As with many industries over the past year, commercial real estate has endured its fair share of changes due to the challenges faced in 2020. With stay-at-home orders in effect globally, the demand for commercial real estate was hit hard during the pandemic.
Mobility restrictions have negatively affected hotels and other tourism establishments, and in-person retail has slowed alongside a booming e-commerce industry. Physical stores moved their businesses online and office spaces were vacated as companies implemented remote work policies. This has meant a decline in the need for properties used specifically for business purposes.
As a result, the marketing landscape for commercial real estate has shifted, and companies now more than ever need to adapt their approach to see results.
Below are five major shifts in commercial real estate marketing that are occurring right now. Understanding these key changes will enable your company to leverage effective strategies to stay competitive and continue to grow.
1. The Need to Embrace Technology and Innovation
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that digital technologies are the future.
This is also true from a commercial real estate marketing perspective. Customer buying behavior has significantly changed in the post-pandemic setting and companies require innovative technologies to improve digital experiences and accommodate emerging needs.
Upgrading your website and maintaining an active social media presence is a given, but integrating other multifaceted technologies and commercial real estate marketing software can take your approach to the next level.
Relying on a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, for example, can be a game-changer. A commercial real estate CRM is designed to help you manage and oversee the interactions you have with prospects, clients, and tenants seamlessly. Rather than a messy datebook or poorly formatted spreadsheet, a good CRM is a resource that streamlines and improves the process of engaging with key people in your business.
These types of technologies can give your company a clear advantage in the commercial real estate industry.
2. Adapting to Continuous Change is a Must
In an increasingly competitive landscape, it is crucial that your company is clear on who you are targeting and what their main challenges are.
For example, many companies’ needs have evolved and prospective clients may be looking for flexible lease options instead of long-term agreements, or healthy and safe building environments that adhere to green building programs as opposed to spectacular amenities.
Alternatively, maybe you have begun to target specific sectors of commercial real estate that have remained active during the pandemic like warehouses for e-commerce, storage facilities, or certain retail spaces like pharmacies.
Cultivating your brand identity so it appeals to your ever-evolving target audience and tailoring your message to the end decision-maker is key.
3. Shifting In-Person Interactions to a Virtual Approach
Virtual tours and events have also become standard in 2020. During a time when potential clients have been unable to visit properties or attend commercial real estate events, launching these different possibilities has enabled companies to elevate traditional job functions and deliver what clients need.
In fact, for commercial real estate “one of the most effective ways to showcase properties is through virtual tours.”
While there are endless ways to upgrade in-person showings and implement new forms of client interactions, walking potential buyers through a virtual tour has become almost mandatory in post-pandemic commercial real estate marketing.
Images can give prospects an idea of the space but if you want to truly impress interested parties, relying on 3D technology with an interactive site map and a virtual walk through is your best bet.
4. Making Interactive Marketing Content Readily Available
In line with these changing dynamics in commercial real estate, facilitating quality interactive marketing content is paramount.
Enabling prospective clients access to custom property websites, interactive maps, videos, online forms, and other relevant materials from the comfort of their own home has transformed the process and streamlined commercial real estate marketing.
Having everything you need at your fingertips, like client portals that prospects can connect to for all relevant information, or to share and save documents, makes everything that much easier.
Plus, it is the ideal way to bring together brokers, investors and tenants in this current climate. Right now, building an effective marketing center for commercial real estate that can be accessed remotely is a surefire way to guarantee success—and ensure that your company is able to stay on top of potential leads.
5. The Increased Importance of Measuring Success
Given the fact that the commercial real estate industry has faced uncertainties in the past year, the only effective way to optimize processes is to focus on measuring results.
Marketing is one of the more important expenses commercial real estate companies invest in, and the best way to verify that you are effectively implementing your marketing strategy is by putting in place mechanisms to track the effectiveness of your campaigns.
For example, by establishing and assessing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), you can clearly see what has worked and what hasn’t.
But KPIs aren’t useful if you can’t easily access crucial data. Your company needs the right tools in place to provide meaningful data and offer optimal data visibility to enhance interpretation and analysis.
That way, you can better invest your budget and see a higher Return on Investment (ROI) that eventually translates to more clients and business growth.
Ultimately, commercial real estate isn’t the only industry that has experienced significant changes in the last year.
Companies in many different sectors have had to change their strategies and outlook to be able to continue operations. That said, it is important that your company is aware of such shifts and is adopting the appropriate marketing measures in commercial real estate to be able to weather these new developments and continue to thrive. It is essential to stay in the game.