Ahead of our Effective Property Marketing in 2019 event in January we wanted to take some time to focus on the house building sector. While there are clearly still plenty of unknowns in the market itself, in marketing there’s almost too much to know about home buyers and their path to purchase.
With all of that enticing data available to delve into comes the challenge of making it agile and accessible enough for marketing teams – allowing them to act quickly, consistently and decisively. 2018 has brought many changes that heighten the challenges for housebuilders – how to best nurture leads, realise more efficient targeting options and strengthen their brands in the face of whatever 2019 may bring.
The UK’s housebuilding market has always been beholden to the UK economy
Research by Zoopla last year suggested that interest rates and the state of the economy are likely to have more of a negative impact on consumers’ decision to buy than Brexit. However, that was when Brexit negotiations hadn’t quite reached the stalemate of recent months, so consumer priorities could very well have changed.
And, whilst the anticipated crash in house prices following the Brexit vote may not have happened, the UK house building market has risen in value for the past five years (Mintel) and house price growth has noticeably slowed down since June 2016. According to Rightmove October’s asking prices were up a nominal +1.0% this year, the lowest monthly rate of increase at this time of year since the beginning of the decade.
Given the importance of home ownership as a milestone – especially amongst potential first-time buyers who ranked owning property as more important than their career, marriage and children (Yorkshire Building Society, First Time Buyers 2018) – and the much-reported under-supply of housing, it’s probably a safe bet that market growth will continue, just at what rate.
With all this in mind, Mintel’s recent House Building report will provide an indispensable review and forecast of the market as it wrestles with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, increasing interest rates, and inflation. We’ll be sharing more insights from the full report in the coming weeks.
This importance of the home buying decision for customers has always given rise to the challenge of trying to report on user journeys that have a typically very long tail, weaving around different devices and multiple online and offline channel interactions. Reservations don’t happen online but are in CRM systems, which may or may not integrate with other marketing platforms and tracking systems, so the ultimate ROI and robust channel attribution can become very complex.
There’s a growing appreciation amongst house builders that the value of the data they hold is greater than a simple understanding of which channel will generate the most prospects. A recent report from WARC suggests that on average UK brands are spending 23% of their overall marketing budgets on marketing technology, up from 16% in 2017, and we’re certainly seeing a rapid uptake in the property sector for MarTech that aims to make a ‘single customer view’ a reality. This, in turn, often generates a re-evaluation of tracking tools, URL tagging and web optimisation. Our Integrations Analysts are busier than ever; helping to repair and refine the systems clients have in place, protecting their tech investments and forging a better understanding of customer interaction; both in terms of on-site engagement and across a variety of media touchpoints.
We’re increasingly being entrusted with CRM data for profiling, campaign management and targeting. To that end, data protection expertise sitting within the Insights team – particularly around the GDPR – has been hugely beneficial to clients. We’ve provided regular consultation on handling customer databases and monitoring web analytics and call tracking platforms, and our ongoing focus on the protection of client brand and data safety is paramount. Our combined work in client sector research and data services has recently seen our Insights Team nominated for ‘best business expansion’ in the forthcoming Drum Agency Business Awards.
We look forward to hosting our event in January and lifting the lid on more sector insights.