we currently know it, is a phenomenon that began evolving at a rapid pace in the 1980s, with the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Reports. CSR Reports provided an overview of companies’ environmental impact; consumers were now able to better understand which companies were wasteful, and which were implementing sustainable measures. This new awareness spilled over into multiple industries, including the homebuilding industry, resulting in increased attention given to “green” approaches to design and construction – and it’s continued to grow. In fact, in 2014 33% of builders in Canada reported that more than 60% of their projects use green construction. This number is steadily increasing due to a combination of buyer demand, municipal and federal green building policies and a conscious need to “do the right thing”.

When comparing two homes, 80% of homebuyers say that energy efficiency would have a moderate to large impact on their selection. As well, 78% of homebuyers said water consumption would make a difference – that’s a big deal. The problem is many buyers aren’t willing to dramatically pump up their budgets for green features. So with this in mind, a green building strategy, with energy efficient differentiators, is something that builders need to be cognisant of when developing their marketing strategies. Here at BAM, it’s something that we’ve been helping our clients develop, and with extremely positive results. In fact, two of our clients are in the running for Green Home Builder of the Year at the 2015 BILD awards, with green brands/marketing developed in collaboration with us.

As more and more builders begin to employ green construction and technology into their new projects, it will eventually become harder to stand out, especially with evolving municipal policies that govern the minimum levels of efficiency a new home must meet. “Nice to haves” are slowly transforming into standard expectations, which are going to force builders to employ cutting edge tech/green features, without affecting prices, in order to attract today’s new breed of buyer. With a projected figure that 70% of Canadian builders will be 60% green by 2017, it will definitely be interesting to see what developers will do to contrast their projects from the competition.

Could Prefab Be The Future Of Residential Home Development?

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These days, builders are constantly raising the bar on green development. According to a Canada Green Building Trends Report conducted by Canada Green Building Council, 56% of the Canadian respondents reported that over 30% of the projects they build are green – and that number is constantly increasing. By 2017, it’s expected to be closer to 60%, which is exciting. Aside from the obvious health benefits of greener building, there are also other incentives such as lower operating costs and overall more efficient building.

In China, developer Xian Min Zhang is taking green/efficient building to the next level. A video made its rounds on social media this week showing his latest project: a 57-storey skyscraper completed in just 19 days. The building has 19 10-meter-high atriums, 800 apartments, and office space for 4,000 people. How was this possible? The building was completed using prefabricated materials, which during the construction phase were attached together. Think of it as a large-scale Lego project.

This method, according to Xian Min Zhang, reduced the use of concrete by 15,000 trucks, which eliminated the release of dust into the air. With the high levels of air pollution in China, this is a big deal. He also claims that all of the air inside the building is 99.9% pure thanks to the tight construction and built-in air conditioning system. The building has quadruple-pane glass and will reportedly save 12,000 tons of CO2 emission annually.

Could this technique be the future of development? Could this technique be applied more widely to residential housing here in Canada? Well, it’s already a movement that is slowly becoming more popular. In fact, in 2012 factory-built units accounted for 11% of all new single-family homes; however, much of the resistance to the growth in this movement is routed in stigma. Much of the criticism centers on the actual quality and structural integrity of the construction. That is changing though. For example, Landmark Homes and Summerhill Homes in Edmonton are now erecting all of their houses using prefab technique – and they’ve collectively built approximately 300 prefab homes thus far. Another builder who has applied this methodology for over a decade is Mattamy Homes, who built 200 of their 300 homes in Hawthorne Village inside of a factory located in Milton.

Whether prefab will grow in prominence remains to be seen. There are many benefits, and potential drawbacks, that need to be fully considered. One thing is for sure though: Xian Min Zhang’s latest project is extremely impressive.

BAM 2014 Year In Review

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It’s hard to believe 2014 is almost over already. For the team here at BAM, it’s been phenomenal. As we do every year, we continued to grow – adding new team members and big new clientsI’m confident that we’re now the strongest we’ve ever been.

As we prepare to say farewell to 2014 and welcome in a New Year, I thought it would be a great opportunity to look at some of the great things we’ve done this year:

We Launched Marketing Automation

I spoke a lot this year about marketing automation, which is all about providing customers with a personalized experience, and how excited we were about the benefits that this type of relationship building creates for our clients. Well, we officially began offering this service as of September 2014. We’ve been deploying personalized e-blasts and targeted website content for Queensville, and we’re currently implementing personalization into our upcoming projects for 2015.

We Drove Sales

I always say that when our clients win, we win. So you can imagine how happy we were to see clients like Empire Communities achieve an astounding 1000 sales this year and long-time associate and friend Sean Mason – who launched his own company this year – have such a successful opening.

L-R Carrie Alexander and Paul Golini of Empire Communities with me (John Amardeil); Sean Mason Preview Opening

L-R Carrie Alexander and Paul Golini of Empire Communities with me (John Amardeil); Sean Mason Preview Opening

We Got Exciting New Clients

We started to work on some big projects this year like Queensville, a huge new development north of Newmarket, for Aspen Ridge, CountryWide and Lakeview. We also, as I touched on already, helped green builder Sean Mason launch his company, Sean Homes, which is the most exciting new development project in the history of Barrie. We also began working on some exciting new communities that will be launching in 2015, such as New Seaton in North Pickering (for Aspen Ridge, Brookfield, CountryWide and TowerHill) and a London multi-use site for Sifton.

We Became Certified

This year BAM became a Google AdWords Certified Partner. Over the last five years, we’ve really been pushing the envelope to better manage our clients’ digital marketing campaigns. With brand new team members in our eBAM department and in client services, we are performing at our highest level ever.

We Won Awards

It’s always great to stand behind our clients as they are recognized for their successes – and this year presented a few opportunities for us to do just that! We attended the 34th annual BILD awards, where Green Builder of the Year (Low-Rise) was awarded to Empire Communities. Brookfield Residential and BAM were also awarded with the newest BILD award for the year –Best New Video. All in all, we were nominated for over 10 different awards!

L-R BAM joins Empire Communities on stage at the 34th annual BILD awards; BAM and Brookfield Residential Ontario accept their award.

L-R BAM joins Empire Communities on stage at the 34th annual BILD awards; BAM and Brookfield Residential Ontario accept their award.

I’m excited for whatever 2015 has in store for us – and likewise, what BAM has in store for it. I’d like to thank all of our supporters, and wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

Mixed-Use Development: No Longer Just A Trend


It’s official: homebuyers are increasingly comfortable passing on larger living spaces, when stacked up against urban conveniences (according to a recent report by PwC and ULI). Looking at the report, entitled Emerging Trends In Real Estate, it’s easy to see how/why mixed-use development is becoming the norm – it’s blurring industry lines as commercial and residential developers discover the opportunities that mixed-use properties bring. The desire of tenants to be able to live, work, and play in an urban location is driving further demand for projects that could offer residential, retail and office space all in one convenient location.

This isn’t a new concept. In major global markets such as Asia, you have second and third floor retails. To put it simply, this type of building is just a better use of density. It creates complete communities that offer more options – which also happens to be a direct aim of Ontario’s Growth Plan.

There are a few of our current clients that are attempting to speak to this growing trend, while addressing the concerns of homebuyers who may otherwise not be drawn to rural/suburban living – namely due to long commute times. Queensville, which is poised to become a 6000 home community, will be a place where families can live and work. This is the same for New Seaton (in North Pickering), which will become home to more than 20,000 residents and developer Sifton, who is going to be introducing a new smart community in London (Ontario). All three of these communities will include mixed-use development ranging from office spaces, restaurants and different classes of residential living spaces – communities within communities.

What was once emerging is now a norm, with our population growing (rapidly) and developers looking for ways to attract homebuyers in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The needs/wants of homebuyers are shaping and challenging development, and it’s intriguing to see how the challenges are met.

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