Paving the way for digitisation in real estate

Experts feel that while there's no better medium than online to measure one's investments, online marketing & promotion can't work in isolation for the real estate sector

e4m by Satyavir Singh
Updated: Aug 3, 2013 10:08 AM
Paving the way for digitisation in real estate

In a first-of-its-kind event in real estate industry, India Chapter of International Advertising Association (IAA) held an industry specific knowledge seminar on digital media in realty sector in Mumbai on August 2, 2013. Titled ‘Real Estate in a Digitised World’, the internationally aligned seminar aimed to address the need for developers to exploit the online medium to enhance branding and marketing of their companies. “It gives me great pleasure that this knowledge seminar will help the developers to leverage the new world medium of digital and social media in this fast-changing business environment,” said Jaideep Gandhi, Chairman Real Estate Events & Hony Treasurer, IAA India Chapter.

Professionals from the real estate sector gathered in large numbers to listen to prominent speakers representing leading international companies in digital and social media. The speakers included Tushar Vyas, Managing Partner, South Asia, GroupM; Nitin Bawankule, Industry Director, Google India; Barry Shwarz, Creative Director & Co-Founder, Addikt Design Movement; and Zia Patel, Head of Strategy-India & Dubai, Wolff Olins.

Tushar Vyas spoke about how online community is growing rapidly in India, while sharing few vital statistics on the trend. “The growth of online medium has been massively fuelled by mobile phone revolution in India. Video consumption on mobile phones is growing at a staggering pace of 100 per cent on year-on-year basis,” informed Vyas.

Bawankule from Google India shared few interesting data, which categorically established the growing significance of online medium in real estate. He informed that online enquiries for properties are growing at 40 per cent annually and 6 million users are doing online research on the sector. While talking the scientific nature of online medium, he said, “There is no better medium better than online to measure your investments.”

Schwarz from Netherlands-based design company Addikt enlightened the audience by introducing international concepts and technologies that are being employed by developers in the West nowadays. “Augmented reality can be a great tool for developers to showcase their properties to prospective homebuyers,” said Schwarz.

The seminar also saw a panel discussion on “Performance Marketing: Generating & Managing Leads”. The session had noted speakers such as Bharat Dhuppar, Chief Marketing Officer, Omkar Realtors & Developers; Vinod Tadani, Chief Operating Officer, Madhouse; Sudhir Pai, Business Head, and Girish Nair, Chief Executive Officer, netCORE. Neville Taraporewalla of Microsoft moderated the session.

Dhuppar from Omkar Realtors opined that despite being a very effective medium, digital alone cannot help sell conversions. “Unlike other sectors, customers cannot alter their choice after consumption. So, it’s very unlikely that anyone will ever make a Rs 1 crore worth decision based on online information about the product,” explained Dhuppar. Other panelists also agreed on the argument that online marketing and promotion can’t work in isolation, and it rather needs other mediums and a holistic approach.

The last leg of the day-long session ended with a presentation by Zia Patel of Wolf Olins, where she spoke about how real estate marketing in India is different from that of other parts in the world. According to Patel, marketing campaigns should focus on life and not on aspirations and luxury, as housing supply is way short of demand.

The Guests of Honour for the day were Pradeep Guha, Area Director and Vice President Asia Pacific, IAA; Niranjan Hiranandani, Managing Director, Hiranandani Constructions and Australian cricketer Steve Waugh. Srinivasan Swamy, Vice President Development - Asia-Pacific region & President, IAA India Chapter shared the sentiment that the Indian real estate industry would now have grasped the global trends in digital, and hoped these would be applied for better marketing solutions.

Guha told the delegates that it’s crucial for a brand to maintain its reputation online and keep the customers engaged. Hiranandani cautioned the developer fraternity that the players who fail to adapt to technological changes will be wiped out from the market in a few years. “Digital medium will not only help in homebuying, but also play an important role in real estate funding and home financing in future. This is the biggest change we are going to witness in the next five years, as far as new media is concerned in real estate.”

The seminar was attended by delegates from Hiranandani Constructions, Lokhandwala Infrastructure, Rustomjee, Marathon Realty, Wadhwa Group, Raheja Developers, Kalpataru Builders, Nahar Group, Ajmera Group, Sheth Creators, House of Hiranandani, Kanakia Spaces, and other leading real estate firms. 

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