IT and Telecoms: PGP recognises power of 'New Media' marketing
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The use of digital communication technology and channels - including the internet - is playing an ever-increasing role in the real estate industry, providing Gauteng consumers not only with the convenience of accessing properties on-line but also a wealth of vital information that enables them to make well-informed decisions when it comes to buying or selling property, says Anthony Stroebel, group marketing director of Pam Golding Properties.
"These new channels also provide powerful opportunities to develop valuable and personalised one-on-one communications with clients, thereby helping develop stronger relationships," he says.
"Consumers today - particularly in the current economic climate - are avidly absorbing as much information as they can in regard to the property market, whether they are buying or selling property or simply considering their options. And with a new and web-savvy economic base swiftly coming to the fore there's a major new sector of the population aspiring to own their first homes, and they are pro-actively gleaning as much information as they can regarding the property market.
"However, this in no way detracts from the importance of the personal interaction between agents and clients, nor the traditional mechanisms of property advertising, although it would be fair comment that print advertising is experiencing increasing pressure as a result of the opportunities offered by the world wide web. Our agents are highly trained and skilled in all aspects of the property market in which they operate - particularly regarding the negotiation process conducted on behalf of clients. And they play a key role by providing personal and professional service which affords clients a sense of comfort, knowing they are in good hands.
"Having said that, with rapid technological advances constantly taking place there's a growing increase in all forms of digital communication. The PGP website is a case in point and from being one of the first commercial websites to launch in South Africa, it currently sees approximately 190 000 visitors monthly - of which 90 000 are unique visitors - and over 2.5 million page views each month - and growing.
"Our lifestyle and investment newsletter, which provides current, relevant information across our full property services spectrum, including the latest property releases ad investment advice, is emailed to a database of over 80 000 subscribers, reflecting an increase of 100 percent over the past five years, indicative of consumers' growing appetite for property related information. In addition, Intellectual Property - or IP as it's commonly known and which is available in print or on-line, is one of our publications which serves to provide property investors with accessible information necessary for them to make informed buying and selling decisions," says Stroebel.
In capitalising on this growing trend towards digital media - via internet, mobile or email communication - PGP have appointed Cheridan Inglis as manager: New Media Communications. Inglis has over 17 years' experience in marketing, with the past eight spent in the global new media field and most recently, for four years she headed up global marketing for Thawte, Mark Shuttleworth's legendary company, working for the US company, VeriSign Inc. which purchased Thawte.
Comments Inglis: "Why the strong focus on new/digital media? Well for two consecutive years Google has been the biggest brand in the world* - bigger than Coca Cola and many other household brands that have been around for decades. It's also becoming increasingly less costly to connect on-line and today, almost five million South Africans are connected via the internet - with just over 70 percent of these falling into our desired target market of home buyer/seller in the age bracket from 25-49 years of age. This form of marketing is also extremely cost effective, resulting in direct leads, so it makes perfect sense for the group to maintain its leadership position by aggressively driving its new media offering - particularly in light of the forthcoming 2010 Soccer World Cup and increasing global exposure for and interest in South Africa.
"While consumers still want human interaction and the expertise that agents provide, when they're still visualising their dream home, gathering information about properties and getting to the point of making contact, there's little interaction with an agent - they're browsing for hours on the internet, looking at countless properties in various areas of Gauteng. As a result it's a logical move for us to tap into this process, providing all the digital tools for buyers, sellers, developers, landlords and tenants while they're in this phase, and simultaneously providing the broadest possible exposure for PGP and its clients' properties," she adds.
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