Tag Archives: Shajai Jacob

How IPCs make a difference in Indian real estate

Posted on by Track2Realty

By: Shajai Jacob, Director & Head – Marketing, JLL India

- india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india,Head- marketing & communication, Jones Lnag LaSalle India,Shajai-Jacob , india news, property news, real estate news, India Property, Delhi NCR real estate, Track2Media, Track2Realty, Track2InfraTrack2Realty: In a market still defined by significant lack of transparency, real estate consultancies play a complex and responsibility-driven role in all real estate transactions, especially in the case of high-value property assets. In large ticket sized transactions such as those involved in Grade A office spaces, there can be no margin for error. Transparency, ethics and accurate market information play an inalienable role in closing such deals.

Today, MNCs as well as domestic companies and investors depend on International Property Consultancies (IPCs) to help them identify the right opportunities, analyze the risks, take charge of the overall portfolio and generate optimum returns on investment. IPCs bring to the table a potent combination of technical know-how and market insight across all verticals of real estate.

In India, IPCs help both domestic and MNC clients to formulate optimal real estate strategies in the Indian market, which functions within a complex and often confusing framework of policies and regulations. This, coupled with the fact that they are hard-wired into the global market and operate from a standpoint of uncompromising ethics, is the value proposition offered by IPCs in India.

In a market like India, the role that IPCs play as transaction advisors and portfolio partners magnifies significantly because there is a massive amount of growth happening over a very vast arena. Their service offerings include office and residential brokerage, research, portfolio management, project management, property and facilities management as well as Capital Markets.

IPCs also have deep capabilities to effectively execute disposition of surplus or distressed real estate assets, meet the requirements of HNIs with specific investment requirements and catalyse debt funding for developers. In addition, IPCs provide strategic business consulting for domestic clients and are invariably the default service providers for large Government real estate requirements.

Compared to more developed countries, the Indian real estate sector is less organized. However, it is again the cynosure of international investments thanks to the improving policy scenario for investments via FDI. This has naturally brought on the need for a global approach to local real estate, not least of all in terms of better information resources, the kind of business transparency that international investors expect and the ability to decipher information asymmetry via empirical investment research.

There are many ways of operating in Indian real estate, but global investors expect much more than knee-jerk reactions to currently existing market trends. They require their real estate advisors in India to provide and act upon insights based on a learned understanding of the market and advanced capabilities in anticipating possibilities.

IPCs in India provide this kind of knowledge, further backed by hands-on, practical experience in the Indian market. In fact, the role that IPCs play in a market like India magnifies significantly because of the massive amount of growth happening over a very vast arena.

New marketing avenues for real estate developers: Reducing inventory, building a brand—I

Posted on by Track2Realty

By: Shajai Jacob, Director & Head – Marketing & Communications, JLL India

- india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india,Head- marketing & communication, Jones Lnag LaSalle India,Shajai-Jacob , india news, property news, real estate news, India Property, Delhi NCR real estate, Track2Media, Track2Realty, Track2InfraTrack2Realty: Even as the Indian real estate market shifts into the second gear of recovery, developers whose operations had slowed down during the lull are still faced with multiple concerns. On the one hand, the very basis of their business is the launching of new projects (the only function that really defines a developer’s viability as a going concern on the real estate market). On the other hand, it is vital for them to clear piled-up inventory in order to generate capital and enable clearances for new projects.

Clearing unsold inventory is also extremely important from the point of view of retaining existing customers, as real estate investors show a high propensity for exiting projects which are not clocking up healthy sales. By all standards, many developers find themselves in an unenviable situation at a time when the market is headed into boom mode after a prolonged slowdown.

  •  The causes of unsold inventory

When any business does not function efficiently, one of the most visible results of this inefficiency is lack of customers. In the services industry, this will be visible in reduced interest in the services offered, and little revenue-generating work on hand. In the case of product-oriented companies (such as real estate development firms), the evidence lies most visibly in piled-up inventory. Excess inventory happens when a company is left holding more of its products than the market is willing to absorb.

  • What unsold inventory implies

Naturally, the visible evidence of excess inventory is regarded as bad for any business. It signals that the products are, for one reason or the other, not selling. In the case of Indian real estate, a very common misconception among buyers, investors and industry watchers is that developers saddled with a lot of unsold inventory are ‘paying the price’ of over-pricing their products. The assumption that follows is that reducing prices will catalyse sales.

In actual fact, this argument can fail to hold water. Many times, other developers’ projects within the same price band, location and category are selling at a much better rate. The fact that some developers simply have better marketing strategies than others is either not perceived or not well understood. If a developer himself lacks insight on why his stock not selling despite good price points and the right location and specifications, it can have serious consequences.

Developers looking at piled-up, non-moving inventory may panic and make counter-productive decisions. A futile blame game ensues if the developer views the unsold inventory as evidence that his sales and marketing team is not performing optimally. While there can be a grain of truth to this, it is also true that sales and marketing teams are only as good as the strategy that guides them.

If a developer has invested heavily into a flawed or incomplete marketing strategy, he is too close to the problem to see it for what it is. Insight is further clouded if a particular marketing strategy worked well in the past, should logically continue to work now but is no longer cutting it. 

Real estate marketing: A constantly evolving concept

For a real estate marketing plan to succeed in today’s highly competitive environment, there are myriad factors that come into play. More marketing activities than ever before need to be deployed, and these new activities require specialized know-how and specifically trained and qualified manpower. Real estate is a product industry in which the rules of the game have changed drastically over the past decade, and will continue to change.

Today, maximizing engagement with the target market is everything. For a project launch to succeed, a developer’s clients need to have top-of-mind recall for his brand and his product. In the past, the resources available to a developer were limited to print advertisements, radio jingles, hoardings, word-of-mouth promotion and, of course, brokers. Today, clients need to be wooed across a much wider spectrum.

  • Social media presence

Not to put too fine a point to it, a developer who does not have a well-defined social media strategy today is a dinosaur doomed to extinction. Neither long-standing reputation nor excellent track record will help if these elements are not reflected online across multiple channels.

Today, approximately 243 million Indians spend a significant part of their lives online, and use the Internet to access and receive information of every kind. With the advent of e-papers, news portals and blogs, the manner in which information about anything travels has changed both in terms of direction and speed.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter may have started off as mere social networking media, but today the power they wield in the world of business is beyond dispute. Companies of every stripe and description are investing massively into making their presence felt on these and other online platforms. It is literally a battle to stay relevant in a world that does not acknowledge the existence of anything anymore if it cannot be found online.

  • Staying ahead of real estate portals

While the practice of maintaining well-crafted, informative and responsive websites has been a norm in the more developed countries for over two decades, Indian developers have only woken up to the need for this all-important calling card over the last 6-7 years. In this relatively short period, aggregator sites specialized in real estate deals and offerings have carved themselves the largest share of the online pie by investing exhaustively in search engine optimization and highly professional social media outreach.

The proliferation of these portals certainly spells good news for end users, because it gives them a more detailed oversight of what the market is offering than ever before. However, it is a different story for individual developers. The uniquely democratic business model on which property portals thrive hinges on showcasing as many projects and properties as possible. While developers can (and do) pay for higher ranking within this avalanche of options, the scope for focused branding and project-specific marketing on these projects is very limited.

 Today, forging a distinct and prominent online identity is very essential long-term function for developers; but more importantly, an effective online strategy plays a critical role in the success of a specific project launch. In today’s market scenario, developers who lack a well-defined online marketing strategy invariably find their projects selling at a far slower rate than their competitors.

 Vital ingredients of online visibility for real estate developers

  •  Dynamic website: It is definitely essential to have a good company website which provides oversight of the firm’s projects. However, the ‘fill-it-and forget-it’ approach no longer works – websites need to be user-friendly, informative and kept dynamic with regular optimization and updated content. A static website with no fresh activity to attract traffic is driven off the charts by competing websites, portals and other platforms
  •  High social media clout: Good Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn presence with impressive and focussed followers is of prime importance, from a standpoint of visibility and branding as well as in terms of having a ready base of potential customers to address
  •  Engaging company blog:  Blogs are an important tool in reputation management, and are different from websites by virtue of the fact that they speak to potential customers on a less formal and more interactive and informative level. On a company blog, a real estate developer can offer insightful commentary on the market and thus elevate the firm’s status beyond that of a mere product dealership. A company blog which is regularly updated with interesting information attracts high search rankings online. Importantly, content on a company blog must at all times find the perfect balance between useful information and overt promotion.

 Coming in New Marketing Avenues: Reducing Inventory, Building A Brand (Part 2):

  • Troubleshooting – Fixing a faulty real estate marketing plan
  • The new public relations deal - Traditional Vs. Contemporary PR
  • Client engagement - Ditching The Monologue And Starting A Conversation With Customers

Do freebies work in selling property?

Posted on by Track2Realty

By: Shajai Jacob, Head – Marketing, Jones Lang LaSalle India

- india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india,Head- marketing & communication, Jones Lnag LaSalle India,Shajai-Jacob , india news, property news, real estate news, India Property, Delhi NCR real estate, Track2Media, Track2Realty, Track2InfraTrack2Realty: The type of marketing strategies that Indian developers employ to sell their products in a tough market may often seem strange to property marketers in other countries. Nevertheless, these marketing strategies are based on a deep understanding of their target clienteles, which are as variegated as the Indian real estate market itself. In India, the aspirational quotient cannot be under-estimated and can often be capitalized upon. Certain add-on offerings – or ‘freebies’ – often appear to have no logical connection to the actual considerations property buyers would have. However, they in fact address well-researched ‘points of attraction’ within their targeted customer base.

This dynamic is especially true in the case of the noveau riche class of buyers, but can apply equally to customers coming from established wealth. In India as in most other countries, a plush foreign car is a valid external manifestation of the level of ‘arrivedness’ that a buyer of a luxury home wishes to portray in the first place. Likewise, gold is a highly accepted and coveted asset of appreciation that appeals directly to the Indian senses. Foreign travel still maintains sufficient glamor to attract attention as a value-added offering packaged into a property deal.

Often, such offerings meet with a level of success that foreign market analysts are challenged to explain. This is because they are pertinent to a highly individualistic national psyche, and are usually played out at times of the year when the country’s property buying sentiments are at their traditional peak.

Not all of these incentives hit the mark, because not every type of buyer can be tempted with ‘freebies’. The Indian middle-class is a highly price-sensitive one, and the current buzzword in this market segment is ‘correction’. These buyers, who are on the market for homes costing between Rs. 35-75 lakh, have an eagle eye on the final bottom line and have been primed for a possible reduction in prices. In fact, such a reduction has been long awaited in the primary cities.

Given the high demand for mid-income homes in cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Delhi-NCR, whether such a correction will come at all is a big question mark. In most cases, developers have the financial wherewithal to stay firm on their official market prices. They see little sense in marking down their price tags and possibly signalling what, from the buyers’ perspective, is a long overdue correction.

The alternative strategy is often to announce incentives. However, because the base pricing of the units in these projects reduces their margins, these incentives tend to be far from extravagant. For instance, a hi-fi sound system or a microwave oven as an inducement to buy a 2 BHK in the suburbs of Mumbai is unlikely to work for a budget-conscious buyer who is more concerned with how much the EMIs will impact the family budget. Freebies only work in the mid-income housing segment if they actually add value to the property or lighten the financial burden on the buyer in some way.

Conversely, the marketing tactic of offering lifestyle-oriented freebies is often quite effective when it comes to high-end premium homes. Thanks to the considerably higher base price and the proportionately better purchasing power of the target clientele, developers can afford to raise the ante on the add-on offerings. In cases where there are two or more luxury home projects of more or less equal attractiveness in a single location, these freebies can become very decisive differentiators. High networth buyers evaluating all available options often respond to the cake with better icing, given that they intend to buy one cake or the other anyway.

Real estate marketing tips for smaller developers

Posted on by Track2Realty

By: Shajai Jacob, Head – Marketing, Jones Lang LaSalle India

- india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india,Head- marketing & communication, Jones Lnag LaSalle India,Shajai-Jacob , india news, property news, real estate news, India Property, Delhi NCR real estate,Despite the market slowdown and high competitiveness among the ‘Big Boys’ in the Indian residential real estate business, smaller builders of residential projects can still corner a healthy market share. It is all a matter of knowing which league to play in, and how to play.

For starters, such developers should build at the best location within their means. Often, smaller builders do not have the luxury of picking and choosing locations for their projects. When they are stuck with a less-than-optimum location, they can compensate by making their project a landmark in the area. This means beefing up its saleability with better amenities and sweetening the deal with competitive rates. If one cannot get into Big League, one can still strive to be the best in Little League. Buyers always look for the best available in every budget range.

Brand Clout

It is difficult to compete with high profile ‘brand’ names. Without a doubt, a developer derives numerous advantages from his brand name and brand image. He is automatically clubbed among the most reputable professionals in the field, wields greater clout with financial institutions, and can attach higher rates to his residential projects. However, a brand name does not come from nowhere – a reputed developer’s projects sell well on the basis of reliable construction, imaginative design, the provision of desirable amenities, good project locations and honesty in dealings.

In the light of this, a smaller developer should focus on incorporating into his projects as many elements of the brand formula without getting fixated on building an ‘brand’. It should be borne in mind that in the residential real estate arena, a developer’s image is often based on how well his projects sell. To begin with, that should be the primary focus.

Rather than aiming to take on the Big Boys on their own turf, a smaller developer can build an image that stands for good quality at competitive rates. Initially, this may mean offering lower rates on first projects rather than losing customers. It may mean agreeing to payment terms that are more oriented to the customer’s convenience than those of the builder.

While established developers have an advantage with selling their projects, a smaller, new developer can beat the odds even if his project shares the same locality with that of a major name. He can do so by offering a degree of service that most other builders would not even consider rendering. This might mean cutting down on the time it takes to complete legal formalities of a purchase and offering innovative payment schemes.

 Creative Pricing Strategies

 Innovative financial structuring schemes are tailored to suit the needs of clients, and are a valid and effective method of adding real value in a changing world of residential property market dynamics. Some of the schemes that have worked well in the past are:

  • Offering buyers the option of renting a flat at a minimum monthly rent, along with a specified deposit and a three-year lock-in period, with the option of buying the rented flat at a later date. If the purchase happens, the payments made are then treated as down-payments. This allows the flat’s occupier to either continue on a rental basis or to buy a flat they have grown familiar with at a date when the rates would conceivably have sunk to more rational levels.
  • Taking a down payment on under-constructions flats in the builder’s on-going projects and offering to pay back the difference in the current and future market rates should the market correct at a later stage.
  • Offering to shoulder part of the interest rate on the buyer’s home loan for a year, subject to a lock-in period of three years.

Such innovative financial structuring offers have proved effective in encouraging the absorption of existing ready inventory and increasing bookings in under-construction projects.

The Personal Touch

On a more general note, a smaller developer benefits considerably by extending a personal touch. Rather than delegating inquiries to underlings, he can personally take telephone calls, use his personal email ID to answer mail and take time off to explain some of the technicalities of the property market to prospective customers. Buyers respond very favourably to such personal attention by a developer.

There is no sure-fire, catchall modus operandi as far as success on the residential real estate market is concerned. It might work that way some of the time, but not always. Special situations call for special measures. In every critical marketing situation, the solution lies in ‘lateral thinking’ – taking a chance with uniquely different approaches.

Professional Marketing

When no formulas of promotion and sale prove effective, professional real estate consultants can turn around the fortunes of smaller developers by virtue of creative and innovative ideas. Once the concept of ‘thinking out of the box’ is understood, effective ideas to tackle most market contingencies can be conceived and implemented – often with dramatic results.

The basics of real-time real estate marketing

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Shajai Jacob, Head – Marketing & Communication, Jones Lang LaSalle India

- india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india,Head- marketing & communication, Jones Lnag LaSalle India,Shajai-Jacob , india news, property news, real estate news, India Property, Delhi NCR real estate,In the environment of cut-throat competition which exists in the Indian real estate market today, developers without a forward-looking marketing plan for their projects often lose out. Wherever one looks in the larger cities, commercial and residential property projects with dozens of unsold and un-leased units are evident.

One tends to assume that this state of affairs comes from a lopsided demand-supply scenario. While this is largely true, some of it can be attributed to skewed marketing, as well. Some interesting – if disheartening – real estate marketing insights:

Many newly-launched real estate projects in good locations are losing out on sales because of faulty marketing vision

Coming from an exaggerated perception of the demand for trendy new concepts (‘lifestyle quotient’, ‘green living’, ‘smart workplaces’) the advertising agencies of such developers have hyped these projects off the market. Confronted with the highbrow amenities and specifications featured on hoardings, banners and advertisements, potential buyers often assume that the project is clearly beyond their means. This ‘marketing disconnect’ seems to happen quite frequently in our larger cities, for either or both of two reasons:

1.     These developers have not fathomed what marketing touch points will work with their target clientele.

2.     The creative agencies retained for the marketing of these projects have not been able to fathom the developer’s vision, resulting in a fatal Chinese Whisper syndrome.

In both cases, sales and leases take an ‘inexplicable’ and terminal beating.

  • An erroneous assumption that long-standing market reputation alone will ensure sales

This fallacy, based on an obsolete truth of the Indian real estate sector’s boom periods, has caused a number of very respectable real estate banners of yesteryears to hang limp in the winds of change that are blowing today.

During the boom time of 2007-’08, a developer’s brand was often sufficient to ensure property sales and leases. The market back then was largely driven by speculators who had very little insight into the true nature of real estate. For these players, a developer’s brand was often the only yardstick, and apartments and offices in newly launched projects were snapped up on that basis alone.

Today, even end-users and occupiers know exactly what they want from the spaces they buy and lease. They will patronize a project because it gives them what they want within their budgets – not because the developer has a long-standing brand.  In short, players who fail to adopt real-time marketing strategies for their projects are falling by the wayside.

  • Developers tend to believe that real estate marketing can be safely entrusted to an advertising company

Because they cater to a wide band of business genres and product categories, generic advertising agencies lack the capabilities to deliver effective real estate marketing plans. In fact, most agencies tend to use a standard ‘cookie cutter’ methodology to address real estate marketing needs. In other words, they use large-format press ads, larger-than-life hoardings, radio jingles and kiosks without much thought to customization.

Today, real estate marketing is clearly a domain for real estate experts who are deeply involved in and informed about the Indian real estate market.


In many instances, revitalizing a developer’s marketing strategy has required us to scrap the previous plan altogether. It is not uncommon to find a developer’s balance sheet burdened down by exorbitant promotion spends that are yielding zero results. A professional real estate marketing approach requires research-based insights into market demand, micro and macro-economic market influences and the study of historic sales graphs of a particular project typology in a given location. These insights can give an accurate and predictive road map of what the market wants now and will want in the future.

This kind of approach is extremely important from the standpoint that marketing of a project invariably begins much before construction begins. It is imperative to have a marketing plan which factors in real-time demand drivers as well as those that will prevail when the project nears completion.

In short, real-time real estate marketing consists of:

  • Studying every facet of the project
  • Juxtaposing it against prevalent and future market requirements
  • Developing accurately targeted promotion collaterals and advertisements
  • Allocating marketing funds in a highly focused, result-oriented manner

Interestingly, such an approach can often result in a 25% decrease in marketing spend and yield with a 20-30% increase in market response.