December 5th - 2012

Lifestyle marketing: The next big thing

When we sell a property, our product is not just four walls and a roof.

by Brad Sage

When we sell a property, our product is not just four walls and a roof.

We’re selling a lifestyle in that home and that area. Consumers are willing to pay big bucks for homes in certain neighbourhoods because of the lifestyle that these things will afford them. Doesn’t it make sense to focus our marketing on what really drives the buying decision?

It’s funny that this seems like such a revolutionary concept in our industry, since any marketer knows that you pitch a product based on the benefits the consumer will receive, not its features.

In real estate, however, the industry standard is to focus on a home’s features. Look no further than our MLS® System -- it’s all about lot size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, inclusions and exclusions. And in the space where we can include our comments at the bottom of a listing, we use crazy, short-form lingo to jam in as many additional features as possible. Rarely do we see that space used to describe the benefits of living in that home.

Our obsession with features extends to other marketing pieces. Many of us have picked up feature sheets at an open house that read: “Great school district”. Sounds like a benefit, right? Nope. That’s still just a feature. What it should read is “Parents: Don’t worry about saving for private school – this school district is so good you won’t need to pay extra to send Johnny to private school for a top-notch education!”

One of my colleagues recently found herself in a tough situation. She had a property that was going to be a hard sell on paper: a $1.5 million, one-bedroom, semi-detached home. It could not be sold on features alone. Her focus had to be on the lifestyle the home would afford. She used a great video and soundtrack to send that message.

Lo and behold, it worked. Not only did the video get thousands of views on YouTube, but it also received international acclaim. The video was the reason the property sold. When the cooperating broker sent details of the property to a prospective buyer, the client balked. No way would he spend that amount on a one-bedroom semi based on the feature sheet. But the REALTOR® insisted that he watch the video. After viewing it, the client booked a showing and subsequently bought the property.

Brad SageThis lifestyle approach to marketing enabled my colleague to meet the challenge and sell the property. The video also brought her more clients who want the same calibre of marketing for their homes. I view lifestyle marketing as the way of the future and am excited to work with colleagues to lead the way.

Brad Sage is Vice President Operations at Sage Real Estate, member of the OREA Young Professionals Network, and guest writer on the OREA blog.

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