We are the FMCG of the real estate industry: Amit Wadhwani, MD, Sai Estate Consultants

The MD of Sai Estate Consultants, Chembur, on their marketing strategy, adopting a carpet bombing approach, response to the Wajood app and why he now allocates maximum of his marketing spends on digital

e4m by Madhuwanti Saha
Updated: Aug 8, 2018 8:54 AM

Amit B Wadhwani, Managing Director, Sai Estate Consultants, Chembur, believes in carpet bombing approach to advertising especially for his latest campaign ‘Homes for All.’ The young MD is now changing the rules of marketing in the real estate category with his approach of operating on a weekly budget rather than a monthly one.
Wadhwani told e4m more about his carpet-bombing approach and why he prefers to spend maximum of his marketing budget on digital. Excerpts:

What's your marketing strategy for 2018?

We are the FMCG of the real estate industry as we constantly have to be on our toes where marketing strategies are concerned. We have a six-month window to sell complete inventory, hence our strategies are designed as per the tenure.
Our over-arching strategy is to tie-up with like-minded brands, real estate forums and media platforms to spread awareness. Our communication is simple, on point and fact proof. It is hard-hitting as it speaks the language that a common consumer wants to hear and understands. In our recent campaign when we say ‘Homes for All, we mean it. It clearly defines the marketing strategy that we follow.

Why did you opt for carpet bombing? How has it worked out for you?
Everything that we do is around ‘Homes for all.’ Hence to achieve it we have to reach each and every customer who is even just thinking of buying a home. So then we have to follow a carpet bombing format. It is easy to communicate with each of my TG. This strategy has helped us a lot in achieving our targets and meeting expectation of developers and clients.

Can you give us an idea of the marketing budget? How is the media split?
Typically the industry operates on 1-2 per cent or may be lower in some cases. In our case we do not have a restricted budget. As I mentioned earlier, we are the FMCG of the real estate industry, our budget is very dynamic. We do not operate on a monthly budget, but we have a weekly one and it is approximately four times higher than the budget of a premium developer. Earlier our media split was 80 per cent in offline media (print, hoardings, SMS, BTL, events, exhibitions) and online was only 20 per cent. Now we have completely changed the combination by going 80 per cent digital and rest is offline. Our target is to be the first and fully equipped digital marketing organisation and we are working towards it. I am sure we will be able to achieve the same in a couple of months.

Which medium plays a particularly important role in your marketing strategy?
In the current scenario, digital is the key to market online, and making people aware about the brand, starting off with a website and social media pages to keeping the audience updated and aware about the new and existing offers by the company.
Having said that, I cannot restrict myself to one single medium, since my TG is available and accessible across all medium. I really have to be present everywhere. So in totality it’s a combination of media mix that works for us. We constantly change our media and marketing mix to generate leads and further convert it into sales.

What are the marketing challenges in this industry?
The secondary real estate market has hit a slump, unlike the primary market. While the primary market is under RERA purview, the secondary market lacks any transparency or formalisation. The secondary market made up to 72 percent of the transactions while MMR sales formed 57 per cent. Many buyers prefer re-sale property as it is ready to move, thereby eliminating the risk of delay. The real estate and construction business inherently requires the investment of capital especially in Tier-I cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, which is magnified on account of the scarcity and high cost of land.
On top of everything we have a single window to communicate about multiple project of various price range and different demographics. Hence the challenge is to communicate in a proper way, balancing all the projects and their brand standards. Having everything in a single piece of communication is a challenge and we are trying to get close to it day by day. As there is no such model we are also learning from our experiments

You launched an app earlier. How has the response been?
Earlier we had launched a pilot version of Wajood app, and the response has been tremendous. There was lot of feedback from our channel partners as well as individual buyers. We have implemented all those valuable feedback and suggestions. Our new version is in the process and should be live in the next two-three months. The app will have ‘wajood’ (identity) for on individual and at the same time it will also give business to our channel partners. We are also in the process of upgrading our website and soon everyone will be able to see it in a new avatar.

The lull in the real estate sector has continued well into the first half of the year and unsold inventory in Mumbai has given rise to innovative offers for prospective homebuyers. What are your plans on that front?
Our rates have already been negotiated with the developer before we take up any project. So when the buyer comes to us for the property that he/she must have visited earlier, now he/she is able to get it at a much lower price than before. Hence usually we do not offer much of discounts on prices but, yes, we still offer whatever we can share with our buyers. Our standard offer to channel partners is four per cent brokerage and we do not charge brokerage from our customers.

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