Paul Hoppe

Even as developers of the largest planned housing communities in the U.S. embrace a return to the safe, walkable neighborhoods of the past, the days of balloons on the open house sign and spreads in the Sunday paper are over.

The web is king for buyer and resident engagement, and master planned community (MPC) marketers are opting out of print and other transactional marketing arenas to foster content-driven conversations, host community events, and authentically become a likable—and valuable—friend to home buyers.

Marketing in 2017 doesn’t come easy, nor does it come cheap, as MPCs interviewed by BUILDER report marketing budgets from 1.5% to 2% of total estimated gross sales. While the resource pool remains robust, allocation of those dollars is finding its way to writers, drone pilots, and food truck operators to create and sustain immersive customer experiences.

Behind the scenes, in­vestments into marketing automation and web analy­tics programs continue to gain popularity as marketers aim for a more intimate understanding of their audience. As the spring selling season blooms, see how some of the nation’s top-selling MPCs plan to attack the market with placemaking, content, and event marketing as the purchasing of new homes gets ever more personal.

This article appears in the June 2017 issue of Builder magazine.