This is the introduction to an actual marketing plan for a home that has some very special qualities which will appeal to a clearly defined universe of potential buyers. It is an example of how I approach the management of perceived demand.
A consequence of the wide-spread use of the MLS has been the commodification of housing. For example, if a family wants a 4-bedroom, 2-bath home, the MLS will display dozens of them. Some will be rejected out of hand and the others will compete for the buyer’s money. For those that compete, subjective factors will determine the ultimate winner.
This process works great for 4-bedroom, 2-and-a-half-bath houses. It doesn’t work for 20 room homes on 3.5 acres of land because most people don’t need 20 rooms on 3.5 acres. But some people do, and they are the ones this plan seeks to reach but first some recent history.
Since January 2010 only 4 houses sold for $2 million or more in the nine West Essex towns of Caldwell, West Caldwell, North Caldwell, Essex Fells, Roseland, Verona, Cedar Grove, Fairfield and Montclair. All 4 of those sales were in Montclair. There is one overarching messages in this:
- In the towns that aren’t Montclair there is no apparent market for houses that cost $2 million or more and this house isn’t in Montclair.
So, in this less-than-inspiring real estate market the chance that a conventional marketing approach alone (which includes open houses, brochures and video) will work is very poor. As a result, the best chance for success is to go after the most likely prospects for this home using unconventional tactics. In this case the market is best defined as art collectors. This home was designed by its owner to display art and that suggests some very specific marketing tools.
(1) Rather than a commonplace video tour of the home, the plan calls for a professionally shot and edited video that is hosted by either a recognized art critic, collector, or curator or an actor with an up-market persona. While the purpose of the video will be to show off the home to those who have the resources to buy a $3.5 million home, it will feature the home’s connection to the world of art.
(2) A detailed description of the home will be lavishly presented in an album of images along with carefully crafted language that will detail every reason why the home is such an incredibly special place, one that the art elite will fully appreciate.
(3) Open houses will be replaced by invitation-only receptions targeted to those in the art world.
Importantly, target prospects don’t live in a vacuum. Their friends and acquaintances…all of whom are possible buyers…are just as likely to be outside the art world as within it.
In closing, unlike most homes, which are seen as commodities, this house is very special and it will appeal to a very special market.
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