Appealing to customers’ brains

September 15, 2009 at 9:30 pm 1 comment

The company for which I do public relations, K. Hovnanian Homes, has launched an interesting marketing campaign, one that counts on customers thinking about things a little more deeply than, perhaps, we’ve counted on them doing before.

“Pounce Before The Bounce,” broke a couple of weeks ago on the Web and is breaking as print ads at different times, depending on the market. The release can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/mdpeod

K. Hovnanian figures people thinking about buying a home are keeping up with news about the housing market, waiting for the right moment to buy.  Those following the market would know that home sales seemed to be stabilizing until Wall Street tripped about a year ago. Traffic and sales dropped back down. But since January, buyers have been venturing back into sales offices and numbers have been rising again.  Whether those numbers are green chutes, false hope or true signs of a recovery, one thing is for sure: sales are back up.

The campaign focuses on three statistics: home sales (up); home prices (stable, maybe even rising…we hope) and interest rates (stable, trending slightly north).  My responsibility covers seven markets…that meant seven releases, localizing seven sets of figures and checking seven media lists. I was pleased to see that the numbers worked for all seven markets, although sales prices were a little dicey in some places.  Still, I’m comfortable talking about it.

One of the significant facets of the campaign is that it de-emphasizes incentives and price cuts. Incentives always have been around. Homebuilders use them encourage buyers to select specific floor plans, lots or houses, but over the past couple of years, the level of incentives and price cuts reached new heights. Home buyers shopped around for incentives as much as they did for features and the floor plans. K. Hovnanian thinks those days are over.

If I was a home buyer, I think I’d be flattered. After all, how many sales campaigns appeal to a buyer’s brain? The trick will be cutting through the cynicism of the media and buyers. If you follow all the different news stories about the economy, it gets downright confusing.

It’ll be interesting to see how our sales consultants help home buyers see the benefit of buying now and  understand that the window for great deals in real estate is closing.  It’ll also be interesting to see if other homebuilders follow K. Hovnanian and start getting away from big incentives.

Stop by the campaign site: www.khov.com/pounce. Tell ’em I sent ya!

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Entry filed under: Public Relatons Adventures at K Hovnanian. Tags: , , , , , .

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1 Comment

  • 1. Steve "@PodcastSteve" Lubetkin  |  September 16, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Congrats on starting the blog, Doug! You are off to a good start, and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on in-house PR.

    I like the idea of a sales campaign that uses actual economic facts to build a case. Selfishly, (because I’d like to produce them for you,) I’d like to see audio and video interviews with homebuyers and economic experts talking about why this may be a good time for people to consider that home purchase.

    Keep the blog posts coming!


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