Ping Newland Communities’ Briar Chapel website for more information, and you’ll be asked to fill out a “My Perfect Place” questionnaire on family formation, when you plan to move, what type of community you want to live in, and price range. Visiting the information center in person? You’ll get an iPad with the same innocuous form.
“While our internet marketing is outwardly geared toward getting prospects to visit the information center, we’re also completing registration forms and beginning to collect and analyze shopping and purchasing data across the customer life cycle,” says Tabitha Spencer, marketing manager for San Diego–based Newland Communities.
Since deploying Marketo marketing automation software in 2016, Newland has been engaged in a data collection effort via customer surveys and web analytic programs, tracking age ranges, geographic location, income, and home and lifestyle interests. Complementing Marketo is a proprietary audience management system that provides predictive analytics on prospect behavior based on data profiles. The investment has paid off in sales, landing Briar Chapel and four other Newland developments on RCLCO’s 2016 list of top-selling MPCs.
Newland isn’t alone in its approach to web 2.0 marketing and the effort to sustain a digital purchasing journey while collecting contextual customer data along the way. Texas–based Republic Property Group (RPG)—which already lays claim to two of the top 25 top-selling national MPCs—will look to migrate Google and Facebook analytics to customer relationship management software and some proprietary marketing automation system as it begins the construction and sale of homes at Walsh.
“We want to know what people interact with, who they are, and what kind of information works to combine a buying and learning experience,” says RPG director of marketing and sales Travis Selcer. “The statistics don’t lie—98% of home buyers search online and let’s face it, it’s really 100% because it’s easiest and most cost effective way to compare properties. It’s our job to leverage the internet with tools to refine focus and capture interest.”
Data is also now helping to inform social media campaigns for MPC developers. At Briar Chapel, 50% of shoppers are on the younger side of the 25 to 44 demographic, and 61% of buyers end up being millennials. “We’re evolving into an Instagram– and Pinterest–first strategy ... because Facebook has about a 50/50 split of millennials to active adult, whereas Instagram is more like 70/30.”
Not that social media has become easy. Sterling Ranch in Colorado advertises on Facebook and Twitter, and ramps up on Snapchat and Instagram when blocks of for-sales open up. “Social is a constantly evolving channel,” says Sterling Ranch chief technology officer Brock Smethills. “Who would have thought a 72-year-old man would be the first person to realize how to leverage Twitter in an election campaign?”