A Marketeer’s view on Marketing to the MarketPhopton
With the housing market making up a significant portion of our client portfolio, recently representatives of our team attended a Chartered Institute of Marketing seminar with market leading property portal, Rightmove’s head of marketing, Iain Kennedy, as the key speaker.
In a lively presentation, Kennedy explained that Rightmove’s marketing strategy currently focuses primarily on four key media; TV, outdoor advertising, SEO, and print media with 80% of their marketing focused on these areas, with additional support from PR, social, radio and CRM activity as and when required. Whilst Kennedy explained that various tracking tools are employed to monitor advertising response, the speaker was also keen to emphasise the importance of marketing instinct in scheduling decision making alongside technical insights, in the pursuit of what was described as, “the least wrong answer”.
Focusing particularly on the brand’s use of TV advertising, Kennedy explained that Rightmove operate an ‘always on’ policy, with TV advertising on display at least once every day. Interestingly, Rightmove have opted to spend their TV budget solely on the Channel 4 network, describing those channels as the most suitable link to their business’ core values. Within that media buying decision, Iain Kennedy explained that ad break positioning access was negotiated as part of the network deal. This is always selected manually by their team, with a focus on context, opting to run within home related programming content, always as the first or last in break. Brand consistency was also, rightly, a key consideration, with short impactful content using white text on bright backgrounds used throughout, with various animals included for a homely feel. Kennedy emphasised the importance of a clear, concise message, always with the consumer’s ease of access at the front of mind.
Rather than focusing on the customers of today, Kennedy’s brief very much focuses on the movers of tomorrow, with a marked reference to using their marketing output not to stand out from their direct competitors, but to stand out from all other outside influences and target potential movers before they even think about going into the market; motivating them to change, interrupting the customer journey. As an interesting aside, Kennedy referenced previous experience to highlight that brands do not necessarily just compete with the obvious – how for example, might the sales of 18-30 holidays be affected by the release week of the latest Apple product? We marketeers must be alert to these possibilities, and set about engaging with top brands at such times rather than competing with them, to support declining sales in these periods.
As well as anecdotes from his broad marketing career, particularly in respect of some large food and beverage brands, disasters and all (Banana flavoured Baileys anyone?!), Kennedy shared first party insight of his first brainchild, Rightmove’s recent, successful, “Find your happy” campaign. The key focus of this campaign was the customer checklist, with the campaign strategy focusing on the importance of the emotional above the rational in a property move; the premise being that if a property ticks all of those boring items we all look for in a new home, this can often be thrown out of the water by the warm, homely feeling an old oak tree in a garden may deliver.
As the primary player in their own market place, a degree of brand confidence was clearly on show – Kennedy explained that Rightmove felt there was no need to target the online display market on other websites aggressively based on the market-leading position of their own website, indeed, Kennedy even name checked British Gas as his key competitor rather than the growing purple entity that is Zoopla, due to the former’s network sponsorship of Channel 4’s Home content.
Incidentally, Zoopla will be further attempting to overturn the Rightmove hegemony with plans for a considerable advertising assault in the offing – rumours of a Zoopla TV Boxing Day campaign and prominent 2016 ad schedule are a poorly guarded secret in these parts. In turn, Rightmove will have been buoyed by recent research from Liberum which suggests that the introduction of On the Market has impacted on Zoopla’s marketshare to Rightmove’s considerable benefit. So although it looks as though 2016 will see an online property marketplace that is as hotly contested as ever, the market leaders will no doubt continue to find their happy.