Marketing Management in the Commercial Real Estate Industry

Clayton Gilbertson
There is no shortage of material trying to define what marketing management is. From trendy definitions laced with buzzwords shared on social media, to more astute observations in academia with complicating industry jargon. The result is that these definitions are lost on the layperson, leaving one no closer to a clear understanding. ‍At ATYPICAL, we do not attempt to confine marketing to an exact definition, but rather converge on three views embedded in the discipline.

There is no shortage of material trying to define what marketing management is. From trendy definitions laced with buzzwords shared on social media, to more astute observations in academia with complicating industry jargon. The result is that these definitions are lost on the layperson, leaving one no closer to a clear understanding.

At ATYPICAL, we do not attempt to confine marketing to an exact definition, but rather converge on three views embedded in the discipline.

1.      Marketing is a brand from the customer’s perspective.

        It is everything an organization does, across all touch points, all the time.

2.     Marketing is about dual value creation.

        Both parties – the customer and brand – engage in an exchange for the pursuit of value. If value was not mutual         between both parties … the exchange would cease to exist.

3.     The customer is King.

        A company with no customers … is no company at all.

Marketing is a Brand from the Customers Perspective

A common notion that we have encountered while in the industry, as well as among friends, family, and colleagues is that marketing is often confined to one of its many facets. A case in point is perhaps the widely held belief that marketing IS advertising. While advertising most definitely falls under the umbrella of marketing (and plays a pivotal role therein), this belief undermines the value marketing management delivers.

As I am quite a big (analog) watch fan – an horologist – consider the below example of a Rolex Oyster Perpetual.

It is a distinct timepiece, masterfully crafted, aesthetically pleasing, highly reliable, and particularly durable – all with a price tag to match. Now consider a watch you have recently seen at the local convenience or retail store (let’s call it product B). If it is anything compared to my recent encounter, it stands in stark contrast to the Oyster Perpetual.

Product B would not sell for in excess of US$8,000 and would not be distributed through a curated network of premium retailers. It would not retain brand ambassadors like Roger Federer or Tiger Woods and would not pay for advertising space in premium magazines distributed globally. It would not sponsor an equestrian show jumping or tennis Masters 1000 event, or try to communicate luxury, class, or elegance … nor should it.

Marketing Management is about placing the right product, in front of the right audience, at the right place and time, at the right price –profitably. The above strategy would not lend itself well to product B, but it most certainly does to Rolex. Both products are different, as are their target audience, brand positioning, and marketing strategy. 

Commercial Real Estate Marketing

So how does the practice of effective Marketing Management apply to commercial real estate and how can it influence your ROI?  The above watch example is not unique and is applicable to the commercial real estate industry, across all usage types. Consider high vacancy rates (8-15%) at a low-to-medium level income, retail-focused strip mall. This could be indicative of a number of underlying ‘symptoms’.

Your leasing team might be missing the mark on closing leads, or might have a lack of them altogether. Your marketing department might be struggling to generate leads, after tireless, cross-platforms efforts. Your center management might be dazed by the ever changing retail environment and inconsistent tenant requirements.

These could be symptomatic of engaging a demographic that is incoherent with the required mom-and-pop store tenant, or a lack of appeal of the space itself. This, in turn, could speak to the context in which you frame the vacancy. For example, is the price per SF low, or are there attractive anchor tenants? Is the traffic flow heavy with major arterial routes nearby, or is there a lack of competition in the neighborhood. Is the space turnkey, or does it require a hefty fit out? These might seem inconsequential, obvious, and mundane, but are the core stimulus behind a tenant’s decision to lease a space.

It all comes down to understanding your audience on a deeper and more meaningful level so that you can create communication that speaks to them naturally, persuades them effortlessly and reaches them at exactly the right moment. At ATYPICAL, we took this one step further and developed, what we refer to as The ATYPICAL Leasing Psychology Framework, a blueprint for crafting strategic brand communication that resonates with your audience (in this case tenant) and inspires them to take action.

We’d love to start the conversation on how you can use your audience’s insights to improve your digital marketing campaigns and generate qualified leads for your team. Get in touch.

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