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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Get Your Audience Engaged; Do Something That Really Stands Out

We're readers: books, magazines, blogs, you name it!  What's new in technology, marketing, the user experience, computer and mobile hardware ... all the areas we touch on with CPS' software products and our interactive touchscreen product, SalesTouch. 

And, we like to highlight articles we think others would enjoy, as well.

Power of Touch: Engage Your Prospects; Stand Out!
A recent Multifamily Insiders blog by Brittany McBride titled Let's Give Them Something to Talk About: Getting Your Audience to Engage with Your Brand is worth checking out; you can read it here.  Tongue-in-cheek she asks if anyone would every say, "Nope, I don't want anyone talking about me or engaging with my brand, said no one ever!"  She talks about the value of "word of mouse" as an influential tool.

We'll suggest the "power of touch" is equally persuasive.  Studies go so far to say as people touch, they make decisions.

And, if you're utilizing an interactive touchscreen system as a marketing tool in your sales or leasing office, consumers are touching your product!  And making decisions: I like Plan 2 better than Plan 1, for example.  Interactive touchscreens get consumers engaged and making decisions..who wouldn't want that?

Jeff Shore, the sales training guru, suggests (in his May 15 blog entitled Why You?)  that every sales person needs to ask, "What will make my product stand out?" to a home shopper as they go from community to community, looking at seemingly endless possibilities.

Shore suggests your sales presentation is key. What is different? What will really stand out in your buyer's mind?  What can you do to make your buyer feel differently about your community than all the others they have visited?

Again, we'll suggest the power of touch!  Let them browse through floorplans that meet their criteria, check out what's going on in the neighborhood that meets their needs (walking trails for one; nearby medical facilities for another), move some furniture around to see how things will look ( we've illustrated the Move it/Move it feature offered by SalesTouch above).

Engage your consumer; stand out in the marketplace; it's all possible with touch!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day: We Remember

This weekend we pause to remember those who died in service to our country.

We remember those who gave their "last full measure of devotion" in wars long ago and in wars we are still fighting.

We will never forget their sacrifice.

And, we pay tribute to all those who have served our country. Within our CPS community, we remember and thank family members for their service:

Bob's father, Robert Musa (US Marines, retired);
Chris' father, Michael Lott (US Navy, retired);
Sean's father, Glenn Miyazaki (US Air Force, retired);
Troy's brother, John (serving today in the US Air Force in Alaska);
Zoe's father and brother, Charles and Wilson Miller (US Army).

Bob Strickland, one of CPS' founders, spent many a cold day in Alaska with the US Air Force!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Multifamily Marketing: Keeping the 12 Must-Haves in Mind

Great article in Multifamily Executive suggesting developers and property managers need to be sure their property responds to the 12 "must-haves" in order to stay competitive and applealing to Gen-Y.  Take a look at the article by Jane Wolkowicz, based on discussion with KTGY's Rohit Anand and Bozzuto Group's Jeff Kayce, here -- it focuses on areas ranging from fitness centers (please, don't call them "rec" centers!) to finishes to sustainability.

Some of the "must haves" might seem cross-generational (e.g., location, location, location!); however, two standout because they probably apply more to Gen-Y than any other segment:

(1) The Leasing Experience today is not what it once was

Keeping your leasing space relevant & creative!
Remember private leasing agent spaces -- so necessary for lease signing? Gen-Y renters don't value that private space, as much. 

They're more interested, according to Kayce, in using leasing office space as a lounge for socializing with current and prospective tenants.

CPS' experience with SalesTouch, our interactive touchscreen system, bears this "must have" out; agents tell us tenants come back into the leasing office and use the touchscreen system after move-in.  They're interested in locating restaurants, shopping, recreation -- all the items displayed as "hot spots" in the touch presentation.  And, they bring their friends with them!

So..not only does the leasing office need an area to encourage socializing has to be relevant to your renters.  Not just a space, in other words!

(2) Staying creative is key

Innovation, says Kaye, is critical as Gen Y wants environments that are fresh, creative and distinctive. 

Here at CPS, we suggest installing an interactive touchscreen system signals an innovative owner/property manager, one that keeps up with the latest in technology and delivers on that message.  Turns out, that's a great signal to send Gen-Y prospects!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Builders and Developers: Shifting from a Sales-Oriented to Experience-Oriented Model

Brent Williamson, writing in Multifamily Insiders, talks what it would be like to be an employee in an exceptional community. Take a look at the complete blog here;  he discusses how an employee views working in such a community, how that view impacts confidence in the product as well as influencing the entire operational experience.  He summarizes:

Creating a community that truly provides a memorable experience
shifts work from a sales-oriented model
to an experience-oriented model.

Prospects use SalesTouch to create memorable experiences!
Every business must analyze costs and benefits -- and some find it difficult to evaluate so-called "soft benefits" although the costs tend to be fairly straightforward.  Adding "soft benefit" sales/leasing office amenities and employee tools generally requires additional monetary investment; however, Williamson suggests the added costs, when properly allocated and understood, will result in significant rewards -- and monetary ones, at that! 

Williams recounts hearing Ann Sadovsky saying, in a recent webinar, that the top reason people work is to make an impact and feel they are part of something special. Spending decisions for a perceived"soft benefit" that is recognizable and improves employee morale can have a long-term profitability impacts -- through a quicker sales cycle, decreased turnover/cancellations, reductions in unnecessary advertising/collateral materials and decreased employee turnover.  In other words, those benefits can be calculated!

What would help create memorable experiences at your property?  We'd like to suggest that an interactive touchscreen does exactly that!  Prospects and employees consistently mention enjoying the experience associated with touchscreen use -- as well as easy accessibility to information, enhancing a "green strategy" with decreased use of pre-printed brochures and the ability to "signal" we've invested in you!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Interactive Touchscreens: Understanding Desired Outcomes

Currently, there's quite a bit of discussion in the "blogosphere" about "Stealing the Experience." Mike Wittenstein has written recently about this; you can see a blog post here.

If you haven't seen the articles, the concept implies creating copy, content, even complete environments based upon what is working for other brands or businesses.  The goal: quick solutions to a need or a changing environment.
Delivering content designed to enhance the experience!

"Stealing an Experience" doesn't work, says Wittenstein, because the experience depends on the business culture, environment and product -- and, most importantly, the customer.

As a result, every business needs to understand the customer's desired outcome and then focus on delivering towards that outcome.

When CPS designs a touchscreen system, we always ask about the product, the consumer, the demographic.  If the product is 55+ housing, does it make sense to "hot spot" schools?  Sometimes, the answer might be "yes," and the experience is enhanced by including schools -- and the consumer thinks: "These people understand 55+ consumers may need to think about schools!"  In other cases, highlighting schools only makes the consumer think: "Why does this system spend so much time talking about schools?"  Notice the word "system" in that sentence!!

Your interactive touchscreen system needs to incorporate appropriate outcomes to become part of a successful buyer experience.  If it does, it brings value to your customers and profits to your business!

Friday, May 11, 2012

HomeBuilders: Your Team as Content Providers - Part II

Recently, we suggested homebuilders consider using their Construction Team to create relevant content for website and other social media outlets.  The trend towards social and mobile media -- coupled with content "commoditization"-- suggests every business needs to locate sources for cost-effective content (the highlighted Forrester Research study provides a great jumping-off point for a thorough discussion on this subject).

How might you move forward with this idea?  Internal sources to consider might include using team members as subject matter experts, developing information that is relevant to your business processes (for example, using CPS' construction scheduling software, FieldConnect Mobile, to post "stage of construction photos) and providing information to educate your buyers (such as a "behind the walls" video discussing how your homes are built). 
Builders creating relevant website/social media content!
We were really thrilled to see an example come to life: William Lyon Homes just published a YouTube video featuring one of their project managers,  Patrick McCabe, talking about the impact of William Lyon Homes in his life (his family moved into a Lyon home when he was 2 years old!). We've enjoyed working with him over the years; take a look here!

Another great suggestion for builder-generated content was provided by new home sales trainer and  marketing guru, Jeff Shore: ask your sales agents to create their own "walk thru" video describing a home recently toured by a prospect.  All they need is a smart phone The agent is able to quickly recap what features the prospect liked, how the floorplan met their needs and add additional educational information, as well.  Who wouldn't love receiving this type of follow-up email?