With the early signs of revival clearly visible, it is the right time for real estate developers to go for marketing and latch on to the beginning of the trend, says Amar Wadhwa, founder of CrystalEyes, a marketing, brand and communication consultancy. Wadhwa, who carries over 24 years of cross-functional experience in brand strategy, advertising, consulting, media and research, has worked across diverse categories and is presently marketing consultant to LED lighting brand Halonix, apart from other companies. In an interview with Realty & More Editor Palash Roy, Wadhwa said the developers need not be subtle in their marketing; they just need to go real. An MBA from IMT Ghaziabad and a B. Com (Hons) from SRCC, Delhi University, Wadhwa says the way our lives are evolving today and the way technology is evolving across different categories, “a lot of promises about new homes has to revolve around smart homes, in terms of lighting, gadget control, etc”. That is the new opportunity area for the developers, according to him. .
Palash Roy: What are the current marketing trends?
Amar Wadhwa: Digital is a big part of everybody’s plan going forward, and when I say digital, it is not only about digital campaigns or using the digital media to reach out to target audiences. It’s a lot of data science and data analytics which companies are being able to harness and actually build marketing programmes based on insights coming out of data. To that extent, that is the most exciting development which is happening in the world of marketing today.
PR: Which one is the most impactful medium among the three – print, electronic and digital?
AW: Each medium has a different role to play for different industries. I strongly feel that if you need to build rapid awareness today, then television in this country is still the predominant medium that helps you bring rapid awareness. But its impact is coming down and some genres are doing better than other genres. However I would still opt for television if I have to build a rapid awareness for a new product.
Print is a medium which I would use extremely selectively for a few categories namely cars, real estate, primarily high-value, high-involvement categories, where people want to understand the product in greater detail. But otherwise the shelf life of print is very low and its cost is fairly high, and today the Amazons and Flipkarts of the world have taken all the cover jackets which essentially means that ads which are insides are hardly noticed. Therefore, if print has to be used, it has to be used very intelligently, very selectively, for the right categories and for the right reasons.
Digital is something which allows for longer interactions, it is great for brands which have already established themselves, it is also good for brands which have a proposition which requires conversations to be built around them, and there is no brand today that should not be doing digital. But digital is a very wide and diverse field. A lot of value comes from performance marketing which are data-led or otherwise, which takes you to selling platforms whether your own or Amazon or some other platforms, which directs traffic of interested people to these platforms to convert into sales. So digital can actually have a lot of business attached to it, which you can actually directly correlate back to your spend, which is not so easy to do in electronic or print media.
PR: What is the right way of marketing in real estate sector, both residential and commercial?
AW: When you are selling residential houses, etc., you are actually selling dreams and people buy into those dreams. However in the past we have seen people sold dreams but did not follow it up with action. I foresee a change now with some of the Government policies coming in, which will compel the developers to actually deliver to those dreams. That is becoming the single biggest reason for the sector to revive. There is going to be more transparency, better deliverance of what you are promising and maintain the timelines. And I already see the early signs of revival with all the construction activity that is starting to happen all over again, at least in the NCR region. In lot of colonies, I see a revival of construction activities happening.
PR: Now that you are saying early signs of revival are visible, then is it advisable to developers that this is the right time to go full stream with their marketing campaigns?
AW: I sense that real revival is still about three to four years away. It will take that much time for this to really develop into a significant force in motion. However this is the time when the early movers will be able to latch on to at least the beginning of the trend. This is to my mind is a good time, actually the next couple of years will be a good time to get into the real estate market, because then you will able to see the significant upturn which I expect to see around 2022-23.
PR: You were saying selling dreams and delivering. Is it advisable for the developers to go subtle in their marketing campaigns?
AW: They don’t need to go subtle, they need to go real. I think you shouldn’t have, you shouldn’t be hoodwinking consumers, as we have seen with many developers, that hasn’t helped their cause. I think as long as you stay true to what you can deliver, within that you have to be able to say, yes, this is the place where you would love to stay. The other big thing which will help them is the smartification, if I may say so, if that’s a word, of the homes. Today the way our lives are evolving, the way technology is evolving across different categories, a lot of promises about new homes has to revolve around smart homes, in terms of lighting, gadget control, etc. That, I think, is the new opportunity area for the developers.