Saturday, August 26, 2017

Are You Getting Your Story On?!?

Robert Rose, with the Content Marketing Institute, asks: Do brands create stories? Do stories create brands?
Yao Xiao of Image Think documents the storytelling conversation!

Rose goes on to say storytelling has never been "hotter" than today -- although stories have been picked up, passed on and shared throughout history.

Today, storytelling principles and success factors are closely related with word-of-mouth, social sharing, social media, brand perception and tcontent marketing. Yet, Rose suggests, storytelling is also often misunderstood, both from a content marketing and branding perspective.

We're going to be talking about how to create stories, nurture them, and encourage them in subsequent blogs. We'll try to work out the difference between what Rose calls boring and souless content and stories that engage.  
A connected content strategy where people are key!

After all, don't good stories compel people to change?  Isn't the very essence of a home purchase a desire for change?  

Several CPS staffers just spent time attending the 2017 Jeff Shore Leadership Summit -- and storytelling was definitely top of mind in many of the discussions.  Take a look at a summary photo generated from trying to examine a homebuilder customer story -- there's definitely a lot going on!

After all, CPS is definitely involved in digital storytelling with our SalesTouch interactive touchscreen product. In today's digital and data-driven environment,  single format storytelling has been transformed into transmedia storytelling in an effort to connect people and brands better than ever.




Saturday, August 12, 2017

Customer Experience is Everything!

A recent Digital Signage Today commentary suggested the phrase "the customer is king" has evolved into a more holistic concept: "the customer experience is everything!"
SalesTouch: dynamic and effective customer engagement!

More and more, companies are recognizing there needs to be a particular focus on cross-channel experiences that engage customers.  

Microsoft recently reported the average human loses focus after 8 seconds (a rather precipitous decline from the 12 second attention span of 2000)! Technology is perceived as a driving factor behind this change. Did you know goldfish have a 9 second attention span?

How to attract and maintain customer focus in this environment so your customer experience is maximized? Is digital signage that tool -- or just more distraction?

Digital signage has the capability to jump out and grab attention -- even in today's short attention span world. Take a look at the Cornerstone Communities SalesTouch interactive touchscreen image above; wouldn't you like to find out how you could live at this community?

What does your reaction this tell us? Marketing strategy and content -- regardless of the product or location -- has to stand out to grab a consumer's attention.  Companies need to plan how to grab attention in advance. Who is the audience? What type of content will reach them? What are their motivators? What sorts of benefits can be displayed in those 8 seconds?

Video is a good example of the need for thorough analysis: if there's a 30-second video, most people won't watch. But..if it can be broken down into 5-second segments, you're within the Microsoft-reported sweet spot!

Another key take-away is content is critical:  consumers will notice changing displays (vs. static signage, as an example -- or even an interactive presentation with just a single message). Cornerstone's presentation revolves images -- some focused on lifestyle, others on community.

CPS has been providing interactive touchscreen presentations to home builders for 10 years; let us help you design dynamic content and presentations that maximize your home shopper customer experience!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#1 Customer Care Trend: Self Service

Today, it seems that it doesn't matter the industry when looking at customer service. As a recent Radial article notes, in the age of Amazon, consumers have sky-high expectations.
WarrantyWatcher: mobile self-service!

Homebuyers aren't any different when thinking about their post-closing warranty service.  Consumers want convenience and quick issue resolution -- in addition to an environment that is proactive with personalized service.

Self-service is reported as one of the hottest trends in customer care. Consumers love the idea of being able to quickly and easily meet their objectives from submitting a warranty request to checking status to being able to review their warranty history.

Innovations and advancements in technology enable builders to meet these expectations. Take a look at CPS' WarrantyWatcher software  -- particularly the Portal -- as an example. Homeowners are able to log-in, 24/7, to submit requests. No more waiting until Monday morning! And, they're able to check status at any time - no more calling, voicemail or missed calls.

Self-service channels consistently outperform other channels in terms of consumer satisfaction.  Think about it, for a minute: does anyone snail mail or fax over a list of issues any longer?  How about calling?  Consumers love self-service because it reduces friction and provides answers immediately and consistently.

And, the Portal provides for a personalized, omnichannel experience, as well.  In other words, the Portal can fit into your business operations, seamlessly. Make it available from your website, skin it with your logo and colors, include photos of your team members.  It's all about winning and sustaining loyalty.

Remember: the #1 referral reason for homeowner referrals is keeping buyers informed during construction and post-closing.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Marketing Focus: The Live-Work Lifestyle

Are you familiar with the phrase Live-Work Lifestyle?  According to a recent BuilderOnLine article, this term, particularly popular with Millennial workers, pairs telecommuting with opportunities for connection.

Many of us are familiar with telecommuting or working remote without a "typical" office to go to on a regular schedule.
SalesTouch provides focus on Flex Space options

But, BuilderOnLine suggests today's remote worker also wants to incorporate the element of seeking out camaraderie.

Not every telecommuter can or wants to live in an urban area. Housing prices as well as the need for larger living spaces, good schools, recreation and the like mean many remote workers are moving out to the suburbs suggesting home builders find creative ways to satisfy the demand for a vibrant lifestyle outside the city. 

In other words, telecommuting and flexible work options (such as 4x10 work weeks) are changing what home shoppers want not only in a home but in the neighborhood, as well. 

Take a look at the top image: CPS' SalesTouch in use at Cornerstone Communities new Agave neighborhood in North County San Diego displays structural features such as the optional Flex Space providing the home shopper with the home office so often needed for remote work.


SalesTouch highlights walkability
And, now take a look at the lower image: SalesTouch provides an interactive, pinch to zoom surrounding area map highlighting neighborhood locations meeting lifestyle objectives in the KBHome Reunion area. Those objectives can range from walkability as well as "work away from home" locations such as the library or Starbucks plus dining options and recreation hot spots such as parks, trails and dog walks!

Lifestyle marketing, in other words, is expanding as the interest in live/work options grows!




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Marketing Doesn't End with the Purchase!

Super interesting Forbes article recently by Alan Murray: Four Forces Revolutionizing Marketing.

Murray summarizes discussions encountered at a recent Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference noting marketing executives face a world that is radically different from it was just a decade ago.
CPS WarrantyWatcher: Facilitating the process!

On one hand: don't we all face a world radically different from 10 years ago?

On the other, Steve Lucas with Marketo offers today's marketing dilemna: the number one challenge facing marketing today is complexity. There are pop-up events, campaigns designed to last a week, increased content access via mobile phones & tablets and, as JB Osborne, Red Antler CEO notes, trends are condensed over a period of a couple of weeks or a month.

What really stands out in Murray's article however, was the consensus that marketing doesn't end with a purchase. In today's social media-driven world, the marketing process doesn't stop with today's encounter or the purchase -- there's a need to generate ongoing enthusiasm for the brand, project or community.

Isn't that what we've been talking about regarding functionality provided by CPS' CRM and WarrantyWatcher software? Today's homebuyer becomes tomorrow's homeowner -- and their brand influence can be considerable given social media reach from the moment they walk into the sales office. Providing a Portal to get in touch, keep in touch and communicate quickly can be as important to homeowner perceptions as resolving an issue.

After all, it has been reported that the staying in touch and keeping buyers/owners informed drives referrals (and isn't that a marketing objective?) far more than any other source!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Yes! Boomers Are Buying Outside the "Smile States"

John McManus noted in a recent BuilderOnline Consumer Trends article that the US population is now 325.3 million and added a fact, that frequently goes unnoticed: the US population is getting older.
Millennials, Boomers .. and multigenerational, too!

There's been quite a bit of fanfare recently noting Millennials are finally entering the new homes market; yet, the median age across the board has gone up 7% since 2000.  More startling: the 65+ population has grown 40.5% in the same timeframe.

And, every state has experienced an increase -- or remained constant.  Maine has the highest median age (44.6) (compare that to Utah with the lowest at 30.8)!

What ideas might be drawn from these numbers?

Certainly, there's demand for 55+ communities in what are thought of as "traditional 55+" areas (for example, Sumter, FL has a 67.1 age median).  McManus suggests that builders and developers consider every area has 55+ potential -- and that there's a significant demand for multigenerational product, as well.

In other words, communities are drawing buyers from a wider audience than ever before -- and the audience is more diverse.  What seems to be consistent, McManus notes, is the interest in carefree living.  Accessibility -- in terms of interior space as well as outside the community -- and lifestyle -- think both community and surrounding neighborhood amenities -- are drivers as folks think about how they want to live as they get older.

Take a look at recent Solutions Blogs regarding walkability, amenities, green living, even floorplan options -- and how an interactive presentation -- we're highlighting CPS' SalesTouch -- will help tell your story more effectively to the range of today's home shopper audiences.


Monday, July 24, 2017

When Thinking About Digital Walls: Bigger is Better!

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

That saying has been attributed to Will Rogers; however, Debbie Wilson-Dewitt, in a recent DigitalSignageToday article, suggests it makes sense to apply it to digital walls, as well.  These walls are intended, she says, to create a strong impression.  Since the walls are typically placed in an entry area, they're designed to make that first impression as lasting as possible and, for that, you need to go big or go home!

CPS offers Social Media Wall-- a unique, ever-changing combination of social media content and traditional marketing copy. Many of these walls have gone big; several are located in new home information centers and they provide a terrific entrance focal point. 

Apart from size, what else needs to be considered when thinking about an effective wall?
  • Size matters, initially; content keeps people looking. 
  • Walls can greet as well as provide information.
  • Use walls to communicate and reinforce branding. 
  • Answer questions through wall content and images -- it keeps people engaged, longer.
  • Be sure the wall is designed for your audience.
Walls, says Wilson-Dewitt, are an incredible value-add and any kind of organization can benefit from them. Let us help you imagine how this dynamic communications tool can leverage your social media content and create conversations!