Thanks to digital marketing and technology, new home and condo builders are in a position – now more than ever – to connect with homebuyers on an intimate level, drive brand awareness and build enduring relationships – at scale.
These days, being relevant means being able to make meaningful connections with your customers. To take them on a journey that not only makes home buying stress-free, but is delightful and purposeful.
So far so good. But herein lies the problem.
Who should you trust with your software and marketing investments? How do you cut the fat away from your entire home sales and marketing process? What kind of edge should you look for in a crowded field of marketing agencies?
In the last decade, I’ve worked as a digital marketing consultant for various businesses and a digital marketing manager for one of Ontario’s largest home builders. I’ve also worked agency side at one of Toronto’s top digital agencies. Having seen the full spectrum of highs and lows of the client-agency relationship, here’s what I’ve learnt:
Less players. More experts. No egos.
We’ve all fallen for the ‘big is beautiful’ line at one time or another. But you’d be surprised just what makes a digital agency tick in the way that it needs to for success. I’ve found that small multi-disciplinary teams of experts (fewer players who know their stuff) make for deeper collaboration and creative flow. Look for team players that are passionate, insightful and talented. Then let them do their job. Make sure they come with data and evidence-based recommendations, are up for healthy debates and ultimately take feedback like a champ. This is why at New Street, we always make sure to have one of our partners deeply involved in every project to ensure we execute with this lean, efficient and effective approach.
Strategy inspired creativity
It’s not always easy to strike a balance between creativity and strategy. Digital agencies are constantly asking themselves how to execute an effective strategy creatively – or how to execute a creative idea strategically? As a business expecting a return on investment, try to find an agency that aligns research, strategy, creativity and best practice. Don’t stop until you’ve found The One. When you do, you’ll be rewarded with effective, beautiful stories and memorable customer experiences that drive results. By the way, this notion is nothing new. Wired released an article on this titled “The Next Era of Designers will use data as their medium” in 2014. Three years later, it’s definitely time for creatives to become strategically inspired.
Respect the scope but never kill an idea
There’s always an awkward moment that occurs when a client comes up with an idea in the midst of a project that has a defined scope and the “idea” is out of scope. It doesn’t matter how brilliant or how bad it is, the person who is managing the account and timeline from the agency cringes and deliberately tries to ignore it as they jot a random note in their pad. I think the concept of agile was created due to this situation. In today’s everchanging world, we can’t be guided by straightjackets and a strict scope of work. This is especially the case for projects that last for weeks or even months. It pays to ask questions about an agency’s methodology. And get a sense of whether project managers will be nimble enough to handle and execute these type of suggestions along the way.
The best decisions happen post-launch
Yes, a good discovery and strategic planning process is critical to the success of your project or marketing campaign. It’s what separates an artsy creative studio from a true marketing agency. You want your agency to get through the basics; your brand, your customers, the what, the who, the whys, the goals etc. But you don’t want to be in a long, drawn-out planning stage. Why? Because time equals money. Your time. Your money. The best decisions will come post-launch anyway. A digital agency worth their mettle will test, analyze, optimize and do ongoing iterative creative and development.
A blind sniper will never hit your targets
When the race is over, there’s a tendency to break out the champagne. But the fine work shouldn’t end there. Agencies need a clear understanding of what success looks like to you before any project launch. Set low to high-level benchmarks such as click-through rates, website visits, engagement rates, number of new leads, number of sales-qualified leads, number of walk-ins and number of sales. Post launch, they should track, monitor and assess what’s actually happened against these goals you’ve mutually set. Win or lose, clarity on all relative and contributing factors will allow you to calibrate and enable improvements, ultimately hitting the mark.
It’s up to you to keep your business constantly on the leading edge of innovation. With the right choice in a digital marketing partner, you’ll be able to crush the proforma and make a helluva impact with your marketing efforts.