CRE’s digital marketing revolution – Commercial Observer

Marketing tactics were already evolving rapidly before the pandemic, as digital transformation led to the adoption and popularity of social media and other online forums. Yet COVID-19 has changed everything, accelerating changes in the way we communicate, including the way marketers engage the commercial real estate industry (CRE).

Partner Insights spoke to Marci Rankin, Director of Marketing Strategy for Commercial Real Estate at JPMorgan Chase, about the changes the company is implementing as part of the ongoing digital marketing revolution.

Marci Rankin

Commercial Observer: What are your main issues and challenges when marketing to the CRE industry?

Marci Rankin: JPMorgan Chase has clients spanning various asset classes and geographies. So, first we need to know who we are marketing to and what problem we aresolve for them. Whats important to an owner / operator of an apartment building in Los Angeles is very different from whatis important to a large developer in New York. Our goal is to deliver the right message to the customer at the right time, and through their preferred channel, so they can find solutions when they need them and stay focused on their CRE portfolio.

You have to be creative and able to pivot quickly in this dynamic industry. Our CRE clients face many forces and factors, such as changes in policy, legislation, interest and employment rates and, of course, the recent impact of the pandemic. For example, once the pandemic hit, we had to quickly move from full marketing to connecting directly with customers to share important and timely information. Our communication change consisted of detailed support related to the paycheck protection program established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and our loan relief program so we can help our clients and their tenants through unprecedented times.

How has marketing and communication changed within the financial industry / CRE over the past 20 years?

Technology and digital transformation, coupled with the rise of mobile devices, have created an ever-active experience. There has been a convergence of the commercial mentalities of customers with the expectations of their consumers. They want real-time information at their fingertips, delivered in a personalized and contextual way. As a marketer, I no longer have to wait for a direct mail to land at the customers mailbox, I can communicate key messages and content 24/7 via digital and social channels. Even with the adoption of technology and real-time delivery, integrated marketing – leveraging traditional and digital channels to connect with customers and prospects where they prefer – is the most effective approach.have known for our industry. This type of method needs to balance digital delivery with human interaction to truly connect with audiences.

The pandemic has forced us all to rethink the way we connect to each other. We had to adapt quickly to virtual events and webinars to continue information sharing, networking and learning. Video conferencing technology helped us make this adjustment, but it required training for both sales and customers. Creativity was super important. How can you keep audiences engaged when they suffer from the exhaustion associated with video calling? We’ve introduced variety and unique formats, from budget roundtables to a hands-on cooking session with a Top Chef winner. It is evident how much our customers and our sales team value face-to-face engagements. WeI have seen a lot of interest and participation in our recent industry events and conferences.

As a new generation of owners begin to take control of family-owned CRE portfolios, how do you and your team see yourself and your team changing the marketing to them?

We take the time to understand what is important to these clients: what keeps them from sleeping at night, the problems theytry to solve, and how they like to communicate and receive information. They may prefer to learn about us through social channels rather than the traditional phone call. ThisIt’s no longer just the product solution, but a sense of shared passion around targeted missions like JPMorgan Chases commitment racial equity and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. For example, one of the main goals of the business is to help solve the nation’s problems affordable housing crisis.

We really focus on building trusting relationships with the whole family and creating a sense of community and connection. It is important for us to offer this new generation of customers a place where they can exchange ideas and best practices on profitability and respect for the environment. equipment improvements, tenant trends, estate and estate planning, digitize their business (like rent collection) and community impact.

For a fairly risk averse industry, how can marketing play a role in the adoption of new CRE technologies and digital solutions?

The industry has been seen as lagging behind when it comes to technology, but the pandemic has driven digital adoption out of necessity. Renters, especially the younger generation, expect to manage and pay their rent digitally and in real time, just as they do with other transactions as consumers. To remain competitive, owners / operators must adapt.

We love to introduce customers who were the first to successfully adopt digital technology and solutions and highlight the positive impact this has had on their business, tenants and suppliers. We bring their stories to life and share their journeys through case studies, training videos, peer-to-peer roundtables and more. All of these marketing tactics aim to put people at ease with digital transformation and provide resources to ease transitions and overcome any hesitation. We recently launched our ‘Changemakers You Should Know’ content series, which uplifts industry leaders who are making strides – whether through modular housing, hiring various vendors, implementing the digital collection of rents or the optimization of tailor-made construction projects with the environment in mind.

Is Direct Mail Dead? Where is the CRE space still in it, and why?

Not dead, but perhaps less popular than 10 years ago. Direct mail is now a tactic in a much larger integrated marketing campaign. Thiss most effective when the public is inaccessible by email or phone due to lack of data or pick up lists. ThisIt is important to be thoughtful and targeted with the recipients of the direct mail in order to reduce waste. Environmentally friendly materials, inks and production costs are all at the forefront of our strategy. Thiss an expensive channel with slower delivery, itIt is imperative that it be deployed effectively.


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