Are You Investing Your Resources in the Right Places?
One of the most valuable marketing tools we can use to become or remain the leader in our markets might be found right next door, or around the corner, or down the block, or across the street. No, I'm not talking about a wrecking ball. I'm talking about taking a good hard look at our own competitive position with respect to the other companies and communities in our areas. Granted, there are only a handful of companies that can effectively compete against all competitors - on all fronts - at the same time. They've found the secret formula for maximizing the investment of their resources. They've learned exactly how many and how much when it comes to staff, time, and money. They seem able to expend a pound of effort, and get a ton of response in return. How do they do it? What makes them special? The good news is they're not as special as you think. What they are is informed. The bad news is that unless you are too, you're sunk. Why? They're your competition, and they've got the competitive advantage!
If we want to compete with anyone, we must first identify the key points of difference between us and them in order to maximize our investment of staff, time, finances, and so on. Those key points can be identified by looking at just a few areas of consideration: the market or markets we operate in; our residents and the services we offer them; the people we employ; the community or communities themselves; and the finances at our disposal.The Market
Many companies make decisions about their communities as if they were in a vacuum, with absolutely no awareness or sensitivity to what their competitors are doing in the marketplace. I'm not speaking of rental rates or specials. I'm referring to market trends: finding our where the market is header; and finding our what the residents want as compared to what they need. Our residents and the services we offer them
Why does a community offer the services it offers? Is there a rational process by which new services are added or removed from a community or a company's portfolio? The question you should be asking yourself is "Is there a rational process by which my company or community selects and implements resident services?" All too often we hear of a service that another community or company is offering and we say "Hey! That's a great idea!" and immediately set out to implement it. In other instances, we provide services simply because management feels they should be offered - no questions asked. The final scenario, and the most prominent, is that we establish a portfolio of services based on industry standards, and continue to offer them because "We've always done things this way, so why change now?" What are we missing here folks? In all three instances we've taken the easy way out; and have likely left our residents wanting because we failed to determine what they , and the rest of the market (our future residents), truly desire. The key to avoiding this pitfall is an obvious one. We should consider the menu of services that we currently offer, and conduct a survey to find out whether our residents and future residents (a) want these services, and (b) are aware of these services. Just ask them. It's that simple. The following sample and cover letter will help you to tailor your own to the unique needs of your company or community.
Tips for Successful Surveying
Please indicate your awareness of, use, or interest in the services listed below. Additional space has been provided for your comments on any or all of the services listed. We encourage you to suggest other value-added services that would benefit you as a resident of our community.
Community Amenities and Technology
A recent study conducted by Coates & Jarrat, Inc. as commissioned by the National Association of Home Builders revealed the trends and transitions that are shaping the future of our industry today. The study predicts that whatever choices our industry makes over the next decade; several inevitable developments will shape our efforts. These trends continue to grow in momentum, including:
This has practically everything to do with amenities and technology because each and every one of these trends should shape our choices when it comes to the special features that our communities offer. The convenience and value-added choices that technology enables will both free our time and make it more valuable then ever before. We're smarter consumers now - more demanding consumers - and there will be more of us in the future. If you're not investing your resources in this future, you're not investing them effectively.
Tami Siewruk is the President of The Sales & Marketing Magic Companies, Inc. Meet Tami Siewruk - Biography & Article List
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