For any given business, marketing is a considerable need to ensure sustainable profitability. The real estate sector, just like in any other industry requires heavy and content based marketing to be able to achieve profitability (Duke & Tucker, 2007). The Colton Creek Apartments, just like any other houses in the neighborhood requires effective marketing in order to compete favorably with the other apartments in terms of attracting potential tenants. Tenants would develop perceptions about a given property based on several characteristics including proximity to basic social amenities, aesthetic characteristics and the space allocation. Other factors would include parking space and security. To be capable of attracting their target market, the apartments must have in place facilities that are at par with or better than those in the neighboring apartments and also be fairly priced. With a combination of attractive characteristics, the apartments would have strong marketing points for its target market. For effective marketing to occur, the present paper provides a tentative marketing plan for Colton Creek Apartments.
The Colton Creek Apartments comprise of a complex of single family flats located at the Avalon Parkway. The apartments have most of the desirable social amenities in close proximity hence would be a good location for families looking for homes. The only challenge with the apartments as they are now is that they do not have a valet- trash collection system as part of the service components in the facility like the neighboring McDonough’s premier apartments (Sanders, 2016). This makes Colton Creek Apartments slightly less desirable than the McDonough’s as the residents have to take out trash by themselves. The management of the apartments have therefore put in place plans to initiate valet – trash service optionally to the residents of the apartments. The service would be customized to residents to choose the frequency of trash collection from their door steps. The payment mode would be such that no deposits are required. The subscription fee would be payable every month and the residents will get uniformed and trained cleaners to work with vale- trash services. They would also be responsible for helping residents in sorting out their trash. The entire service will be customer oriented and flexible especially in terms of trash delivery frequencies. The objective of Colton Creek Apartments in initiating the valet- trash services as part of the regular services delivered to residents is to have this as a marketing point for the apartments. Through using the appropriate marketing strategies, it will be possible to attract more residents to the apartments by raising the competitive advantage of the apartments relative to that of McDonough’s.
Colton Creek Apartments intends to use innovative practices to attract more tenants to the apartments. Some of these practices such as the use of more advanced equipment can add value to the service provision practices and hence to the recognition of the potential and existing customers (Ahearn & Balentine, 2014). In particular, the addition of the valet- trash service increases the value of the apartments for busy working couples who like to entertain but may not have the time to frequently take out trash on their own. The apartments aim at attracting customers who may be single families and working couples who live around the Avalon Parkway and who may be looking for houses to rent. After including the valet-trash services at the Colton Creek, the main objective would be to attract new tenants and to retain existing tenants. The marketing will therefore target families that are looking for homes or those that already live in Colton Creek but have expressed their desire to leave due to the inconvenience of the trash collection system at Colton Creek. According to Lynn (2011) different marketing strategies can be used for different target markets as long as the segmentation has been conducted and the needs of particular customer segments have been identified. In the marketing plan for Colton Creek, the potential tenants have to be contacted through different practices and strategies from the ones that are used for tenants already living at the premises.
Product/ Service Description
Although the apartments are the main product that will be marketed under this marketing plan, valet- trash services will be the service through which the product is marketed. For the tenants in Colton Creek apartments, the trash collection services will be the marketed services. This is because this target market comprises of individuals and/ or families that are already living in the apartments hence the main objective of marketing would be to get them to use the valet- trash services. There is great need to market this service to the existing tenants because the services are payable per month hence those who do not have sufficient disposable cash would not want to adopt the services if expensive. Secondly, individuals already living in the apartment may have started the process of looking for houses to relocate to, by adding this new service to their package though payable; the apartments will be increasing the value accorded to each tenant. On the other hand, the potential tenants have the entire apartments as the main product under consideration. In this regard, valet- trash services come in as part of the apartment product description to make the marketing points stronger. The marketing message will therefore depend on the targeted population. The messages will also be passed through different modes of communication.
Emerson (2014), a social media strategist and consultant, asserts that product positioning defines the perception that potential and existing customers have about a business. With regards to real estate, this can be the present value of the property relative to what is being charged for it. In terms of Colton Creek Apartments, the product position in Avalon Parkway is quite significant. The apartments compete favorably with the McDonough’s luxury apartments even though they are currently facing the challenge of trash collection. For potential tenants, the McDonough’s may look slightly better due to the availability of trash collection services which make the compound somewhat clean throughout. With the upcoming inclusion of the valet- trash collection services through Colton Creek, the position of the apartments in the market will be improved significantly. This measure is bound to bring about a rise in the number of people who would want to live in the apartments. It can thus be considered a value addition measure with reference to Colton Creek apartments.
Competitive Analysis (SWOT)
As it is currently, the apartments are well positioned in the market but there is strong competition. The main competitor is the McDonough’s luxury apartment which is not only in close proximity to the Colton Creek apartments but also has an ongoing valet- trash service. As such, Colton Creek apartments may find it difficult to infiltrate the market shares of McDonough’s but can still attract newer customers. According to Emerson (2014), any business intending to market itself effectively has to understand its performance relative to that of competitors. By understanding its strengths and weaknesses, a business can determine what to use as leverage against its competitors and what to work on further in order to improve marketability (Furrer et al., 2007). The table below describes the SWOT for the Colton Creek apartments, through which it aims at expanding the organizational market shares significantly.
|Strengths: The apartments have been existing for some time now. There are already some tenants in the building. The apartment intends to introduce professional valet- cleaning services in the building. The building itself is up to standard on all other aspects. The pricing is fair relative to other apartments.||Weaknesses: The building currently lacks valet- trash services.|
|Opportunities: The increasing cost of housing along the Avalon Beach. High housing demand in the Avalon Beach area. The increasing dependence on professional cleaning services.||Threats: The main competitor already has the services lacked by the building. McDonough’s is situated just opposite the apartment hence there are high chances for influencing customers.|
The introduction of valet- cleaning services into the building is listed as strength since it implies that newer cleaning technologies and accessibility to more and better quality information will follow. Compared to apartments like McDonough’s which has been using the services earlier, the technologies will not cost more than what they are presently valued at, but will probably result in better service delivery and efficiency among members. This will definitely give Colton Creek an upper hand in terms of customer experience rating. In terms of opportunity, the demand for housing has increased significantly in the recent times and with it the cost of housing. As the costs increase, more people who would otherwise live in the beach houses will opt to live in Avalon Parkway. Moreover, apartments in Avalon Parkway will also get more people in need for houses hence Colton Creek apartments can take advantage of this too. As more people opt to rent houses, they would also desire apartments where they can have more time to cater for their needs and to address their work demands. Their concentration on other things such as trash collection will thus reduce. This inevitably gives apartments with trash collection services an upper hand in attracting clientele. It is therefore expected that with the newly instituted valet- trash services, Colton Creek will be a home to more people.
Principles of strategic marketing require that any goods/ services being marketed should be able to satisfy the needs of the consumer with regards to the value versus the price charged for it. Kumar, Rahman, Kazmi and Goyal of the Indian Institute of Technology (2012), describe the sustainable versus sustainability marketing strategy mix. According to these authors, sustainable marketing is the traditional form of marketing which comprises of the product description, the price and the promotion practices among others. This strategy metamorphosed into the more modern sustainability marketing strategy which entails consideration of the customer solution, the customer price, convenience of the customer and communication with the customer. Considering the status of the Colton Creek apartments as at the present time, the use of sustainability marketing would be commendable given that the services delivered are more customer-oriented. The objective of sustainability marketing in any instance would be to create long terms relationships with the customers, in this case the tenants of Colton Creek apartments. The sustainability marketing model focuses on customer satisfaction, while at the same time aiming at accomplishing relationships that would be beneficial to the customer, the business and the entire society (Iyamabo & Otubanjo, 2013). In most cases, sustainability focuses on the alignment between organizational and individual customer goals and needs.
For instance, by providing valet- trash services, the needs of the customer with regards to trash collection are addressed. Tenants who would have left due to the bother of taking out trash on their own would not do so. At the same time, tenants who would have gone to other apartments due to trash collection challenges would move in to Colton Creek. The services are also offered at the customer price given the flexibility associated with the services. For exemplification purposes, a tenant may pay for trash to be taken out thrice a week while the other wants it done twice or five times a week. This simply implies that these tenants would pay different amounts depending on services agreed upon and the services rendered. The services provided are also at the convenience of the customer as they have to choose when their trash is collected.
The communication aspect can be the most challenging in a marketing scenario. In the present case, communication needs to be two fold i.e. with the already existing tenants and with the potential tenants. The messages to be passed, though largely aimed at bringing people into Colton Creek, have to be slightly different due to the differences in target market characteristics. Various marketing practices will therefore be used. As a communication strategy, the marketing will entail the use of social networks and posters as advertising strategies. In the contemporary times, social networking can be a very effective way of enhancing business interactions and meetings. In the case of the Colton Creek apartments, the first target market comprises of the potential tenants who may be looking for houses around Avalon Parkway. To access this group of tenants, social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist and YouTube could be of assistance. The Colton Creek management will therefore depend on these modes to communicate to potential tenants about the apartments. According to Armstrong (1983), strategic planning is an essential part of all marketing activities and can make the difference between marketing success and failure. In the case of Colton Creek, strategic planning would involve budgeting for the marketing activities and for the improvement activities that are part of value addition at the apartments. The advantage that the Colton Creek management has is that most of the social networks intended for marketing are either free or affordable hence the costs incurred will be minimal. For tenants that are already living in Colton Creek, communication could be done through short messaging and/ or posters. This is because this target market comprises on specific known individuals, who can be accessed easily. The apartments will also depend to some extent on word of mouth communications from the management to tenants as well as among tenants themselves as a way of spreading the news about valet- trash services.
For the marketing plans to occur successfully, Colton Creek apartments will have to budget for the introduction of valet- trash services, employment of trained cleaners and communication about the new developments. The maximum budget for the activities will be $ 2500 as the initial investment cost, which will be divided into $ 1000 and $ 1500 for communicating to potential and existing tenants and for initiating the valet – trash services respectively. These costs are however one- off payments and the operational costs for the valet- services and the communication processes will be self- sustaining. As the tenants pay for trash collection, the funds received would be used for maintaining the operations, paying the additional staff and engaging in greater marketing activities for the apartment.
The marketing activities conducted under this plan will be aimed at:
- Ensuring that Colton Creek apartments have all the necessary amenities at the convenience of the tenants.
- To provide an opportunity for Colton Creek apartments to leverage its strengths against competition.
- To ensure that the Colton Creek apartments are at full occupancy rates at all times.
To achieve these marketing goals, it will be imperative that all considerations of the factors that affect occupancy to be made. For instance, the apartments currently do not have valet- trash services yet it is unclear whether there are other factors that could contribute to the limited occupancy rates at Colton Creek.
After planning for the marketing practices and services, there will be periodic monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of the marketing activities undertaken. The first stage in the marketing activity is that of development of a working valet- trash system. The budgets have been made and established as appropriate for this activity. The first expected outcome for the activities planned would therefore be the working valet- trash services. This should also occur within a stipulated timeline. The measures of success in this therefore include positive feedback from the tenants, accomplishment of goals within the projected timeline and general acceptability of the instituted systems by the tenants. The second deliverable as per the project goals is to increase the competitive strength of Colton Creek apartments relative to the competition. This, although cannot be measured quantitatively, will be evaluated based on the brand identification outcome after the marketing exercises relative to that before marketing. This means that a simple survey could be conducted prior to and after the marketing activities to help in identifying the impacts of the marketing activity. A better indicator still would be increase in the number of tenants following marketing. As a third goal for Colton Creek apartments, an increase in the number of tenants in the first two months following the advertisement will be an indication of marketing success.
Colton Creek apartments, like any business intending to gain consumer popularity, have to engage in intensive marketing activities characterized by great concern for the customer. The apartments have realized one of the major draw backs of its business is that there is no valet- trash services offered as part of the overall tenancy package. As such, the management wishes to improve the tenancy and the business outcomes through introduction, monitoring and marketing by the use of valet- trash services as required by the tenants and potential tenants. This will not only improve the standing of the apartments in the real estate industry, but will also help create sustainable relationships with the tenants. The proposed marketing plan is based on a sustainability model that focuses on customer solution, the customer price, convenience and communication.
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