Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Marketing to Millenials...forget the myth of impulsivenss!

Loved a recent article in AdAge discussing a study conducted by Pamela Marsh and Erin Bilezikjian-Johnson of OMD regarding the "millenial" demographic...or the "much hovered over" group.

Key thought is: this age group is spending but...they spend more of their time and effort looking for "deals" and that the best deal isn't the least expensive.  It's the idea, says Bilezikjian-Johnson, of locating and describing value.  Millenials like to communicate when and where they find value...that's where Facebook, Twitter, smartphones and apps come to play in their influence and purchasing process.

Interactive touchscreen system: Communicating value
Are your marketing efforts taking advantage of this group's interest in communicating and sharing information? We'd like to suggest making the process easier by providing information and facilitating sharing with an interactive touchscreen.  Communicated value encompasses location, style, neighborhood and amenities.

And..we're not just talking about providing and facilitating at the Point of Sale.  A well-designed interactive system offers the ability to share beyond your location.  Let your prospects take your information and share it..via the touchscreen system.  They'll Tweet your location and brand...and share the information and value they encountered.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New Marketing Channels: Customer dialogue is critical

Go Interactive and Generate Dialogue!
Just finished a great article: The New Campaign Management Mandate by Forrester Research. Lots of great suggestions about rethinking traditional approaches to marketing campaign management.

Forrester mentions there are now a "dizzying array" of channels and tools available to reach consumers... placing the consumer in the driver's seat as far as marketing focus.  Forrester suggests this environment makes touching a customer easier but.. is a much more complicated life for marketers. There's the question of direction, integration and focus..at a minimum!

Amongst the challenges, Forrester suggests, is that, "emerging channels are under utilized for customer dialogue."

Have to go back to an earlier CPS blog regarding helicopter friends and their influence -- and how businesses can harness that influence through interactive touchscreen use. Helicopter friends Tweet, Facebook post and the like -- they've been called prosumers!  They broadcast information regarding likes, interests and...your products!  And, that broadcast message can be haphazard and unfocused.

Why not harness and direct these messages? Ask for comments; provide an easy way to Tweet your product? Plan on Facebook posts? You can effectively implementing a process for customer dialogue in an emerging channel!

Well-designed interactive touchscreen systems will help this process.  They'll present you..message, brand, products.  And, you're able to harness your consumer's interest to generate more messaging.  We've said a Tweet or Facebook post is a today's version of the referral.  Using an interactive touchscreen system, your shoppers can open a dialogue and broadcast your brand!

Then, you're achieving some of Forrester's objectives: engaging your consumer and providing relevance, personalization, and collaboration.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Branding & Communication: Effective... not expensive?

Hmmm...is there a possibility that an effective Branding and Communication program can be implemented inexpensively? 

We like to talk about the value of  interactive touchscreen systems -- whether in a sales, leasing or information center or a retail store.

Touchscreens..small and effective!
Interactivity helps with both branding and communication.  The American Marketing Association suggests that a brand identifies an entity and differentiates it from other, seemingly identical entities.

Objectives that a good brand will achieve include:
     -- Delivering the message clearly;
     -- Confirming your credibility;
     -- Connecting your prospects emotionally;
     -- Motivating the buyer;
     -- Establishing loyalty.

Brands typically have other items "tag along" such as being consumer friendly, green, contemporary.  Doesn't a well-designed touchscreen system communicate all of this? 

But..can it be effective and not expensive?  Certainly. The touchscreen image above is just 25" and it delivers its branding and communications message very clearly and concisely.

Just because there's a larger touchscreen somewhere...it can't take away your story!

And, a well-designed interactive touchscreen system doesn't need to display every idea or image under the sun.  To the contrary, the well-designed system uses creative thinking and great storytelling skills to provide essential information and help drive a decision.  When there are too many pieces of information, your prospect tends to surf rather than focus on your story and the brand.  That's when things get expensive as you need to provide more and more to redirect your prospect.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Closing the Sale: It's about the Interview? Really...?

Read several great articles today: Scavenger Hunt by Michelle Glover and How to Become a Master Closer by Grayson Schwepfinger.  Both were courtesy of Builder Radio's website, www.builderradio.com/blog.
 
Tobacco Row: Hot Buttons to initiate the conversation!
 "The key to improving sales," Michelle says, "may rest in the most unexpected place -- small talk" and goes on to suggesst that agents find "clues" about the real reasons for the visit.  Clues are, in essence, the buyer's "Hot Buttons" and those are proven psychological drivers.  "Hot Buttons" can range from prestige to recreation and everything in between.  Once an agent is aware of a prospect's "Hot Button", Glover says, that information can be used to focus the sales presentation. 

Sports caps and t-shirts lead to how the 4th and 5th bedroom have a loft option...great for the big screen, video games and parties.  Someone else's "Hot Button" might result in describing a bonus room in lieu of the 2 bedrooms..complete with a ballet barre and special floor.  In other words, product doesn't have to be described the same way...to every prospect.

Grayson suggests prospects don't purchase because they've been shown the "wrong home" and the biggest reason for showing a wrong home is a "poorly executed interview step."  He goes on to describe a 4-step information process focused on what the prospect wants and needs. Gathering the information...the "correct" information is critical to improving one's closing ratio!

We suggest there's technology available to assist (and that's a critical italic!) the agent in determing the "Hot Buttons" or needs/wants -- and an interactive touchscreen system drives that tool.  A well-designed system isn't just a pretty face -- it's a tool to facilitate interaction and engage your prospect in conversation.  And..we have always provided "hot spots" to initiate conversation.  Explore the community amenities, neighborhood activities...what looks interesting?

And, that's just the beginning.  Bob Musa suggests in his book, Creating Customers, that touchscreens are excellent conveyors of value-added information. Maybe not everyone is interested but..you can be fairly certain that the prospect touching your "behind the walls" story is wants information about your construction methods and energy savings.  You're able to allow the prospect to browse community information and...then initiate the conversation based upon their selections.

Once that conversation gets started, agents have the information to focus the sales presentation!

Interested in the full articles mentioned:  Check out www.builderradio.com/blog.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jack Fugiel: Thanks for a great partnership!

Just posted a Twitter shout out to Jack Fugiel at Winchester Homes; he's retiring Friday after a great career at Weyerhaeuser.  Most recently, he's been Director of Process Improvement and involved with CPS' suite of sales, CRM, warranty, construction scheduling and interactive touchscreen products.

Jack Fugiel, Winchester Homes
He's been with Weyerhaeuser since 1967...and no, that's not a typo! 

His 44-year career means he was involved in accounting when it was a lot of manual entry using pencils and calculators.  In IT when punch cards were King!  Transitioned through floppy disks, mainframes, remote data entry, dial-up modems, SuperCalc, facsimile machines, DOS, Windows 3.0 (95, 98, ME ...) and much more!

Jack personified the term "business partnership" in his involvement with CPS.  He brought idea after idea to our software development process, tested some, threw out others and brought more.  We like to think we helped each other -- our products, our processes, our end results -- become better.

Congratulations, Jack, on your retirement; and Thank You for your willingness to partner with us!  We'll miss you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Content is King...and your prospects can help create it!

Andrew Davis recently dazzled the Housing Leadership Summit in Chicago, according to Builder, saying homebuilders need to focus on developing "real strategies" for Social Media.  Too many people, he argued, are focused on the technology as compared to the message.  Today's hot product becomes tomorrow's CompuServe or AltaVista.  And, the message shouldn't just be about your product..it needs to convey value from the consumer's perspective.


Content creation: Who could ask for more than: Love this Open Kitchen?
 Davis hit upon a couple of points we've blogged about: implementing easy-to-use technology that's at  people's fingertips such as an iPhone for sending photos or video from a home the home shopper toured.  That's bringing technology to a point of contact.

Davis also suggests, "the real trick is to get customers to use SM to talk about product to friends and family."

So, it's not content for content's sake or technology because it's cool... it's making what you have interactive, engaging, and informative enough that your users/viewers/home shoppers will want to chat/Tweet/post about it from their perspective...and that creates its own desirable content!

We like to say that an interactive touchscreen system in a sales/leasing/information center will be all of those things -- interactive, engaging, informative.  And, there are lots of innovative ways to drive content creation from such a system: give home shoppers a "mark-up" feature so they can write on the screen or put Facebook into the app and let your prospects post "I'm looking at a new home here at XYZ; my kids really love the park around the corner; the soccer fields are brand new and fabulous!"  Who wouldn't want that marketing piece?

We've talked about "helicopter friends;" Davis mentions "prosumers" who like to distribute information about products.  The name doesn't matter...these tech-savvy folks are creating your content and driving others to your door!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tweets and Facebook posts: Today's version of a referral?


Sharing the experience: Lyon Homes' San Carlos Court
This week there have been two articles with seemingly divergent themes: CCES' article, "9 Purely Business Reasons to "Green" Your Company" and Dawn Sadler's "Creating a Legacy Brand" on http://www.jeffshore.com/

But..are they actually related?

CCES suggests there are 9 purely business reasons why "green" benefits a company's bottom line.  Sadler notes that the only marketing program that will continue to drive homebuilder business is referrals. CCES doesn't mention referrals; Sadler doesn't mention green.

We'd like to suggest there are a number of similarities -- and that an interactive touchscreen can enter this discussion, as well.  Do you remember an earlier discussion about "helicopter friends"?  Today, shoppers Tweet, Facebook and otherwise share information, recollections, and experiences with their friends based upon all sorts of events...including shopping.
Isn't sharing today's version of a referral?  

Put a shopper-friendly (and "green" with paper-saving and/or print on-demand features) interactive touchscreen in your business -- and you'll see not only positive feedback from your potential buyers but "sharing" amongst friends!  And, there are the "green" business benefits (cost savings, improved efficiencies, employee morale) that tag along, as well.

As Dawn Sadler notes, " it's not how much you intended the experience, it is how your buyer experienced it!"