Customer Lifecycle :
2. Digitising the marketing, sales and customer journey
In our series on the new build property development customer lifecycle, we look at the impact of digital and how technology is changing the customer buying experience. We break down the customer journey and describe each step and how it may be supported using technology whether it is acquired or developed.
Table of Contents
The mapping of a customer journey for buying a property is pretty standard from a person thinking of buying a property to actually buying. However more visionary and forward thinking developers are already looking beyond the transaction. They are helping to create communities and buyers to happy advocates of their properties. These developers are looking to provide homes for every stage of the owners lifetime. From affordable flats for first time buyers to family homes and then catering for downsizers in their retirement. Hence, their vision is to own the customer for life and not just a single transaction.
The Marketing Lifecycle
The move to digital has transformed marketing functions in every industry, including property development. In the past the role of marketing mainly centered on the early stages of the customer journey. Now, marketing is increasingly involved throughout the entire customer journey. To reach customers effectively there are an increasing number of digital channels to the customer. Digital channels have become more important than traditional channels like print and media (e.g. radio or TV) as customers spend more time online.
The Sales Funnel
Most sales organisations will be familiar with the sales funnel which typically looks like:
The goal is to get as many prospects from one end of the funnel to the other, ideally ending with a customer (homebuyer). The funnel analogy is used because at the start of the sales cycle there is a large base of prospects, however as they progress through the funnel they may drop off at any point. So, another key aspect of managing the sales funnel is understanding why customers dropped off and whether you can do anything about it.
Aligning sales and marketing with the customer journey
Each step in the customer journey is quite different and developers will need different solutions to support them. The table below summarises both the traditional approach and the modern digital approach, it also aligns marketing and sales with the customer journey:
Customer support and advocacy
Beyond the sale, developers are required to provide support and address snagging issues. Whilst the hard work of selling has been done, the reputation and brand image of a developer can be diminished by poor after sales experience.
Aside from issue management, forward looking developers understand the power and importance of customer advocacy both at an individual customer level and at a site / development level. Hence, many of the larger developers do set themselves broader goals for creating communities, not just homes.
Forward thinking developers have started to go further still and seek to support customers beyond the handover and support period. These developers are looking at providing their owners solutions that will make it easier for them to keep and manage their home for their entire tenure.
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In our next post, we look at the “thinking of buying’ stage, the types and motivations of homebuyers and the marketing channels used by property developers.
Thought provoking posts for the new build sector covering Customer Experience, Innovation and Thought Leadership