For decades, most property developers have advertised their properties using traditional mass media marketing tactics such as TV, radio, and billboards.
The latest trends of the 4.0 industrial revolution demonstrate that it is critical for property developer to have an online presence now. TheLEADER interviewed Ch’ng Toh Ghee, Director of PropertyPages, a part of BluWebMedia Inc to understand more about the concept of digital marketing and its role in the real estate industry, especially in Vietnamese market.
PropertyPages is an independent software technology company which empowers real estate professionals to efficiently expand their business, generating more traffic and valuable leads through multi-level marketing. It has operations in Singapore and Malaysia since 2016 and will be expanding to other South East Asian region.
Can you share with us the circumstances of digital internet marketing in the world? Do you think digital internet marketing is more beneficial than the traditional ways for property developers in Vietnam?
Ch’ng Toh Ghee: It is very different circumstances in each country, especially between developed and developing countries. If somebody wants to use digital internet marketing, they need to firstly understand the market.
I am not sure what is the case in Vietnam but I believe that in countries like Vietnam, the traditional ways of marketing such as advertising through newspaper works wonderfully as most of the rich and older generation still mainly reading newspaper.
If your project is very high end very expensive, it is highly likely that the person who buys it will be the rich old man, not the young people.
However, in countries like Malaysia, the older generation have been using Internet for a long time. In developed or more developed countries, very few people still use newspapers, television and radio as everybody is now switching to smartphones .
In Singapore it is a little bit different, they still use newspaper because the properties are so expensive there, the high end one sells very well on newspaper.
With Vietnam’s case, I think property developer should focus on both the traditional ways on marketing as well as the new ways of marketing i.e through digital internet marketing.
What do you think is the most crucial factor of digital internet marketing?
Ch’ng Toh Ghee: When you talk about digital internet marketing for property developers, there are two main components. One is what we called brand building, the second one is selling the property.
I can say all these because I have been in the digital marketing field for the last 14 years, when Google was two years old I have already started doing this.
Brand-building is not something you can do instantly, it has to be built slowly overtime.
For example, in Malaysia there are many developers have been building their brand for a long time ago even before the presence of Internet.
If you only focus on selling the property, there will be nothing special to separate you from the rest of the competitors.
How can a property developer start to do brand building? Why do you think it is important?
Ch’ng Toh Ghee: Let me give you an example about the case of brand building. When a new developer from Malaysia comes to Vietnam with all great experiences and starts to build a brand like “we always build nice home for the family”, then they constantly post new pictures about family or children walking in the park on the internet or newspaper.
After three to four years of putting these types of advertisement, customers will instantly think of this brand as the one who always build nice home for families and that is how you build a brand.
This is extremely important because in today fierce competition, when you have so many rivals and you cannot do anything special to separate you from the rest of them, your products will eventually become commoditization, that is when valuable and distinguishable products becoming simple commodities.
What are the common issues that property developers might encounter when applying digital internet marketing?
What most people fail to remember is that brand building is an everyday job for the next X number of year that you are in the business.
People will prefer to go to a website of a developer with full information from picture and video to satellite picture, design, views from different angle of the property. If people go to the social media of a developer who has almost no update at all, it is unlikely that they will continue to come back to check new updates from those companies.
The most important thing you must remember is that you must deliver what the potential buyers actually want instead of what you think is right as the developer.
We found a very common problem is that many of property developers are doing their digital marketing wrongly but still think that they are doing it correctly. It is the same case in all industry, they always view things from the perspective of their world not from the view of the people outside.
In your point of view, what should be done to resolve these issues?
Ch’ng Toh Ghee: There must be a change in mindset, property developers must try to think about brand building. Right now in Vietnam, all developers seem to only care about selling the property, as the result most of their advertisement are property related, it needs to be human related to be able to tap into people’s psychology.
Especially with younger generation today, they have very short attention span. It is a big challenge to hold their attention.
For instance, Malaysian developer company talks about everything from community services, their dinner party but in a way they are indirectly advertise their projects. These things need to happen in Vietnam, otherwise there will be a lost of the whole generation if developers only focus on older generation.
Psychology is very important. Developers or anyone else use digital internet marketing need to be very sensitive to the changes. You must be very flexible and you must have a long term perspective. That is what a lot of the company fail to do.
At the end of the day, it is not good when everybody is having short term perspective, many people nowadays when they buy a product they are actually buying the brand. As long as company do not mind to start building their brand, eventually they can become a big name just like Samsung or Apple.
The Government cannot really do anything to change this situation, it is more of self realization, whoever realises this first will gain the most.
Ultimately at the end of the day, it only requires the change of one developer, those who are dynamic will sure to follow.
Thank you very much!