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The Importance of Demographics in New Home Marketing

By Dave Barisic
Vice President – Brandywine Homes

Targeting a specific market is certainly not a new idea.  It has been one of the most important premises of the advertising industry since its inception.  During times of robust economic growth and low unemployment, however, the concept often gets pushed aside as product tends to sell regardless of how it is marketed.  This trend is nowhere more obvious than in the development and sales of new homes.

During the mid 2000s, builders could often sell just about anything that built, regardless of insufficient marketing or imperfect design.  Demand for housing, both real and speculative, was the driver.  As the market for new housing has shifted over the past five years, so has the need for an in-depth, targeted approach to both marketing and designing new homes.

Starting with design, we now need to know who will be purchasing our houses before we even begin contemplating what the floor plan will look like.  This is where demographics come in.  By studying the environment of a potential product area such as income level, schools, existing housing stock and ethnic makeup, we can get a fairly good idea of not only who would buy a home in that area, but also how big the home will need to be, what amenities it will need to have, and what price point it will need to be at in order to sell.

Next, we need to inform this population that our homes are available and that although times may be tough, this is still historically one of the best times to invest in a home.  This is where things have changed the most over the last few years.  As the economy has sagged, margins have shrunk and dollars available for marketing have diminished greatly.  Therefore, pinpointing your homebuyer profile with targeted advertising with a precise message is a necessity.  Depending on the profile, this may be accomplished with a closely monitored email blast campaign detailing low interest rates or monthly payments.  It could take the form of print advertising in a local ethnic newspaper, or even a partnership with the human resources department of the area’s largest employer.

The point is that the days of building a cookie cutter home, advertising in the local newspaper and watching the buyers flock in are now over.  Builders need to get more diligent in their market research, smarter in their design, and more creative in their marketing if they are going to succeed in this challenging market.

About the Blogger

David Barisic has been Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Brandywine Homes since 2001.  During his tenure, he has overseen the sale of homes in 25 communities across southern California and driven revenues of approximately $360 million.  Brandywine Homes is a residential homebuilder based in Irvine, Calif., that specializes in challenging infill development.