Build it and they will come. From our last blog we added “brand it” to this phrase, and now we must add one more “market it” to really make this a phrase that actually has some level of practical application. Therefore….
Build it, brand it, market it, and they will come
Not as sexy but probably a lot more accurate.
This is part II of our two-part series on branding and marketing for alternative development. If you missed part one go check it out here: THIS IS WHAT I SEE; PART I OF II
I believe the best marketing is word-of-mouth (WOM), which is the approach I’ve taken with my projects and seen work consistently. In this post, I’ll start there but then go more into the foundation that you’ll need to consider to support consistent and authentic marketing for your brand.
For alternative developers, word-of-mouth marketing completely makes sense.
Reason being is that we own the vision. When we share that vision with our networks, that’s how the most effective word of mouth marketing starts.
The key to making this work is to get your team spreading the word. Who is on that team, you ask? Great question.
Think about who you work with; who is working with you to get your project to fruition. This could be your CPA, your attorney, your banker, craftsman, designers, operating partners, etc. These trusted comrades all have networks and they also “get” your vision.
It’s important to treat those on your team like gold! Include them in soft openings, promotional events, progress updates, everything. Seek their advice and build your business to the. Figure this out and your likely hood of success will be exponential. Ultimately, you want them to tell their networks about your vision and then you’ll gain access to their clients (your future clients).
There are steps that have to happen before you activate your team, which is more about building a foundation for marketing within your business, so it can support current and future alternative developments.
The foundation starts with an important understanding: Branding is not marketing and marketing is not branding.
This may seem obvious but it is good to keep in mind, for more on branding go read my blog on branding, part one of this series The short version is branding defines the vision and marketing broadcasts it.
Okay, now that we got that out of the way lets talk marketing. For most of us, marketing is another soft cost that hangs out in that same space branding does — probably with things like insurance and interest. In fact, they’re probably all grouped together in a line called something like promotion or overhead.
Make no mistake though, marketing is absolutely where the rubber meets the road! Without it our vision moves no where.
As alternative developers, we have a tendency to market our project to our internal networks, investors, stake holders, etc. But getting the word out beyond our networks is critical to getting the vision to reality.
It’s the point where we move from those who Need to know (our internal network) to Would probably want to know (our target audience).
Those who will fall into the second category will come to be known as our customers, and if our homework was on point, our branding is lined up to that, then they should truly want to know! It is incumbent upon us to let them know.
So how do we do it, when do we start, what does this look like? We have our concept and our project is moving forward, our network of those we work with directly believe in what we are doing but now we have to get it out there.
There are countless approaches and tools for this and, like in branding, we are probably going to want some outside help on this.
Hiring someone, as we probably all know, doesn’t get us off the hook though; it’s very much the opposite. Reason being that there are a multitude of ways to spread a message and if we deploy the wrong approaches we risk not just missing the mark but actually turning our audience away.
For starters, like in almost every area of your business, surround yourself with those who understand you and what you are trying to achieve. This will get you going in the right direction. You can also find an example of a developer who you think is doing it right and reach out to them for advice.
Take a look at your business model and figure out who you will be working with. You’ll likely have vendors, contract employees, guides, insurance agents, bankers, photographers and architects, among other service providers.
Consider these people your business partners on the project. As such, they should have clear and inherent interest and part in the success of your project. They will have an existing network and most importantly a customer base that aligns with what you want yours to be (assuming you are working with the right people). It is their customers that will give you the strongest initial support and will likely yield returns far greater than any marketing agency is capable of.
These pre-screened fans will be critical to you as you launch projects and then through the life of them as they grow.
For more on this go read this article: http://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/
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