Rapid change and uncertainty: a catalyst for marketing adjustments
February 28, 2014 00:00 By Vittakarn Chandavimol
Uncertainty and change that occur with increasing frequency and impact over the years are constants of modern life, pervading every aspect of life from the economy to our personal well-being, news and communication channels.
The degree that these changes have a direct impact on our thoughts, feelings and values depends on each individual’s ability to filter and analyse the information, which will in turn have an effect on the speed and nature of their responses to these stimuli.
Working amid uncertainty and emerging crises requires marketers to develop a keen awareness and consciousness in observing changes over time, and the ability to link up disparate information to create new products and communicate effectively with consumers in the highly competitive market.
Although housing is one of the core life requirements, it is a highly priced asset for which buyers have to save their money or remain in debt for long periods of time in exchange for a home they will reside in for many years.
There are also many changes in consumer lifestyles to consider, such as the size of modern families, methods of commuting, and the time residents spend at home. These factors all play a direct role in determining how consumers absorb corporate communications, as well as creating demand for different types of housing.
When many people moved into condominiums during the floods, they discovered the convenience and high-level security of this new lifestyle, resulting in many people migrating to these vertical residences.
On the other hand, sales slumps for high-priced residences during periods of economic crisis or low liquidity result in paring back unnecessary amenities, cutting project costs and lowering prices as much as possible, without reducing quality – given the stiff competition.
The challenging process of reducing costs and adjusting product specifications requires marketers to manage the balance between brand promise and price. Most marketers are regarded as the party that increases product costs through their desire to offer good things to consumers in terms of their functionality and aesthetics, which usually leads to higher costs for the developer and higher product prices.
Compared to other products, residences have many components that require marketers to carefully assess which amenities should be added or removed to allow each project to be more competitively priced. Changing one’s perspective in order to develop the best products at a particular price point requires marketers to shift their way of thinking and managing priorities.
This process begins from observing and understanding their customers’ priorities when considering each residential project. The leading factors for most customers would be location and price. If these two factors are on a par with its competitors in the area, the project’s cost structure is fixed.
Therefore, marketers have to creatively add different elements to the project in order for it to stand out from its competitors.
These ideas will have to be devised while the market and economy is in flux. Thus, it is paramount that marketers have to constantly adapt and shift our thinking and seek new opportunities around us. Indeed, it is marketers that are able to seize and make the most of each tiny window of opportunity to ensure that their products emerge victorious.
Adapting and executing marketing plans that maximise each opportunity arises from ongoing observations and rolling out plans appropriate to each period. This relentless process is one of the greatest challenges, being fraught with risk as it requires marketers to exercise great accuracy to pinpoint the right projects.
We do so with experience, patience and confidence in being willing to wait for all the necessary information to be collected so we can clearly analyse consumers and competitors. Although this process is slower than that of our competitors, the thoroughness of our evaluation allows us to create products that exceed consumer expectations.
It is as Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, once famously stated in Businessweek on May 25, 1998: “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”