Direct From Your Next Client. Commercial Real Estate Marketing 101.

Direct From Your Next Client. Commercial Real Estate Marketing 101.

I have been involved in many conversations lately about marketing commercial real estate. What works best? What is the real target? How do we get to the “decision maker”? How do we “brand”? How do we differentiate? Great questions but I look at it a different way and I SIGH!

It is 2011 or is it really?

1. Open houses at lunchtime with food.

It’s not the building or the people or location that lures them in. It is the cheese crackers and finger sandwiches booze and candy with logos and ribbons.

2. The all important TOUR.

Walking through building after building looking at bare walls and plain bathrooms. Waiting and begging for it to end.

3. The slick glossy marketing department brochure/takeaway.

Pure blatant attempt at branding including logo map and broker contact info. That hits the trash as fast as possible.

4. Renderings.

The brokers idea of what they think the space should look like. With absolutely zero training in design or layout. Seeing hundreds of spaces should be enough qualification.

5. Gimmicks.

Cash prizes,free dinner give a ways,tickets to sporting logo swag,gas cards. All to possibly get an email contact and reason to “call back”.

6.”Creative” marketing.

That special money saving totally different idea that ties it to the building address. The only thing that makes it memorable is the broker and marketing person keep bringing it up because they created it and they remember it.

7. Snail mail.

The prospect is email blasted by so many brokers that the idea of snail mail makes it seem unique  but more likely desperate.

8. Marketing to brokers.

Advertising double commissions,showing bonuses,signing bonuses. The client/tenant knows you are desperate and they will end up paying more because you roll that cost onto them. Say that is not true? Convince the client/potential tenant of that.

9. No incentives.

The building owner has no money and still wants the potential tenant to participate. Everyone knows it. The incentives are? There is really only one incentive left. PRICE.

10.The above points in context.

Insert the words Time Share instead of commercial real estate. How sleazy does that make you feel?


Simple Suggestions.

1. Design and fit and several options for the space with a real designer.

2. Find a tenant and their rep stupid enough to fall back to 1995.

3. Pricing. It attracts and even in this day of reduced foot prints it is still number 1 on the priority list.

4. Video, renderings in 3-d. VISUALIZE and create options for the client/tenant.

5. If you must have a tour create stacking plans on I-pads. Hand them out and let them interact. Collect at the end and analyze.

6. Create single address web pages they are 24/7 marketing.

7. Do NOT look through the brokers eyes. Look through the clients eyes.

8.  The numbers never lie.

9. How is that space really facing the client?

10. They are humans not transactions.

And so….

It is not all tech it is surely not gimmicks and bullshit incentives. The stuff you read above came straight from conversations with actual clients/tenants. It is their point of view. What are your thoughts? Oh and the Time Share thing really hurt!


Image Credit:

Duke Long


  • Duke, we have to get you down from flying at 30,000 FT to 1,000 FT… That is where the action is. No one model works forever, but creativity and personal attention make the difference. Giving away tech prizes is not a game winner, but an attention grabber. Personal involvment and participation is the meat. Your brand matters as a landlord. It will win deals as companies want to do business with you. Think IBM, Google, Microsoft… why do people do business wih them? Are they the cheapest? Not necessarily. Price per pound is a flawed thought.

  • I like the idea of using the iPad! There is a free app I stumbled on, MagicPlan, that I have used to create floor plans for properties that did not have one drawn out. One other thing I have done was a city tour using Google Earth.
    I agree with you that if “Time Share” can be replaced, you may need to rethink it.