I awoke this morning with football filling my brain. Maybe it's because the start of the 2016 season is just weeks away and we'll get to re-live Super Bowl 50 when the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos, albeit without Peyton Manning this time, in the opening game. Or maybe it's because I'll be spending the weekend with my childhood chums at our annual fantasy football draft retreat. I like the competitive nature of football, but I also marvel at the incredible planning that goes into each week's contest. In order to be successful, teams must scrutinize personnel, competition, the locale, fans, time, travel and all kinds of other logistics. It's this latter point that punctuates why you need a commercial real estate marketing plan. To achieve marketing success, you need a plan.
Just about every football movie every created has a scene with a coach at a chalkboard using “Xs” and “Os” to illustrate his point. He's demonstrating his plan. Similarly, your commercial real estate marketing plan illustrates how you'll go about achieving your goals. It shows your path to success – and how you will get there in a coordinated, consistent, measured manner that serves your brand strategy. Creating a plan will help you identify time constraints and think about how you'll allocate resources. Once done, it will keep you on-track during the year. Your marketing goals are more likely to be met when you identify what you want to achieve.
Developing a marketing plan requires research, time and commitment, but is a very valuable exercise that can greatly contribute to the success of your business. Done right, a good commercial real estate marketing plan will achieve certain things as outlined below.
Thinking about the marketing tactics you want to implement and formally stating them are two different things. A good marketing plan will be clear about goals for your email marketing program or other activities and assign dates to each for flighting, follow-up and re-marketing. In creating goals, you should think about who your target audience is, and how and when you want to reach them and then put it in your plan.
Your goals should be clear, measurable and attainable within the time period you've specified (typically this is over the course of a year). In creating a plan, you should consider how each of your marketing goals will complement other goals as well as how those will mesh with other company objectives. A direct link between setting goals and achieving success has been illustrated countless times by organizations and football players alike, so don't miss the opportunity to do this. Be sure though to build in some flexibility to accommodate changing company needs, dynamic market conditions and the like.
Lay out a strategy
Where goal setting states what you want achieve, a strategy tell how you're going to get there. By plotting your marketing strategies ahead of time, your plan will run smoothly and your efforts are more likely to pay off. Let's suppose you've been observing the trends in your marketplace and see that fledgling entrepreneurs are willing to settle for more affordable class B space. Your strategy for reaching this group should likely be more focused on social media and search engine optimization than traditional direct marketing tactics. That's your strategy for reaching this segment.
Building your strategy demands scrutiny of your company, its resources, personnel and schedules. That's a lot of introspection and may be something that's difficult to do. Sometimes outsourcing strategy to an experienced commercial real estate marketing firm will give you the advantage of having specialists in your industry observe your company and make recommendations that are realistic and achievable for you.
Prioritizing your goals will contribute to your overall sense of success in both quantifiable and emotional ways. Everybody feels good when the biggest and most important goal is reached and likely this achievement will be reflected in company reporting as revenue gains, expense minimization or efficiency improvement. If a new website design is the greatest priority for you company, then put that at the top of your list of priorities.
Prioritizing activities will also serve you well throughout the year as budgets are re-examined and new forecasts are made. If cuts need to be made, knowing quickly which items are lower priorities and can be pared back or eliminated will save time and effort.
One final reason for a marketing plan is to identify a method by which you are going to measure the results of your activities. Tapping into the football metaphor one last time, we can see the importance of measuring results. As a game that's centered on advancing the ball in the direction of the opponent's goal in ten yard increments, achievement of each “first down” is a measurement of success which keeps the offense on the field. Similarly, your marketing plan should outline what constitutes success for your business. Will your measure of achievement be generation of commercial real estate leads, timely implementation of the new website or development of your social media program? Whatever the answer, be accountable and be ready to adjust your tactics, timing and strategy as needed to achieve your goals. Each degree of success justifies your plan and makes it easier to ask for and justify budget and resources in the future.