Everyone has heard the old saying “love makes the world go round.” Most have heard the typical rebuttal “money makes the world go round.” But in reality, neither of these actually explains the movement of the universe.
The phenomenon that actually fuels the world in its revolutionary progress is purchasing. Money doesn’t have much of an effect on anything until it is used; until a purchase is made.
Some might say that the way in which money is used is determined by the individual in whose hand the bills reside; that the use of money depends upon personal and/or family needs and individual circumstances. To these people I would like to offer my congratulations on their idealistic vision of the world around them.
The world might be a better place if I could agree, but I would argue that the majority of today’s financial decisions are influenced so heavily by outside forces that they can’t really be said to be the direct result of personal needs or circumstances.
For instance, once upon a time if a man needed an egg, he wandered in the forest until he found an unguarded nest and he took the egg he needed (or all the eggs if he was greedy.)
A little time passed and a similar need would arise with a similar man and the man would fulfill the need by wandering out to his henhouse, lifting up a hen and taking the egg he needed.
More time passed and a similar man with a similar need might walk to the town market to purchase or barter for the egg he required.
Still more time passes; another similar man with the same need visits his local grocer on his way home from work to procure the needed egg.
Even more time flies away and we find ourselves in the world of today. But this man faces many questions before he will be able to obtain the object of his desire.
The first question is where will he purchase the egg? Is he going to go to a convenient store? It’s quicker; it’s more expensive; it may be very close.
Is he going to visit a grocery store? And if so, which one? Will he go to the closest store to his home? Will he visit the one nearest to his work on the way home for the day? Will he visit the grocery store that has the best sales? Will he visit the grocery store that is known to have the highest quality products? Will he visit the grocery store that is known for its specialty items? Will he go to a health food store? Will he go to the store he is most familiar with for that reason alone?
Once he arrives at the chosen location he will be faced with still more questions. How many eggs will he be purchasing? Will he go with a flat dozen? Does he need a dozen and a half? Will he look to see if they can be had by the half dozen? Or maybe he should buy in bulk.
Next he will need to know if small, medium, or large eggs suit his needs the best. Brand names and prices will vary and offer more options.
Some men would even go so far as to include the chickens from which the egg originated into their purchasing equation. Did the eggs come from cage-free chickens?
So what caused the drastic changes? What made it necessary to question such a simple, straightforward need and the mode of fulfilling it? The most obvious answer (and the correct one in my opinion or I wouldn’t be offering it to you) is the availability of choices.
When there is only one option that is the option that is used. And likewise, if an individual is aware of only one option, that is the option that is used. And similarly, if an individual is convinced that one option is better than another that is the option that is used.
You may wonder why we are discussing eggs. Eggs are a solid example of a need that has been in existence for so long that no one questions the fact that they will be bought and sold.
As long as people are around they will need (and want) to eat. Other such needs are obvious. After eating the most obvious need is shelter.
While natural shelters were all the rage “once upon a time” they are really only fully appreciated in our modern times during times of desperation, extreme survival, and dire emergencies. Other than that, most people look for a bit more in their mode of “shelter” nowadays than the nearest cave with convenient cover from the rain.
The same evolution of available options we discussed with the egg is evident when it comes to “shelter.” Today’s purchasers find themselves with a plethora of options when it comes to which home to purchase; especially once they’ve made the decision to build a new home.
It used to be that if someone decided to build a home they contacted their local contractor and that was it. He took it from there.
He had built other homes in the area and they were in use and apparently he was able to fulfill their need. Build it and they will come and all that. But we are all very aware of the myriad changes that have been wrought in this particular industry, and so are most of the buyers out there.
You might still run across the rare individual who is going to go to the nearest builder because they are in the area they are familiar with regardless of their standing with other local builders and national competitors. This is the same individual who will go to the grocery store they always visit because they feel comfortable walking in the doors, they know where to find the eggs and they know which cashier is the quickest.
But this individual is not as common as many think. Most purchasers know the value of their money and want to stretch it as far as it will go.
They research and they take unofficial surveys of friends and family to try to ascertain which product will best fulfill their needs. And all the time, smart builders are doing their best to put themselves in front of prospective buyers as the solution to their every individual requirement.
We call it sales and marketing. Advertising is all well and good. Sales are an accepted necessity, but the combination of both of these, along with appropriate research and statistical analysis to increase company profits, is the key to success in today’s new home building market.
Separating the marketing from the “sales and marketing” is a mistake that too many make. If you take the sales out of sales and marketing you’ll soon discover that all you have left is a lot of glitz and glam without any results. And results are the reason for “marketing” in the first place.
There are those in marketing who attempt to avoid the responsibility that is placed on them by the expectation of results by claiming that results can’t be measured in marketing. This is an embarrassing side step and an obvious attempt to refuse to accept that there is a purpose to marketing that makes it vital to any company; and that is sales.
Without the sales to go along with the marketing it becomes an extra expenditure that doesn’t pull its own weight. Companies that find themselves in this situation typically cut their budget and remove marketing from the situation altogether.
I can’t blame them, other than to berate them for failing to recognize that what they needed was to redefine their company’s interpretation of marketing and redirect their team towards a marketing program resulting in direct sales increases or hiring someone who can.
Marketing is measurable. And it should be measured. The easiest way, and most productive way to do so, is sales.
Good marketing should increase sales. And the only way an individual or company can be successful in a sales and marketing program is to always remember that their overall goal is to get more people to buy more stuff more often so that more money will be generated for the company and profits will increase.
Marketing is about selling stuff. It is not about creating an image. That’s another guy’s job that will help you in successfully selling and marketing your product, but won’t do your job for you.
A couple of decades ago the success of a new marketing campaign was measured by the elevated image of the company. Image was everything. But in the end you can produce a new ad that is award winning, popular, and wonderful, but if it doesn’t increase sales it is next to worthless.
Sales & Marketing is about selling the product; it doesn’t matter if those already buying your homes appreciate the clever ad or if the big wigs in the company think the ad positions the company well.
The end result, sales, is always the only result that matters. It doesn’t matter if everyone loves your marketing campaign and loves your product because of it…if they just don’t feel compelled to buy it. Successful marketing campaigns compel consumers to purchase; not appreciate and adore, but to purchase.
If there is a choice between a marketing campaign that results in nationwide popularity without increased sales, or a marketing campaign that results in nationwide censure with sales increases…which do you think would be viewed as a successful campaign by savvy owners?
Marketing in the new home industry began due to the introduction of choices (or competition). Competition does two things: increases product quality through necessity and introduces the need to make the public aware of the increased product quality.
Builders who had never before had to compete for their work were eventually introduced to the world of sales and marketing through necessity. As discussed earlier, when there is only one option or one builder, new home purchasers are going to use the one builder available.
When a second option is introduced through a second builder, willing and able to build new homes in the area, there ensues a new aspect of business never before necessary.
Competition results in both the refinement of the product and services offered to consumers (you now have someone who you want to appear better than in the eyes of the public) and sales and marketing; you want the public to be very aware of exactly why you are better than the competition and why the sale should be one they make with you and your company.
The history of traditional “old school” advertising and marketing for new homes included newspapers, signs, billboards, location, and we can’t forget the be all and end all “build it and they will come” theory. New home builders still depend upon models and spec homes, but not to entice new home buyers to look at their homes.
Successful new home builders of today don’t depend upon consumers seeing their models and coming to see what the fuss is about. They reach out to potential new home buyers with focused advertising coupled with clearly defined sales and marketing plans using all available mediums.
The traditional advertising mediums are included in the process, but new, even more advantageous and far reaching mediums have been added with the easy access to consumers offered by the television and the Internet.
Builders in the past could rely on a quality product and a good reputation to survive and even thrive in the new home industry, but in today’s market the builder who gets ahead is the one who is dedicated to fully understanding and incorporating modern sales and marketing techniques into their day-to-day advertising and business maneuverings. The successful builder will address the 5 M’s of Advertising and Marketing: Market, Money, Media, Message, and Messenger.