There is an old saying in real estate that property never stays vacant. Before delving into that, we can broadly categorise properties here into four different sectors. Residential, which are our homes and abodes. Retail, which are shops, markets and the like for our buying necessities and luxuries. Commercial properties, where we work – offices etc, and services, viz., hospitality units like hotels, motels, banquets etc., schools, colleges, healthcare units like hospitals, diagnostic centres etc and many more, which we can classify into real estate services sector.
Real estate developments happen with the growing need of the country. Many countries like India and China with their ever-burgeoning population have always been an epicentre for the construction industry. In India, there is a huge scope for infrastructure developments along with ever demanding need for spaces. Real estate developers have many markets to tap and lure their prospective target audience. Since there is a huge gap between urban, semi-urban and rural areas, developers have to be very cautious in planning their projects. Factors like volume of spaces work mostly in semi-urban and rural areas, whereas niche projects work mostly in the cities.
After the initial project planning is done by a developer, research has to be carried out for determining several communication windows for different kinds of buyers. This is where marketing starts for any property. In real estate marketing, like in many other industries, the channel partners are of paramount importance. The property consultants, as we call them, solve half of the sales problems by communicating the project details through word of mouth, which they carry out in one to one interactions, thereby enabling direct sales. However, this is just one communication window. Even before the project launch, plans have to be drawn about the several marketing vehicles targeting the specific audience. Every market has its nuances. If a project is planned for mass housing in a semi-urban area, the most common models are used, where the general media like local print media, electronics, radios, outdoor media and the like are used for a general communication. If a niche property has been developed, the plans are drawn for launching it at a very high-end event where who’s who of the society gathers. That way the project gets its desired publicity and is carried forward to that affluent section of the society who can afford it. Simultaneously, retail, commercial and services related properties are marketed at corporate India, who are always in proliferation for their respective growth and development.
Marketing of any property depends a lot on its locational attributes as also with its catchment population. Depending on the nature of the property, if it is located in an upmarket area with all required services, facilities and amenities around, it is comparatively easier to sell. In case of retail, commercial and service properties, a lot also depends on its catchment population, because business depends on its consumers. Along with proper determination of location, research and studies are also untaken to understand the consumer behaviour of that area, their spending habits, the high income group-middle income group-lower income population ratio, the demographics, cultural background and the cosmopolitan ratio of that area. For example, an apparel-based retail property is most likely to be unsuccessful in a book hub of a city. Simultaneously, an out-and-out commercial property cannot be developed in a residential area, whereas retail properties can. So, the entire success of marketing a real estate project not only depends on its location but also on the ability to understand the true psyche of the consumers there.
Hence, a real estate developer always has to take note of a few factors to successfully market its properties – target audience, location of the property, design attributes, consumer behaviour matrix, calculated use of communication windows and last but not the least, the price factor. Every consumer approach depends on the economic viability of the offer. So, it is imperative to set competitive and flexible rates for a project. Thus, real estate can never go dull and vacant if it is meticulously marketed considering all the above factors.
Saurav Ranjan Datta, marketing head (Retail and Commercial) at Shriram Ozone Group, a reputed property firm headquartered in Kolkata