Digital is becoming the prime marketing channel for real estate. As consumers are spending more time on digital platforms reading social updates and news, it allows marketers to get maximum time share from consumer to create brand experiences and touch points across devices. As far as return on marketing investment is concerned, the digital medium is extremely cheaper than traditional print, outdoor or radio advertisement.
Vikram Kotnis, Founder and Managing Director, Amura Marketing Technologies shares his views with Sandeep Sharma about his company, core competencies, emerging real estate trends and use of digital marketing, formulation of integrated digital strategy, ROI on digital marketing, and recommendations for housing shortage in India. Edited Excerpts…
Could you tell us in brief about your company, mission, objectives and core competencies?
Amura Marketing Technologies is a leading digital marketing services company of India with its own marketing & sales automation platforms. The company was founded in Jan 2010 and is currently India’s largest digital marketing company servicing more than 250 clients in real estateacross India. Not only in Real estate, Amura has a wide clientele base in Pharma, Healthcare, Education and BFSI sectors as well. The motto of the company is ‘Marketing Engineered’ which is about finding a technology solution to a marketing problem. Amura has taken this philosophy into successfully creating disruptive technology solutions which enable companies to manage all their digital assets, empower them to execute programmatic buying of their digital media, optimizing and analyzing campaigns in real time and generating maximum leads for growing their business. Amura is a data driven digital marketing company, having Service Delivery as its core competencies. Based on the use of tools, analytics, algorithms, big data, cloud based automation, and data driven decision making, Today Amura has more than 200 employees who are consistently working on developing new ideas & solutions for different marketing challenges.
What are the emerging trends and technologies do you see in the real estate sector?
Real estate being one of the most unorganized sector in India, there is a great scope of improvement to make it more organised using digital technologies. Currently most of the developers are using search advertising, property portal listings, banner advertising, social media advertising, content marketing, video marketing, experiential marketing using Virtual realty etc. Latest trends being content marketing, video marketing, assisted buying in e-commerce model, sales and marketing automation.
How far Digital has emerged as the key marketing medium for the real estate companies in India? Is it restricted only to companies in Tier-1 cities?
Along with the developers in Tier 1 cities, manyreal estate companies from Tier-2& 3are realizing importance of digitization and have started implementing technology tools, customer acquisitions, CRM, virtual home buying experience, e-commerce integration etc. Also digital marketing is helping them to reach the right buyer at lowest possible cost. Also with RERA coming in picture, all approval documents will be available on RERA website as well as developers' website. Sector as a whole is accepting digitization in all aspects
What are the steps involved in formulating integrated digital strategy for real estate marketing? In what way your company is involved in the process?
Since the real estate sector is highly competitive, gaining and maintaining a lead over competition with the right use of the right technology has become imperative for all players in the sector. Biggest challenge in the industry is connecting the marketing efforts with Sales conversions. Lead generation campaigns, lead management platforms, mobile responsive sites and online reputation management (ORM) play a crucial role in driving marketing activities to their end outcome – sales and revenue growth while creating a positive recall and preference for the brand. Use of digital marketing depends on the needs of the developer. For example, for a project costing between 20-30 lakhs by a small developer, spends on digital marketing are also smaller. Customers can be targeted via SMS & database marketing. However, the case is different for a mid – segment or a big developer. Majority of the customers come from the digital savvy class, so targeting via digital medium is more effective. Depending on the target, postings could be made on most visited sites like Forbes, Telegraph, and Money Control etc. The whole approach to digital marketing has become very dynamic. Geo-targeting has become the new buzz today. Real Estate companies try to target specific areas to promote business in the form of Hyper-local marketing since it is primarily a micro-market sport. This helps them focus on smaller number of prospects and build local brand recognition early. Also it facilitates them to understand the market easily and measure their success results on the basis of early responses. The more confined is the area; themore easily one can target the strong prospects within that region. Amura Marketing Technologies with its one-of-a-kind ad platform – Sell.Do is India’s 1st Real Estate Sales & Marketing Automation platform providing services to >150 Clients across India. Sell.Do helps companies manage their leads, sales opportunities, marketing, reports and all type of communications like telephony, SMS and email from a single dashboard. Sell.Do is the only product in India which comes with a Big Data solution to give valuable insights on customer data to a developer. Sell.Do empowers developers to automate their pre-sales, sales & marketing processes & improve efficiencies while delivering excellent customer support at the same time.
Who are your major clientele and what kind of work you have successfully executed in the past?
Major clientele of Amura includes flagship developers like Oberoi Realty, Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate, Hiranandani Developers, Radius Developers, Kolte Patil Developers, Panchshil Realty, Ansal Housing, and Puravankara. Along these Amura provides solutions to 100+ other real estate clients.
To name the few Amura has successfully executed campaigns like:
The Nest Fest by Kolte Patil Developers
Campaign aimed to create awareness about their upcoming home buying festival through various attractive offers and incentivized promotions. The campaign worked across all the 3 bases i.e. Lead Generation, Video Promotions and Social Engagement. The campaign was a great success with achieving 9000 registrations and about 30 online bookings.
Indian Realty Flash Sale (IRFS)
Amura came up with India’s largest marketing initiative-A Real Estate Flash Sale, to create a transparent & consumer-centric platform to bring together developers and consumers.This platform provided a transparent & hassle-free home-buying experience for the customers and offered the best deals in the market. For this purpose Amura had partnered with one of the largest advertising platforms in the world, Google.During the flash sale overall32,000 enquiries were generated and around 14,500 offer coupons were downloaded.
Based on your experience about the use of Digital as a marketing medium, could you tell us about what kind of ROI one can expect using such strategy?
Digital is becoming the prime marketing channel for real estate. As consumers are spending more time on digital platforms reading social updates and news, it allows marketers to get maximum time share from consumer to create brand experiences and touch points across devices. As far as return on marketing investment is concerned, the digital medium is extremely cheaper than traditional print, outdoor or radio advertisement. The cost of conversion for digital is 1-1.5% of transaction value as compared to other media for which cost is more than 3-4%. Digital marketing is more of data analytics and use of automation & technology, if used effectively cost could be even lesser than 1%. At Amura we use Sell.Do, our own proprietary marketing and sales automation platform to bring down costs of advertising, effectively use data to improve conversion ratio and hence improving marketing ROI.
Apart from real estate sector, which are the other verticals where Digital strategy can be replicated?
The expanding world and the increasing aspirations of buyers have created a great scope for marketers in the digital era. Every brand wants to create lasting and unique experience for its customer/consumer base, which is now completely absorbed in a world of rich digital experiences.As traditional offline channels struggle to keep pace, digital has emerged as the key marketing medium for building, growing&retaining customers and increasing topline growth. Not only the real estate sector. Digital is the best and more ROI centric medium for all brands, categories and sectors, likePharma, Education, Banking & Finance etc. Digital has created more avenues for brands to engage meaningfully with their consumer. Fuelled by the increase of portable devices and internet penetration into the Indian heartland.
What’s your recommendation for solving the housing shortage in India?
In India, the housing shortage is primarily in the urban areas and that too for EWS and LIG class of society. The reasons for shortage are unavailability of urban land, delay in approvals from government authority, high cost of construction. The short term recommendation for solving the problem would be a single window clearance system to approve affordable housing projects, tax subsidies, innovative lending rates for developers to construct houses under EWS or LIG scheme, low cost innovative construction technologies to build the houses quickly. In the long run Government has to promote infrastructure, transport and Industrial growth in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. This will help in controlling immigrant population in these cities, and hence reducing housing demand.