Social Throwback 2021: A year of digital home-buyers in real estate marketing...

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Real Estate Marketing 2021

In this yearly throwback, we take you through the trends seen in the real estate marketing space in 2021 - right from digital integration in selling processes to the use of social media in the second wave, here's a quick recap.

While the year 2020 can be attributed to transforming the Real Estate sector from a conventional to a hi-tech automated one, the year 2021 leveraged the digital acceleration with marketing for maximum impact.

As the real estate marketers leveraged newer technologies capped with AR and VR and the relevance of influencer marketing in tandem with celebrity endorsements, we take you through the Social Throwback of Real Estate Marketing of the year that went by.

Evolving Consumer Behavior & Real Estate Marketing in 2021

The beginning of 2021 witnessed recovery in the initial phase of the year as homebuyers realized the increased relevance of owning properties, especially in times of crisis. Shreyans J Shah, Managing Director, MJ Shah Group, shares, “Prerequisite of comfort and solace within homes due to increased habitation between lockdowns led to an increase in demand for premium and uber-luxury developments.” This led to a gradual rise in transactions keeping digital at the center.

The second wave, however, was stronger in severity, and like every other sector, Real Estate brands too suffered. The focus of most brands during this phase was on helping the general public through this health crisis. In terms of out and out marketing, brands were prepared from their 2020 experience. Lockdown 2.0 saw a two-way receptivity on accepting digital as the primary mode of interaction for both, the brands and the homebuyers.

Prashin Jhobalia, Vice President, Marketing, House of Hiranandani highlights how the brand deployed a series of new prop technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and video walk-throughs that enabled customers to visualize the project from the comfort of their home.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram were utilized vigorously as marketing tools to benefit from the buyer's constant presence on these mediums. Many leads have even been closed virtually in this period, which can happen only when the client is satisfied with their questions being answered and trusts the brand name and its legacy, added, Jhobalia.

Real Estate marketing also saw sustainable development and social media awareness campaigns in tandem with that. Further, Influencer marketing took predominance that worked along with the celebrity endorsements for established brands in the sector.

As the demand to invest in luxurious and self-sufficient properties increased in the mid part of the year, real estate brands showcased the facilities provided by the properties in line with the growing needs of the people.

With the second wave, residential real estate saw an uptick following the recent pandemic as people realized the importance of living in a safe, secure environment, put forth, Kyron Dinshaw, Vice President, Marketing, Piramal Realty.

The number of first-time homebuyers upgrading themselves by purchasing spacious homes grew significantly with the evolved consumers. This included millennials who also started looking at real estate as an investment option.

Arun Mn, Founder, and Managing Director, CASAGRAND, explains, “The primary reason for buying a home remained a self-use motive, although investment interest surged in particular segments. Given that the entire world was forced to spend an unusual amount of time inside homes, many people had the chance to re-evaluate their purchase behavior.”

With e-learning and work-from-home to prevail in the coming years, additional rooms became a necessity in many regions in the country. The consumer behavior of healthy living continued as a trend in the sector.

By Q3, the sector showcased considerable growth owing to the perpetual initiatives by the brands and marketers. Dr. Samantak Das, Chief Economist and Head of Research & REIS (India), JLL, puts forth, “The growth registered by the real estate sector in Q3 2021 is likely to continue and to end this year on a positive note. This sector is expected to benefit from a regime of low mortgage rate, coupled with duty waivers, realistic property pricing, and attractive offers leading to affordable synergy.”

As predicted, the festive season restored the market gaps towards the year-end and as the marketers continued to leverage digital marketing, the inquiries increasing ushering in a lucrative wave of sales. Jhobalia highlighted that the number of inquiries for properties increased for domestic as well as international markets, especially through digital platforms. “On their part, customers too have understood the current situation and become more receptive to the whole transition to digital marketing by companies”, he adds.

Marketing Strategy & Role of Social Media

Since the beginning of 2021, many real estate marketers continued with their existing marketing tactics to tug at the hearts of the consumers as the season was ripe with hope and positivity. Mahindra Lifespaces brought forth engagement tactics in line with #JoyfulHomecomings, Lodha Group continued to tap on the sentiments of owning your apartments with #ApnaGhar.

Also read: Social Throwback 2021: Josy Paul on campaigns that moved him…

With the second wave, as the consumers huddled inside their homes, real estate marketers attempted to bring out the joy of staying together and standing through tough times.

Despite being cautious towards their marketing budgets, the marketers largely invested in digital. “Compared to pre-COVID-19 times, our spend towards digital mediums have gone over 70 percent”, highlights Jhobalia. The analytic feedback from digital channels further helped marketers understand consumer trends better.

Facebook and Instagram continued to be the go-to platforms as suggested by the experts while attempting to bring immersive experiences to buyers through virtual mediums.

Leveraging topicals and moment marketing continued to hold prominence, albeit, through relevant messaging for brands and audiences, alike, since the beginning of 2021.

By the mid of the year, with the second wave, some real estate brands also looked at providing financial assistance to homebuyers.

Real Estate marketers were also compelled to look at wellness as a selling point in 2021. “Our research showcased that homebuyers are increasingly paying attention to amenities that offer holistic health and wellness and over 80% of them are ready to pay a premium for wellness-featured residences, said, Sarthak Seth, CMO, Tata Housing.

Post the second wave, as things started getting back to normal, the real estate marketers adopted an integrated marketing approach with print, online, OOH, PR, and social media communication in focus. Healthy living, sustainability, joy, togetherness, and memories, evolved as common communication themes in real estate marketing.

As revenge travel emerged as a major trend post the second wave, some of the real estate marketers attempted to leverage this insight to replicate the home decors of the properties in line with resorts and places of vacations.

Brands also leveraged the spacious and luxury offerings of the properties in campaigns as buying behavior tilted more towards ready-to-move-in homes. Leveraging celebrities from Bollywood and sports for brand campaigns prevailed in the new normal.

Influencer marketing and testimonials remained an important part of the marketing strategies of the brands to highlight the holistic facilities/amenities for the brands. Similarly, brands continued to leverage emotions and urge people to celebrate everyday joys through their campaigns.

Real Estate Marketing Trends 2022

As we move on the road to 2022, buying the right home seems to be the focus area for marketing campaigns. However, with the emergence of the Omicron variant, the precautionary measures by real estate brands continue.

Real estate brands are also considering OTT platforms for mass awareness and reach in the near future. As we move towards 2022, the experts encapsulate trends and tips for Real Estate Marketing:

  • Use marketing technology strategically to always Stay Connected to your Customers.
  • Refresh Customer Experience (CX) strategies regularly and always be empathetic in your communication during tough times.
  • Online social interactions between brands and consumers are not going away anytime soon, and companies who understand this and prepare their marketing plans accordingly will be better positioned to stay ahead of the competition.
  • Marketers need to continue experimenting and go beyond the conventional ways that include leveraging technologies like AR, VR, AI for a life-like virtual experience.
  • Brands need to look at bringing a holistic and luxurious experience to homes as buying behaviors continue to evolve with an increase in demand for affordable/mid-sized homes.
  • Marketers witness an increased interest in NRI Homebuyers in the country as a safe haven during the time of crisis
  • Evolving consumer behavior has also increased the rise in individual villa segments. The need for low-density living has increased now more than ever which has led to this new trend.
  • Digital marketing continues to be at the epicenter of real estate marketing strategies with influencer marketing on the rise in tandem with celebrity campaigns.
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