Fierce competition in most developing residential construction markets today mean that the main differences between “Brand A Builder” and “Brand B Builder” are the colors, textures, and fabrics that the designers choose to decorate the interiors of the model homes.
Watch this early adoption of home builder marketing from the post depression era of 1930’s America; pay attention to the tactics employed by the contractor’s advertising firm to draw prospects to the closing table.
“Model Home Mania” still seems to be the staple of many modern day home builder’s marketing diet. While a live demonstration of the product is an essential component to successfully generating new home sales, it is not necessarily an “absolute” to the prospect’s buying decision. Not much has changed in the approach that home builders have employed in marketing new homes in the past 75 years. Fear, furniture, and fancy financing remain the “soup de jour” for most new home marketers today.
Buyer promotions and builder incentives are also popular new home marketing tools where there are relatively few differences being offered between today’s builders. Unfortunately, all those fancy financing terms and deep discounts, usually benefit the sell-sell-seller more than the doe-eyed buyer. Today’s new home buyer may not know this, but tomorrow’s new home prospects will. Pending regulation and investigation into the nation’s “housing bubble,” will likely result in an increase in public awareness about the practices of residential construction companies and their peers.
Some industry analysts predict that there will be a long, slow, climb back to the building highs seen during the previous five or six years building boom. (In case there are still some skeptics to this developing fact, check the current stock valuations of some of the nation’s top home builders.)
So what then can a home builder do to set themselves apart from the pack?
There remains that hardly acknowledged, and often under used form of marketing called “word of mouth advertising,” aka the old fashioned “you did a good job” customer referral. (Today we call this new phenomenon “Social Marketing” or Web 2.0.) Whatever you call it, the home building industry must change it’s approach to the consumer or we might as well be marketing cassette tapes or bomb shelters.