Tag Archives: home building

Socializing with a social media agency: Coffee with Mark Campbell, VMG Cinematic

I met Mark Campbell, a social media seeding and feeding guru of VMG Cinematic today at Balzac’s in Liberty Village to shoot the breeze on social media, what clients are asking for, what the market is willing to invest in, how to use social media to engender customer loyalty, what is being recommended and various campaign work we’ve both been doing in 2009.   [Mark and I have a mutual friend from Harley Davidson and so we met thru Linkedin – ah the power of social networking.

VMG Cinematic is an edgy, new media shop producing enviable online video distributed socially thru youtube, digital signage, and more.   They sport a client base we’d all love to play ball with including Harley Davidson, DHL, and Motorola.  Their high quality work is leading to very creative customer and employee focused campaigns integrated artfully across social medias.

There were a couple interesting themes in our conversation, beyond integrated social media campaigns.  One in particular focused on improving marketing ROI thru clever use of content assets.

I used to pull my hair out discovering various content assets being unused and not leveraged but easily deployed or strongly desired by customers.   (by content I mean video, photography, copy, etc).    Developing original content is hard enough and so its important to make every content piece that is developed work really hard.   The time to do this is at the creation of the content and not afterward.

A quick example.. in the condo development market, photos are taken throughout the whole construction process (and often live web cams accompany professional photos) and yet these photos/webcam are not made available to the buyers simply because the content did not reside or originate in the marketing department.  Certainly, there are privacy and legalities to consider and yet the sourcing of content does not have to stop with the marketing department because the customer experience does not stop after the purchase.

This is, in part, the beauty of studying the customer experience of buying a home and understanding how people who buy condos are very, very interested [nay emotionally invested]  in seeing the progress of their home during its construction.  Heck – I have friends who scrapbooks of the building of their home.  [okay – now to really digress – wouldn’t it be cool to see these scrapbooks?  Check out moleskine ‘s mymoleskine section for customer contributed content].

Now marry customer experience strategy, content sourcing with new and social media distribution possibilities and the world is your oyster.

Back to Mark.  Mark had some great examples of how he increased the payout of existing efforts by just adding a little bit more upfront investment.  The old “with just a little bit more spend, we can double the return on your efforts” tactic – but an honest approach that is compelling and working for Mark and his clients.

“It doesn’t cost much to add a production team”  Mark said of sending a team to capture a customer event.   At the end of the day, the customer had the event and a mini-documentary to release on youtube [and in my experience, often some significant internal assets – be that e-learning or corporate communications].    Mark also talked about re-using video assets, or “using the b-roll” as he called it, to extract further value from a production for creating more value for a company.

Well.. the day is done.  This isn’t high school.. I don’t need a conclusion to all this.  G’night.

Home Building 2.0

I’m sitting in my Starbucks office, with a globe & mail real estate section.  Hmm… memories of Great Gulf.   Positive memories.

Having worked as a marketing director in the home building industry,  I see so many opportunities for the game changing marketing.

The home building industry feels like the last bastion of old style marketing & communications [and I’m not bashing my former employer here – they were very gracious with my change agent ideas].   In an industry where the majority of ad spending focused on print advertising, websites are merely extensions of phone numbers.   E-mail marketing are mailed pdfs.  Sales agents want to phone prospects and some DON’T EVEN HAVE EMAIL ACCESS.  [i swear].

True, many Canadian home builder sites have added detailed maps and migrated the silly user registration forms online [i can’t believe marketing spend is influenced by these forms] but how many are really mining customer information better yet conversation to change the game?

Anyone in the low-rise industry might look at high-rise marketing for inspiration  – high rise commands more marketing dollars, flashly campaigns and original creative.  But who actually uses social media to create a lasting impression with customers?

I introduced corporate blogging with my past employer (and did – first in low-rise -thank you very much).  But I left on mat leave before it really attained the vision that I had for it.

One blog that I always liked was Riverfront in Denver.  I spent a lot of time in Denver, visiting tons of condo presentation centres, analyzing websites, etc and Riverfront was very interesting.  The writing style is informal.  Still lots of opportunity.   In Toronto, M5V’s blog is commendable – they are showing comments including the age old – ‘when will construction start’.

Blogging for sharing more marketing information e.g. (*&)(*& press releases – is not revolutionary.  The real opportunity is in satisfying customers along the entire customer experience.  Not just prospects but buyers.  Ah.. I have so many ideas.