Real-estate Ltd is a real estate company, which has been operating on the North Carolina market, over the past ten years. However, with the growing reach of the internet in the United States and across the world, the company would like to tap into the potential of the internet, by availing its products online. Consequently, Real-estate Ltd has designed, is testing and will soon launch iRealestate.com. This is an electronic commerce website, which will be used to extend the reach of the company not only in North Carolina, but in other parts of the United States. This marketing plan presents a systematic approach to successfully introduce iRealestate.com in the market, and it includes a detailed situational analysis, product description and the marketing strategies to be used. These are set against specific deadlines, to be used in the appraisal of the progress made, coupled with the identification of remedial actions to ensure that the goals of the plan are met, by the close of the six and twelve months respectively.
The United States has one of the world’s biggest internet users in the world, with upwards of 255 million people, served by as many as 498 million internet hosts. This makes it’s the second only to China, with the highest per capita internet population in the world. In addition, to the internet, the country does also have well established communication infrastructure, with a huge fiber optic cable system, coaxial cable, microwave radio relay as well as domestic satellites, which carry huge telephone traffics from the quickly growing mobile phone systems and users. In addition, to this, the United States has a multiple undersea cable systems to ensure efficient connectivity to the rest of the world. The huge internet users population, and the massive expansion potential that it holds presents an equally lucrative opportunity for the real estate companies, which have traditionally operated offline. iRealestate will seek to target a growing population of internet users who are interested in purchasing, renting, selling, offering their own houses for renting and even those who are interested in exchanging houses. Real-estate Ltd has for more than ten years been providing offline services to its clients despite the intense competition, but with the growing online community, customers can easily access the available houses through videos, pictures and descriptions, without leaving the comfort of their own offices and homes, making this service an important tool to both the existing and new clientele.
The target clients would be the low and middle-income population groups, who are in need of houses for temporary or permanent basis, mostly because this age groups are computer and internet savvy and are less grounded compared to older population groups that are usually attached to their families. This is not least because a considerable number of this population group are newly graduating from colleges and moving out of their parents’ homes, creating potentially lucrative prospects. In addition, the service would be targeted at individuals, groups and companies that want access financing and other home related services including banking/financial institutions that offer loans and other products, interior decorators, materials suppliers, constructors and the ultimate customers. The website will seek to bring these agents together in return for a slight fee, and even most crucially, to draw clients to other products that have traditionally been offered by the mother company, Real-estate Ltd. The internet will avail the company’s products across the world, but since the company is based in North Carolina, and it will continue to target clients seeking or selling houses within the state.
The major technology required for iRealestate to take off is a well-designed and secure website, with perfect navigate-ability, search capabilities, interactivity and other attributes. The website was designed by a leading software development firm will soon be operational. In addition, the website must ably handle online payments
Building on the initial Real-estate clientele
A ten year experience in the real estate market
Low operational costs
Easy product extension in the future
A huge online population in the United States
Problems establishing an online presence as a new comer
A huge home speculation market
High turnover of rental houses
Large tourist communities in search of easy accommodation
Potential of hacking attacks reduces customer confidence
Intense online competition
Low entry barriers
Tight initial budgetary targets
Real-estate Ltd has been the North Carolina real estate market over the past ten years over the past ten years, and can easily leverage the experience. Real estate is a unique industry, not least because without a huge a capital base, firms must built resources over a long period of time, which at once presents entry barriers for new firms, while at once giving iRealestate a great advantage with a wealth of experienced players in the industry. In addition, the website administration and running costs are relatively lower than the traditional office-based operations. There office cost and human capital costs are multiply reduced, allowing (i) higher profit margins and (ii) lower prices. Further, given the fact that the internet is available across the world, coupled with the strong internet-using population in the US, there is a greater market accessible this way, allowing Real-estate Ltd to tap into a growing global community of tourists, business people and other populations that require houses, without the usual costs.
As a new comer on the online market, iRealestate.com faces difficulties establishing a presence on the market. This requires high initial expenditures on per click advertising, search engine optimization and other forms of marketing, which will remain a considerable challenge overtime.
There are increasing prospects for people who want to rent out their homes for a short period for holiday-makers in North Carolina. In addition, new markets traditionally exist among first home seekers leaving colleges and their family homes, who seek new prospects in the state and elsewhere. iRealestate.com would seek to provide easy alternatives to enter and leave the real estate market without the stressful searching costs that are traditionally associated with the industry. In addition, provision of valuable information on the state of the market and the market conditions and options, reports and specialist reports to facilitate informed decisions.
Electronic commerce websites suffer from a growing threat of hackers, which despite the varied security innovations, has not been completely ruled out. Data storage and transmission over networks relies on protocols such as HTTP and data encryption, which have exploitable vulnerabilities, which have in the past been used to steal or compromise confidential data and information. This heavily impacts customer confidence, especially since financial and personal information are highly sensitive. In addition, the low running costs ensure that the barriers of entry to the online real estate market remain low, which threatens the long term profitability of iRealestate.com, without significant product differentiation and attainment of scale economies in the initial years of operation. Intense competition on the offline and online markets already exists, which makes iRealestate.com’s initial budgetary constraints a massive challenge for the success of the company.
The already established real estate companies in North Carolina and elsewhere in the United States present the stiffest competition to iRealestate.com. Then most notable competition products in North Carolina include Realtor.com, Bestcarolinahousing.com, hpw.com. charlottegayrealtors.com and Coastalcarolineproperties.com among others. These services are already established in the market, and like iRealestate, they were extensions of their mother companies already existent products. In addition, the market in the United States and the rest of the world has become hugely fragmented, with varied players, with better prospects to succeed. Major Banks and financial institutions in the state have mortgage divisions, which double up as real estate companies, with an additional advantage of access to immense credit. With the emergence of bond markets, financial institutions have gained access to unlimited resources to challenge the traditional real estate companies. Other independent players in the industry exist, including agents, homeowners and property owners, who handle their own properties.
(i) To attain website traffic of more than 1000 people per month by the close of the first twelve months of the website launch. Generating a sizeable traffic is critical for the realization of other business and marketing objectives, and as such, it is important for resources and efforts to be directed towards this.
(ii) To reach at least $75,000 in sales by the close of the initial six months of the website launch
(iii) To generate at least $20,000 in advertising and endorsement revenues by the close of the first twelve months
(iv) To establish itself as the website of choice for medium and low income homes in North Carolina by the close of the initial three years of operation
The website has been designed by one of the leading software developers in North Carolina, with utmost consideration for the security of the site. To boost this, SSL certificates and other encryption technologies have been built into the site to ensure that data capture, storage and transmission are as safe as is technologically possible. In addition, the developers have built and are adequately testing navigate-ability, search engine optimization, low loading time and simple address among other properties. This will ultimately ensure that the website gets an edge and competes well with the existing brands on the online market, both at present and also in the future.
The iRealestate.com would be available over the internet, effectively reaching the global population. However, marketing campaigns will only target the North Carolina market in order to avoid unnecessary expenditure on an unrealizable market. Online advertising including Google Adsense and other advertisers charge according to the filtered target audiences and the estimated size of the audience, effectively making poor targeting extremely costly.
Promotion of the website would be contacted through a variety of means, including leaflets which be distributed in varied parts of North Carolina’s urban areas. In addition, outdoor advertising would be used including posters, billboards and even sponsorship deals will be employed to help promote the site. In addition, promotionary discount codes would be posted on the website, which ca n subsequently be used by iRealestate’s customers to access Real-estate Ltd’s products at a discount. Others would include games to promote consumer loyalty. In order to facilitate the initial promotion efforts, the iRealestate.com will employ the contacts database that has been accumulated by Real-estate Ltd to contact the existing clients and potential clients about the website and the prospects that it holds at present and in the future.
Direct advertising will also be used, through the use of per click advertising sites including Google Adsense, Facebook and Twitter, in order to generate immediate, measureable traffic to the site. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking sites also provide a wealth of promotion potential, with the rising influence of social media across the world. Effectively, iRealestate.com will set up web pages on varied social networking sites in a bid to built loyal customer base.
The services offered through the website will come at a 25% less than the regular prices that usually offered by the company. The reduced prices are not only for promotion purposes, but also as a consequence of reduced operational costs, which will allow lower prices without a considerable effect on the profitability of the company.
Appointment of Qualified Staff
Measure the Project deliverables
Determine the Shortfalls
The most important part of this marketing strategy is the development of a quality product that would not only compete well against the existing products, but crucial, thrive in the face of future competition. Effectively, the Real-estate staff and management have been closely involved in the design and testing of the website prior to its launch. Secondly, the appointment of the staff to run the website will come before the official launch of the website. The official launch, will be followed by a spate of advertising events and activities as indicated in the Gnatt Chart above. The fifth and sixth months after the launch, will be used to appraise the performance of the website in relation to the marketing and business objectives.
The targets set in the marketing strategy will be assessed by the close of every month, until the sixth month, in order to ensure that the targets are consistently attained. Shortcomings will be analyzed, coupled with the introduction of remedial actions, in order to make certain that the goals set are attained by the close of the first sixth and twelve months respectively.
Andreasen, A. R., & Kotler, P. (2003). Strategic marketing for nonprofit organizations. Los Angeles: Prentice Hall.
Egan, J. (2008). Relationship Marketing: Exploring Relational Strategies in Marketing. London: Financial Times Prentice Hall.
Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Saunders, J., & Wong, V. (1999). Principles of Marketing" 2nd ed. London: Prentice Hall Europe.
Merz, M., He, Y., & Alden, D. (2008). A categorization approach to analyzing the global consumer CUlture Debate. International Marketing Review Vol. 25 No. 2, 2008 , 166-182.
Simon, C. J., & Sullivan, M. (2003). The Measurement and Determinants of Brand Equity: A Financial Approach. Marketing Science , vol. 12 no. 1 28-52 .
Sorce, P. (2002). Relationship Marketing Strategy. New York: Alfred Sloan Foundation Center.
Story, M., & French, S. (2004). Food Advertising and Marketing Directed at Children and Adolescents in the US. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity , 1:3.