QR codes are yesterday’s news. Sure, they offered plenty of promise for the project marketing industry in Australia and abroad, but they are being quickly surpassed by the next generation of emerging technologies that are set to change the property project marketing game.
Simply, QR codes failed because they asked the user to do too much – first download a scanner app, and then snap a steady, in frame photograph of the code – all for the relatively mundane pay off of connecting you to a property website.
QR codes seemed like a novel bit of technology, but for tech to really work in a marketing context, it must deliver on three fundamental attributes.
First, it must be a natural. Then it must surprise and delight.
From augmented reality and geo fences and advances in Near Field Communication (NFC) and digital property signboards, the coming wave of technology will achieve all three and give your property branding efforts a powerful cutting edge makeover.
Advancing technology in the augmented reality field is already bringing new life to property media such as brochures, letterbox flyers, and magazine and newspaper ads as savvy project marketers embrace it as an entirely new marketing platform.
While augmented reality has been around for a while, technology companies such as London based startup Virtual View App are specifically focusing on the project marketing industry and putting a new set of augmented reality tools in the hands of project marketers.
The concept can be applied to any static image, either on a signboard or on printed marketing materials, or even images on a website.
To take the Virtual View App as an example, users download the app and point their smart phone or tablet at a static app-enabled property image.
Users then access a suite of digital content such as 3D property models, floor plans, photo galleries and videos that provide a virtual tour of the property in question.
Remarkably, users can actually control the digital model by manipulating the real-world image. That is, slowing turning a printed property brochure while viewing it through a smart phone or tablet will in turn reveal new perspectives and deeper layers of the digital model.
Watch it in action below.
Of course, augmented reality apps can also link back to a digital property agency’s website, Facebook page, Twitter feed or other social media channel, but more than that, augmented reality apps such as Virtual View allow property marketers to dig deeper into user data with sophisticated analytics.
Virtual View, for example, allows you to track how many times your property has been viewed, where the viewers are located and which device they used to view the property.
In the very near future, house hunters won’t search for properties – properties will search for them.
With new geo fence technology, property marketers will quite literally be able to leave their properties to find their own buyers.
Imagine this, for example. You are out walking on a sunny Saturday morning in your favourite location. As you stroll across a tree-lined street, you’re thinking about how much you’d love to live in the area.
Then, like it just read your mind, a text message pops up on your smart phone, alerting you to an open house currently underway a few streets away. You open the text message and it connects to your phone’s GPS navigation software and you get instant directions to the location. Within a couple of minutes, you’re walking up the driveway of your dream home with your bank manager on the phone preparing to make an offer.
This is the magic of geo fences.
Geo fences are essentially virtual boundaries that surround a specified geographic area around a particular property.
Prospective buyers will simply enter their property preferences into an online portal. Then, when they cross into a relevant ‘hot zone’ with their smart phone, a property match notification buzzes in their pocket.
This system is built on user opt-ins and is designed to integrate naturally into their daily lives, which means the targeted messages—rather than being interpreted as an unwanted interruption—will be well received.
There’s no doubt that smart phones will play an ever increasing role in property marketing, but geo fencing offers a natural touch point that will prove to be a better fit with mobile technology than clunky microsites or outdated QR codes.
NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION (NFC)
Think of NFC technology as QR code’s faster, smarter, better looking younger brother.
Rather than plastering QR codes all over your property signage, NFC allows passers-by to gain access to online content by simply waving their NFC-enabled smart phone at a signboard.
Rather than visually scanning a code, an NFC-enabled signboard, for example, emits a radio frequency that can wirelessly share data between any NFC-enabled device held within range.
In this case, any passer-by with an NFC-enabled smartphone can instantly access property information on screen, be transferred to a microsite, offered an instant virtual inspection or put directly in touch with a real world agent.
The caveat, at least for now, is that while NFC is supported by most Android handsets, Apple is yet to join the party.
However, as other industries begin to roll out NFC technology that is set to replace credit cards and enable us to use our smart phones as a digital wallet, the smart money is on Apple to get with the program.
DIGITAL SMART SIGNAGE
Effectively marketing a property development across multiple demographics remains a challenging task for project marketers.
However, recent advances in digital signage technology could mean that you’ll soon be able to target different segments with specific messages on a single signboard.
Next generation digital signboards are using facial recognition software to identify the gender and age of people passing by and then use the data to deliver signage content that is targeted to their specific demographic.
For example, UK supermarket giant Tesco is currently using OptimEyes technology that uses a built-‐in camera to identify a customer’s age and gender, and then plays an ad targeted to their demographic.
The technology also allows marketers to discover not only the number of people who viewed the ad, but can also break down the viewers by demographic and time of day to draw deeper insights about their customer base.
For project marketers, this means gaining the capability to match specific property ads to their targeted demographic in real time as a potential buyer walks past a single digital signboard.