Could some of the most in-demand housing markets be cooling off?
Your assets, including your brand, present opportunities that you might not be realizing.
|Dean Horowitz, Publisher|
A new year will begin soon. This is a perfect time not only for resolutions but also to reflect on your business and consider areas that can be leveraged for new marketing and/or revenue opportunities.
What got me thinking about this? A kitchen and bath dealer in my town is offering cooking classes in its showroom. Demand for the classes from area residents - the dealer's potential customers - is so high that each class is filled to capacity. Once there to learn new cooking techniques, would-be customers also are introduced to the functionality of a well-designed kitchen.
It's a huge idea. The best chefs throughout the area teach these potential customers about cooking, great wines and entertaining. Quality-built kitchens are linked to the dealer's brand, so why not introduce everyone to the high-quality cuisine that can result from such a kitchen?
The logistics seem relatively simple. Fliers sent with the local newspaper detail class times, focus and fees. The chefs want more restaurant business and are so enthusiastic about the opportunity that they market the classes through their establishments. The showroom is in a ready state by its very nature.
The classes create a longer-term relationship with the dealer's customer base. Satisfied customers who already have completed their kitchen addition take classes alongside potential customers and tell them about the renovation experience and the compliments they get from their new kitchen. How do I know that only the satisfied customers take the classes? If they'd had a traumatic experience, would they continue to pay the designer to maintain the relationship? They are living testimonials.
This is a transferable idea. Using a model or spec home in this way could work as easily.
Other ideas that leverage this concept quickly come to mind. Why not throw a Super Bowl party with funds going to a charity - the ticket price could ensure a less rowdy, more targeted demographic - and have it serve as a demonstration of an entertainment room's large-screen television and audio superiority, and of the home's overall flow? A farmers market tied to area businesses could introduce them to your target customers. Friday night family entertainment could demonstrate an area's community feel.
A few years ago, there was a push to gain access to the long-term revenue stream from telecommunications and cable opportunities that an individual home and its community present. Some builders took the risk of developing it themselves, while others formed agreements with outside parties. Although it met only limited success, it's still a great idea.
Handyman and landscaping services that are owned by or have a financial agreement with a builder continue to work well. More builders are looking into these types of areas that leverage the builder's endorsement.
A few new developments are launching with the opening of their retail centers. These shops are filled with the products to which the target home buyers would be drawn. By gaining access to these individuals through the retail experience, builders are finding that home sales are more robust.
A "green" community might be able to establish a small store for its own branded and community-endorsed products. As long as home buyers are drawn to the area for its sustainability and energy efficiency, why not look at ways to leverage the brand and mind-set into soap, shampoo and fertilizer?
Michael Graves has a reputation for designing exceptional spaces, mostly commercial but some residential. Now he is designing branded merchandise for Target. Items from teapots to board games are not only selling well but also helping Target establish market position.
Your assets, including your brand, present opportunities that you might not be realizing. Take advantage of them in 2004.