How brands can use the holiday season to boost their marketing strategy

Written by Snehil Gautam, Director of Growth and Marketing, Housing.com, Makaan.com and Proptiger.com

Come the holiday season and the market is flooded with ATL and BTL campaigns. From FMCG to automobiles and consumer durables to retail, every industry is ready to spend and reap the rewards of the festive spirit. After all, Indians are emotionally driven to shop during festivals, and as a result, the market is flooded with offers.

Real estate as a sector is no different than any other industry when it comes to marketing spend during festivals. In fact, real estate in India is the second largest advertiser after the FMCG sector. However, historically, the industry has had its own challenges in ad spend strategy during the peak cycle of marketing campaigns, and here are the reasons why.

The holiday season is when the newspapers are awash with so many covers; TV ads are repetitive and there are too many digital campaigns. Therefore, it is difficult to attract the attention of the target audience during the festive season.

That’s not to say brands can’t leverage the holiday season to boost their marketing strategy. In fact, now is the best time to leverage, if one has the ability to strategize for campaigns that address a very important and relevant customer issue.

There is no single answer to this complicated market dynamic. You have to dig deeper into the consumer’s psychograph to get a clear answer.

For example, when mutual funds were not gaining traction in India, the Mutual Funds Association of India, under the mandate of SEBI, launched an investor education campaign. A simple ad with an insurance story ‘Mutual Funds Sahi Hai.’ It has been one of the most successful marketing campaigns in India. Its success could be measured by the tangible results where the AUM (Asset Under Management) of mutual funds in India has multiplied.

So, can an industry-led narrative work the same way in India’s property sector? The answer is not simple. Real estate as an industry is a micro-market business where the realities on the ground also differ from market to market and product category. In order to take advantage of the holiday season, marketing strategists need to think outside the box.

For example, a few years ago, a Ghaziabad-based developer launched an innovative marketing campaign during the festive season where it made a buyout offer to homebuyers if prices crashed by more than 10%. Now, we all know that the house transaction cost including stamp duty and other taxes is about 10% itself. So even if, in the worst case, the price drops by 10%, no buyer will take a discount of 20%.

However, the campaign was a huge success and the developer was able to sell 70% of its inventory during the holiday season itself. After all, it could inspire confidence in potential buyers at a time when prices were not appreciating and, therefore, fear of a crash was inevitable.

Another developer in Whitefield, Bengaluru preferred to opt for corporate matchmaking where some of the companies received a golden handshake scheme of more discounts, with more number of buyers from the same company. This not only saved his marketing campaign, but also turned the company’s office workers into his outstretched hand for sales. Did it work? Of course he did! The campaign, although not a traditional marketing campaign, was a huge success.

The point, therefore, is that marketers need to strategize campaigns so brilliantly that they not only stand out in a season of crowded marketing campaigns, but also reach the target audience in a way that inspires them to dive in and invest in property. .

However, crafting a successful marketing campaign strategy during the holiday season is easier said than done. The devil here is in the details. It also needs to be very clear that overthinking makes campaigns too complicated and while it looks creatively fancy, it doesn’t resonate with the target audience.

Gone are the days of brand ambassadors with no relevant connection to the product; tried and tested fancy discounts and giveaways also don’t necessarily attract buyers to the project. Market players need to know their own products and plan marketing campaigns accordingly.

For example, a cricketer as a brand ambassador and establishing a cricket academy in the township may work in a luxury product, but certainly not in the price-sensitive affordable housing segment. The bottom line is that the brand ambassador should be relevant to the brand and certainly should not be used for ornamental value. Likewise, make sure to keep your offers simple and direct, to have a strong connection with the potential buyer and to create real added value for him.

We can simply conclude that brands can definitely take advantage of the holiday season to boost their marketing strategy if they know their product and the buyer thoroughly. Brands need to keep a close eye on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the collective consciousness of potential buyers. This learning agility is crucial for the success of any marketing campaign. So let this festive season be the start of a new wave of marketing campaigns where other industries could replicate the real estate model.

William L. Hart