Commercial real estate firms face uncertain times as they come to grips with the impact of the Covid-19 and new market conditions force everyone to adapt quickly and find new avenues to uncover opportunities.

Now, more than ever before, a strong digital marketing strategy is a key factor to remain competitive as brokers, owners and investors rely heavily on online channels to transact.

We asked Bob Samii, CEO of SharpLaunch, for his take on commercial real estate marketing during and post Covid-19 and for strategies and tactics companies can adopt as the world is preparing for the so-called “new normal.”.

What are some marketing strategies and tactics companies can be doing right during the lockdown? 

Bob Samii: We see companies falling into two camps:

  1. Those that are adapting and staying proactive
  2. Those that are cutting costs and trying to survive

The companies that continue to stay proactive are using this time as a window of opportunity to strengthen their digital foundation and internal processes.

More specifically, some of the ways we see companies adapting their marketing strategy during this "holding" period is by making investments in new tools/platforms, upgrades to their company websites, data cleansing of internal databases/contact lists, and getting active on new digital channels (SEO, content marketing, social media, etc.).

Most importantly, many companies are making greater efforts to stay in touch, nurture and help their existing client base however they can during this difficult time.

The key is to stay proactive and think about ways you can improve your marketing operations to create long-term value for when the CRE market transitions back to normal.

How should companies be thinking ahead in regards to their marketing strategies post - lockdown? 

Bob Samii: Commercial real estate firms will need to embrace digital transformation for their property marketing efforts in order to stay competitive. This is absolutely critical.

Here are some ways companies can think ahead about their property marketing efforts as we transition to post-COVID world:

Centralize All of Your Data

The advances in cloud-based technologies offer the power and speed to quickly access all key property data and client data from anywhere at any time. This not only allows for better data consistency and transparency, but also enables you to make better business decisions. When data isn’t centralized and lives in multiple silos, it makes it difficult for real estate professionals to answer even simple questions.

Upgrade Your Marketing Stack

Full-feature marketing platforms, like SharpLaunch, can help streamline marketing efforts and automate the tedious and time-consuming tasks that often weigh businesses down. This means spending less time on manual administrative work and more time growing your business.

Expand Your Footprint

Digital channels will be critical for commercial real estate companies to get in front of audiences and capture interest. Traditional marketing efforts will no longer be as effective as they used to be. Now is a great time to consider engaging in new digital marketing activities such as Google Ad campaigns, activating social media channels, and exploring new CRE listing platforms (apart from Costar/Loopnet).

Review Client Feedback

Finally, it’s important to look at ways to continuously improve your marketing operations and have open communications and ask your clients to provide feedback. Structured client feedback can help improve your marketing and sales operations, use of your technology tools, and how you provide value to better address the pain points of your clients.

During the last recession in 2008/2009 companies cut back on marketing. Studies show from the last recession this is not the best strategy for your company in the short or long term. What are your thoughts on that?  

Bob Samii: The best time to go on offensive is when everyone else is waiting on the sidelines. Cutting back on marketing right now would be a mistake, however, it opens the doors to opportunities for companies that are staying proactive and know that the market will eventually turn around.

Now is the best time to double down on your marketing for 3 reasons:

  1. More of your potential customers are sitting at home and spending time online
  2. Advertising is cheaper than it was before
  3. You probably have more time to dedicate and focus on marketing

What are your thoughts on how this pandemic will change the way we do business and marketing our products to our industry? 

Bob Samii: The coronavirus pandemic will be a transformative change for the commercial real estate industry that still has one foot stuck in "traditional" ways of operating and another foot immersed in a quickly evolving tech-enabled world.

Digital transformation is rapidly accelerating across the CRE industry and forcing laggards and traditional firms to adopt technology across all functional areas of the business, especially for marketing, acquisition and sales.

We must realize that as the industry is continuously forced to adapt and digitize their operations during this period of the pandemic, it is also setting the standard of what will become the new norm post-COVID.

Everything is about to change and the idea of going back to "business as usual" will become obsolete.