2008 Nationals: Dogged Determination Wins the Day

Susanne Day of The Marketing Directors received the Marketing Director of the Year award at the 2008 National Sales and Marketing Awards. 
By By Felicia Oliver, Senior Editor | March 23, 2008

Susanne Day says a good marketing director is a dream actualizer. And not just for home buyers.

"Our main client is not the outside buyer," Day says. "It's the client building the projects. They are the largest stakeholders here. We take the developer's vision and goals and make them a reality, creating a product that is very successful in the market-place."

Her employer might say that Day is a dream come true. She moved up quickly through the ranks of The Marketing Directors to become a senior product manager in just five years. She had her best year yet in 2007, managing teams that sold 821 homes for more than $636 million in five diverse communities. She did this while preparing nine other communities for sale — and got married. Her accomplishments were rewarded with being named Nationals' Best Marketing Director of the Year.

Balancing the wants and needs of both builder and buyer can be challenging. Everything from the layout, the amenity design, interior finishes and development of sales tools — brochures, ads, Web site and sales office — must cultivate the best buying experience for a prospect and the

target demographic and price for the project.

"You drive the vision," says Day. "You have to be sure you have a clear understanding of the goals of the developer, what he needs to have it be a good business situation for him. But you also have to make sure the end user — the buyer — is thrilled with their purchase, is emotionally connected to it and [feels] it's a place he or she can call home."

"It's rare that someone so quickly absorbs the key points as well as the nuances [of this business]," says Adrienne Albert, who is national director for The Marketing Directors and nominated Day. "She has an impeccable sense of what's important, of how to reach and appeal to a consumer."

The market is ever changing, and Day strives to do whatever it takes to ensure that each of her communities performs.

"The variety of projects that I work on — from very high-density multi-family condo buildings with 500 homes to very small, jewel-like buildings with just eight — they are all so different that you can't tackle them the same way," says Day. "The method may be the same ... but you really have to play up the strengths and benefits of each one."

Day studies her market carefully. She talks extensively to agents both within and outside her organization about their impressions. She works with her research department to develop market studies and reports for current and potential clients. She shops competitive projects in her market and potential new markets. She even monitors home buyer blogs and Web sites to determine what potential buyers want.

And she's a problem solver. In her nomination submission, Day describes the challenge of accurately demonstrating the space and views of a model for a high-rise condominium project that hasn't been completed: "We took a high floor out of construction sequence and created a model floor, each merchandised by a different design group. The ability to give prospects the full experience of the twinkling city and river views from homes proved invaluable."

"She has a wonderful outlook," says Albert. "There's no problem too big. She's tenacious. She grasps a problem, and like a pit bull, she doesn't let go until the problem's solved."


Category: Marketing Director of the Year
Gold Winner: Susanne Day, Marketing Director, The Marketing Directors, New York