Marketing Office Space: 2015 or 2000?

A few weeks ago, I received a nice email from a real estate marketing firm offering me an infographic on the essential features of a highly effective property web site.  I was excited to learn something new as I was sure that since he took the time to not only develop the tool, but to share it with me in a specific email, there’d be some magic to it.

While it was very well done, after reading it, I came away with the feeling that it was reminiscent of the web sites we built for some of our buildings in 2000.  So I started thinking…

How does our marketing of office buildings differ from what we did fifteen years ago and how is it the same?

  • Flyers are basically the same, but instead of faxing them to our colleagues, we email them.
  • Junior team members still canvass/cold call tenants in the local market, often with little success.
  • The only difference in open houses is that the prizes are better in softer markets.

While I may be simplifying the argument to prove my point, it’s more the same than it is different.

And I think that’s about to change dramatically.

It’s already happening in other markets where the utilization of technology is more prevalent.  Because many of our buildings are smaller and the rents are lower than those in New York City and other large urban centers, the cost associated with new tools doesn’t always fit in the marketing budgets of suburban buildings.

What are the new tools you ask?  Video has been around for a while, but isn’t as important in a market where views are limited and most second generation space looks the same. However, 3D plans and modeling are tools that I think will become more popular, especially as we see more and more tenants go to a dense work environment rather than the traditional standard of perimeter offices and interior cubicles.

The behind the scenes tools will also gain momentum, in my opinion.  Hightower and VTS are each rolling out new services on a regular basis in a race to supremacy. Landlords can monitor inquiries, and then track how those inquiries proceed through each phase of the deal cycle. Do we get more inquiries after an open house? What about after an email blast? What about after an email blast that includes a video? What about after a press release?

The other benefit for landlords is that they can also measure how each of their brokers are performing.  How many inquiries turn in to showings; how many showings to proposals; and how many proposals to deals?

For now, it’s my opinion that we are still stuck in the past with respect to much of our property marketing. However, I think that technology will force us to come up with new marketing strategies as some that we used in the past will prove to be antiquated once measured. The new back-end tools will not only make us smarter regarding our marketing efforts, but also more easily scrutinized by our landlord clients. As someone who always likes new toys, I can’t wait.