Intensified by the 2020 pandemic, with limited access to in-person meetings, conferences, and other face-to-face forms of contact, the commercial real estate industry has further turned to technology to broaden its marketing strategies.
From building an integrated tech and marketing stack to embracing the accelerated uptake of virtual meetings, interactive websites, and digital marketing materials, several trends have begun to establish themselves that will influence how companies approach their commercial real estate marketing.
As the world shut down, we turned to technology, with virtual fast becoming the new physical. Both tenants and investors have turned to digital tools, the whole process right from initial research to touring and gaining information about properties now digitized.
In this article, we’ll be covering five of the most significant marketing trends currently impacting the commercial real estate industry, demonstrating how their presence will change how CRE firms operate as we move into 2022 and the following years.
Here are 5 marketing trends happening right now that all commercial real estate teams need to consider:
1. Digital Mediums Become a Key Driver of Growth
During a time when potential clients have had constraints to visit properties or attend commercial real estate events, different digital mediums have enabled CRE firms to get in front of potential clients and allow them to find all the relevant information in one place.
Digital marketing materials have swept physical marketing materials, like brochures and flyers, off the map.
The creation of digital assets is now simplified and different marketing platforms allow for fast set up and publishing of high quality property websites, digital presentations, virtual tours, online meetings and other assets that keep potential clients engaged.
Considering that every interaction through the internet leaves a digital trail of data, interaction with digital marketing materials allows marketing professionals to track which of their resources get the most engagement. From that point, they’ll be able to boost the creation of media forms that are succeeding, while refining those that are falling flat.
This data-driven marketing approach ensures that CRE firms can continuously optimize their marketing resources, using data to continuously improve their products.
- Consider updating your online corporate website for optimized user experience
- Keep your visitors on your website by interlinking your property listing sites to your corporate website
- Provide downloadable information to generate leads and track their activity
- Link your marketing assets like property sites to other websites, like online listing platforms, social media, news sites, Google My Business profiles
2. Virtual Is Here to Stay
Face-to-face meetings, conferences, trade shows, and more, have been overshadowed by virtual mediums in the world of commercial real estate marketing.
While they were once essential, they are no longer the only drivers of growth.
Instead, digital tools that allow for instant showings and stable video conferencing have taken their place. Where a commercial real estate meeting was once a necessary in-person event, it can now easily be facilitated through a video platform.
The embrace of digital comes at the heightened level of convenience that it can offer, with no one having to travel for a meeting or conference. This allows more meetings to occur in one day, boosting the efficiency of the industry and further contributing to its growth.
It is reported that an incredible 98% of people state that video conferencing software helps them build relationships. This goes for both internally between colleagues and also externally between clients and colleagues. Virtual meetings have had an incredible impact on the industry and are certainly here to stay.
Alongside meetings, virtual 3D tours now allow clients to view commercial real estate spaces without actually visiting the location. Detailed graphic renderings will allow a client to virtually move around the space, the view and orientation updating as they do.
These two virtual methods of communication have completely changed the way commercial real estate presents itself and interacts with clients. Just take a look at all of the networking events that take place throughout the year.
- Consider implementing an online meeting tool and add it in your signature
- Add virtual 3D tours to marketing presentations to allow client instant space visualization
3. Increased Use of Fully-Integrated Marketing Tools
Another trend that commercial real estate is experiencing is the increased use of specialized commercial real estate marketing tools and its integration with other tech tools, creating an API-driven tech stack that helps you optimize the marketing processes throughout the property lifecycle.
The ability of integrating distinct technology into one stack has allowed for a streamlined flow of listing data from a CRM to content management systems, enabling listings to be published in seconds, syndicated to listing portals with a click of a button and sent out as an email campaign to clients.
What’s more important this synergy has greatly accelerated the speed of dissemination, ensuring up-to-date information is available 24/7.
- Consider adopting marketing tools that offer open integration with other technology
- Reevaluate your current tech stack considering inefficiencies and tools that don’t play well together
- Improve workflows and processes that work, making your efforts repeatable and scalable
4. Improving The User Experience with Interactive Content
With the pandemic curtailing the ability of clients to visit and interact with projects they’re interested in face-to-face, commercial real estate marketing has stepped up to the plate with a range of tech-inspired interactive elements.
These elements, like interactive maps for commercial real estate or downloadable floor plans, allow clients to interact with a CRE firm’s offering to an advanced degree.
There are a range of interactive elements that commercial real estate firms are incorporating into their daily marketing schemes:
- Interactive Property Sites – Replacing brochures and flyers, teams can build interactive listing presentations created for the optimal client digital experience. These sites allow user tracking and visitor reporting as part of a digital suite and can be easily shared on other digital channels to generate visibility.
- Interactive Maps – Instead of visiting a site in person, a client will be able to interact with a base map of the property, exploring and gaining insight without having to leave their home.
- Virtual Tours – Long gone are the days of scheduled tours. Now, a client can navigate through a property on a virtual tour, gaining all the information they need through this digital platform.
- Document Sharing Portals – All the information a client will need is in one, easy-to-find location, this interactive element allowing clients to download any documents they may need right onto their device.
The movement to these digital futures is a shift that underpins the majority of commercial real estate marketing trends, allowing clients to access information faster than ever before, browse in their own time, and for CRE firms to streamline virtual communication by using interactive elements.
- If you are not sure which interactive content formats resonates with your audience, don’t be afraid to ask! Learn to adapt to what the potential clients want to see
5. Quickly Adapting to Continuous Changes
If the pandemic taught commercial real estate marketing one thing, it’s that rapidly adapting to how the industry shares information, conducts meetings, and networks is vital.
Companies must be able to adapt to these changes, quickly updating their brand and ensuring that their online presence is as strong as possible.
Whereas face-to-face contact once built trust, this has been replaced by ensuring your brand identity is strong and cohesive online – allowing firms to make a good first impression on their clients.
This shift to digital also extends to inventory, with a need for these materials to be made accessible for tenants and brokers to see with the click of a button.
These changes follow the pressure of the pandemic, the move to digital happening rapidly in response to the inability to form in-person connections.
- Make sure you bring your entire team up to speed when updating your processes, so that the whole organization is on board
- Align team members to make sure everyone is working towards the same goal
From adaptation to the uptake and compilation digital technologies and platforms, commercial real estate marketing has to react quickly to change moves quickly to change. These five marketing trends have emerged over 2021, and will only continue to process into 2022.
By understanding and focusing on complying with marketing trends, commercial real estate firms are able to deliver exactly what their clients are seeking – no matter how novel.