If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how critical it is to move contingency planning up our agenda. The ‘what if’ has become a reality. Business continuity is a must for all departments and it’s critical to build this into any sales pipeline or marketing strategy. It’s therefore business critical that you use the autumn to review and reset.
We’re hoping there’s no repeat of Covid-19 but we can’t afford to leave it to luck. When setting sales targets, consider different levels for different scenarios and build a plan for each. The same with any marketing strategy – there needs to be worst as well as best case scenario.
Using data to inform planning
Budget and forecasting for the next 12 months will be guided by industry data combined with your own information from your sales teams and in-house or external marketing teams to provide all the data you need at the outset on previous and current year performances/KPIs.
It’s been a far from ‘normal’ year so more important than ever to use data, rather than guess work, to help you envisage what success or failure will look like over the next 12 months.
Review pricing structures
Property prices remain relatively strong but also ambiguous across the sector as supply and demand fluctuates in specific areas of the country. Coupled with this is your prospective purchasers’ mixed attitude to moving post pandemic.
Revisit your market, per location, and review and reset pricing; if you are selling off plan be sure to keep a sense of urgency with the initial sales release, buyers breed buyers! An agile pricing structure is crucial to maintaining a healthy pipeline, and being realistic about target setting right now has never been as important.
As highlighted in the St Monica Trust/Housing LIN RE-COV study report, prospective purchasers’ needs and requirements have been influenced by the pandemic experience – digital connectivity in the home and more community engagement and social networks in the wider local environment have moved up the priority list for many.
And, if you’re researching new projects, or revisiting existing development proposals, ensure the emphasis is right for this new blend of prospects. Ensure this also transcends more heavily through all your sales promotions and marketing messaging. Even your brand might need a little fine-tuning if it’s out of sync with current thinking.
When it comes to your marketing, if you haven’t already, make your 2022 plan even more digital based. The audience is becoming more digital savvy with every year, and this has catapulted further during the pandemic.
You can’t afford to switch off your traditional print activity entirely, but it can be markedly trimmed back as more and more of your audience jumps into the online space and is comfortable to receive electronic communication. There’s an opportunity to potentially save budget here, not least because of the ability to measure ROI much more accurately with digital delivery.
Staff reboot and re-energise
It’s been a tough time inside the organisation as well as outside. Is the resource you began with still the same or, having lost one or two personnel, do you need to rethink the structure and dynamics? Change for the better is a positive, as is reviewing personal development plans and investing time with your teams following such a disruptive couple of years.
Staff engagement is key and will play a fundamental part in your success during 2022 – ‘happy staff, happy residents’ has always been my motto over the years. As the jobs market opens up again, opportunities for different working models, particularly working from home, will become an important consideration for many people so it’s crucial you stay close to your team and understand their motivations and how you can support them, and ensure you retain your best assets.
Taking nothing for granted
2022 promises much – and certainly much more than the previous two years (subject to no further pandemic situations). What we’ve all learned about ourselves, personally as well as professionally, is to take absolutely nothing for granted.
Applying this to work, your sales and marketing planning for 2022 needs to be robust yet flexible, covering all possible eventualities and possible outcomes; plans should be agile, able to adapt and flexible enough to keep you on track, whatever your targets. It may feel an enormous challenge this autumn and possibly a little overkill but, rest assured, once in place, you’ll approach 2022 looking ahead and working well in advance, rather than panicking or playing catch-up.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and target-busting 2022 and good luck with your planning for it!
Sarah Burgess began advising one of the industry’s pioneers, Retirement Villages Groups Ltd, back in 2001. In 2006 she became the Group Sales and Marketing Director, helping grow the brand from four to 16 villages.
And, if you found this blog of interest, you can also read a range of other resources on marketing and extra care housing/retirement living on the Housing LIN’s dedicated webpages.
Lastly, if you would like to find out more about how the Housing LIN can provide you with bespoke support, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org