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Showcase of Homes: Advice to Marketers

Louisville, like hundreds (if not thousands) of cities in the U.S., hosts an annual showcase of homes. Ours is called Homearama. And, like many of these events, it’s hosted by the Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville to showcase local builders, suppliers and service providers in the home building and remodeling industries.

It’s a great opportunity for dealers and retailers of home products to get exposure, showcase brands and products, generate leads, build their lists and drive traffic (among many other things).

So, are your dealers taking advantage? I explored Louisville’s Homearama to identify examples of how dealers can do it right — and how marketers of home product brands can help them.

Why Participate? A Focused, Relevant, Captive Audience.

The most compelling reason to participate in or sponsor these home showcase events is the audience. Most people attend because they’re thinking of building a home and want to do some research on builders, home styles and sizes, prices, the neighborhood, etc.

Some attendees are getting ready to remodel their home and want to get ideas for layouts, products, features and more. Some just want design ideas for DIY projects. And some just want to feel like they’re in an HGTV show.

I attend mostly for research purposes. It’s important for me, as someone who also renovates homes with my dad, to be up-to-date on the current design trends and materials. In a larger sense, I want to learn what buyers in the real estate market are looking for when buying a new home.

In order to appeal to the maximum number of possible buyers, I need to tick off as many of their boxes as possible. And what better way to keep up on that than to see it all up close and personal? Plus, let’s be real: I like HGTV as much as the next person.

This is where my work here at Power blends with my other work of designing and renovating homes. Not only do I notice current design trends, I also notice what the brands and dealers/suppliers are doing to reach me and convince me to buy those products through them (rather than through their competitors).

Here are a few suggestions for participating dealers/sponsors that would’ve made my experience more helpful — and inevitably convert me to a customer:

Identify featured products

At Homearama, information on featured products was nowhere to be found. It was really frustrating! Sure, there were signs everywhere. But they only mentioned the builder or dealer. The signs were too vague: “Carpet by Carpet Specialists” or “Cabinetry provided by Acme Home Furnishings” isn’t very helpful.

One possible reason why the signs are generic is to allow the dealers to reuse them over and over again. But it will save your dealers a lot of time if they provide consumers more details so they know where to go and what to ask!

Think about it. Would you rather a potential customer call your dealers and say “I really liked the carpet in the basement bedroom at that one house at Homearama.” Or, “I saw the Shaw Signature Series carpet in the Putty color and I’d like to come pick up a sample and see what else you have available that’s similar.”

TIP FOR BRANDS: Simple product identification/information materials will help greatly enhance the customer experience. Add a few signage options to your dealer kits or turn-key sales assets featured on your dealer portal.

Provide product and brand details

This is ESPECIALLY important if it’s a newer product with an exclusive feature (like a new finish) but it applies across the board. Attendees are seeking inspiration, but also details. Communicating key brand and/or product information is essential.

Why is the product innovative? What features does it have? Maybe the price point or warranty is what makes it super appealing. Or it’s easy to clean. Or it has smart features.

Key takeaways should be front and center!

As an engaged consumer, I’m thinking things like, “Why do I want to spend more money on these products as opposed to others? Why should I install this shade system on my back porch? Why should I install a paver patio instead of stamped concrete?” And the list goes on.

Put all of that information in front of me as a customer.

Or provide a takeaway sheet.

Or tell me where I can find the information.

TIP FOR BRANDS: As a manufacturer/brand, you can help your dealers with customizable marketing materials highlighting flagship products, services and offerings. Keep in mind that co-branded templates with areas for dealer information AND your products/brands help enhance utilization.

Coordinate the on-site presence with an online presence

As I mentioned, there was very little information about the products featured in the showcase homes. So, the next thing I did was look up dealers/sponsors online — desperately seeking details on something I liked.

I didn’t find anything that was associated with Homearama (at least, with dealers).

And it didn’t inspire confidence.

I was hoping for (at the very least) a downloadable list of resources specific to what was exhibited. Maybe a floor plan or a materials list. A video tour of the home with the featured products would have been really cool. Anything.

In fact, I noticed builders were much more engaged online and DID mention participation in the event. Perhaps because these home showcases are geared to the builder, they took more ownership?

Participating dealers shouldn’t leave it up to the builder to get their information out there.

I can only assume that the dealers I saw represented at Homearama have websites that are built on a Content Management System (CMS) platform. And I can only assume those dealers knew well in advance that they were participating in this showcase of homes. So why was there NO mention of the event on their websites?

They missed out.

TIP FOR BRANDS: Help your dealers connect the dots on their local marketing efforts and emphasize maintaining a consistent customer experience throughout the buying journey. Offering a well-defined audience and/or behavioral segmentation helps dealers identify the importance of all their marketing touchpoints.

My takeaway

“Showcase of homes” events are a wonderful opportunity for dealers to engage with a focused, captivated audience (like me). These homes offer a gorgeous display for featured products, while helping potential buyers visualize the exciting possibilities. But dealers cannot be passive with their marketing efforts.

I’m a strong believer in leading product first, and then providing all the relevant and important information to assist in earning that conversion. As marketers (both client and partner agency), we can do more to help enhance the customer experience with sales tools and best practices for local and regional opportunities, like Homearama.

Think all of this sounds great but don’t know where to start? Let us help. We can work with you and your budget to improve your sales channel marketing. Contact us today to get started.


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