At my current internship at Maier & Warner PR, a boutique agency that specializes in real estate, I am developing a situational analysis to help build a public relations/marketing strategy for a new mixed-use community, Crown Farm. Maier & Warner’s client is in the planning process of developing Crown, which encompasses 182 acres and will include 2,250 homes and 350,000 square feet of retail. Located under a mile away from Shady Grove Metro Station and situated along a major highway, Crown will attract residents from around the D.C. metro area.
There are countless factors that play into the PR/marketing campaign for Crown. In order to develop the right tactics and implement a successful strategy, it is vital to consider all aspects surrounding the development. Since Crown is located in the heart of Montgomery County, and within commuting distance from Washington, D.C., it is important to know how the community can appeal to potential residents, in a competitive market.
S.W.O.T. Analysis: Part of my research involved developing a S.W.O.T. analysis, to highlight the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that Crown encompasses. In order to successfully pinpoint these areas, I researched the economic and residential real estate conditions in the area, growth predictions for the future of Montgomery County (including jobs, population and new homes needed), demographics/psychographics, and the surrounding competition. Based on this research I found that Crown has multiple strengths, for example, its location and access to key aspects of the region and the appeal of a smart growth community. These factors will be important to highlight when marketing Crown. On the other hand, certain threats, like the economic recession, will also be a factor to consider.
Demographics: Demographic information is vital when considering who your target audience will be. One important aspect of Montgomery County’s demographics that largely affects Crown is the convergence of two major generations in American history: the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and the Millennials (born between 1979 and 1996), which today represent half of the total population. Boomers, who are now empty nesters, want to live in a walkable urban downtown or a suburban town center according to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors. The Millennials, just beginning to emerge from the nest, also favor urban downtowns and suburban town centers — for lifestyle reasons and the convenience of not having to own cars. This means Crown will target empty nesters as well as up and coming young professionals who prefer the urban sense of a mixed-use community.
Another demographic trend in Montgomery County is the rise of minority and foreign born residents, with the Asian ethnicity being the greatest proportion of minority growth. Also, the number of Montgomery County Asians living in homes they own increased from 55 percent to 70.9 percent, the largest shift of any racial group in the last decade (U.S. Census 2010). These statistics show that marketing to the Asian population will be important in Crown’s strategy. One way Maier & Warner plans to do this is through advertisements on AsianFortune.com, an English newspaper that targets over 800,000 Asian Americans in the Metropolitan Washington Area.
Psychographics: Besides knowing the demographics of our target audience like age, race and income, psychographics can help us understand the audience’s values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. According to a recent survey of Internet usage commissioned by Prudential Fox & Roach, almost two-thirds of home buyers said they used the internet to identify potential homes, and thirty-five percent said they used recommendations found on social-media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. Therefore, a key aspect of the marketing strategy will be utilizing social media to draw potential buyers to Crown. Since Crown will be targeting an older generation, it is also important to know if they can be reached through social media. According to research from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, social media usage amount adults 50-64 has doubled since 2009, and among adults 65 and up, social media usage has increased 150%. Along with other supportive statistics, evidence shows that social media can impact a broad range of homebuyers, and should be an aspect of Crown’s marketing and public relations strategy.
The goal of a public relations campaign is to break through any barrier that stands between an audience and a product, idea or service. The goal of Crown is to develop a successful community in which residents live happily among thriving retail and in close proximity to jobs and resources. The barriers that exist in this campaign, for example the economic recession or the competitive communities in Montgomery County, can be addressed and defeated with the right strategy. Through my research I was able to help Maier & Warner develop this strategy and create a PR/ marketing campaign that will impact the success of Crown. Now, only time will tell if our strategy works!