Rohit Goidani

Senior Marketing Specialist at Godrej Properties Limited

Rohit Goidani on the Power of Content in Real Estate Marketing

This captivating conversation delves into real estate marketing with seasoned expert Rohit Goidani. Rohit offers profound insights into how content drives transformative change within the industry. He guides us through the evolving world of real estate, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age.

During the conversation, Rohit covered a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from shifts in customer behavior to strategies for staying competitive, the integration of AI tools, and the art of optimizing marketing funnels.

Naresh Pandey, Sales Director at Pepper Content, talks to Rohit Goidani, Senior Marketing Specialist at Godrej Properties Limited, and discusses the delicate balance required to build brand affinity while fostering product preference, particularly in high-stakes industries like real estate.

1. What marketing trends have you seen, and how will you adapt to the next big trend as a marketer and brand leader?

I believe there are two key points to consider. First, it's all about getting as close to the customer as possible; that's the winning formula. But things have evolved since then. Nowadays, it's not just about getting close to the customer; it's about being the brand that stands out when the customer has countless options, akin to swiping left and right on Tinder.

The customer focuses on the brands before them, like attention-grabbing billboards. So, the real question is, how can we subconsciously shape buying behavior and the overall shopping experience rather than making it a conscious choice? I firmly believe it's about becoming an integral part of the customer's life journey, not just a brief stop along the way. We're not merely a destination but your companion throughout the journey. Whenever you need us, we're right there with you. It's about standing out in a sea of choices.

While delighting customers is essential, it's equally crucial to outshine your competitors. In a vast industry with numerous categories and countless options, it's no longer about making customers happy; it's about making them more comfortable than the competition. That's the key to winning the game.

"One thing is to delight the customers with the multiple things that you do when being a part of the journey. But the second thing is to fight the competitors."

2. How has the rise of AI influenced your approach to marketing in the real estate industry, especially given your experience with trends like augmented reality?

When it comes to utilizing AI tools in our marketing operations, the answer is a definite yes. It's a necessity in today's era. But it's essential to understand where we're integrating AI into our marketing journey. We primarily reserve AI for the latter stages of the marketing funnel. Most of our marketing endeavors require a human touch, especially empathy, which AI can't quite replicate. While AI does possess a level of creativity, it operates within the boundaries of what's already in the system. It can't conjure new concepts or ideas that a customer might desire.

Take, for instance, developing a new marketing strategy, like launching a new township or a campaign. This process involves deep dives into product understanding, identifying our unique selling points (USPs), understanding our customers, and aligning our offerings with their desires.

It's in the execution phase when we start optimizing and fine-tuning our campaigns, that AI becomes a valuable tool. It helps us apply logic and algorithms to enhance our approach. While AI is a part of the process, it's crucial to remember that the heart and creative aspects of marketing still play a significant role. AI is a dependable assistant, allowing us to verify and refine our strategies to ensure they align with our audience's wants.

"In marketing, where we are using AI, I would say that we are reserving them only for the lower end of the funnel as of now. Because most of the marketing that we do, it needs to have empathy."

3. In real estate, does brand sentiment matter more than individual properties, unlike in situations where products can overshadow the brand, like Apple?

In today's market, brands are expanding by creating sub-brands or specialized verticals, much like Maruti's Nexa series addressing the premium segment after Kizashi's less successful attempt. This trend extends to various industries, such as Taj's introduction of specialized verticals within their brand.

I've worked with Xanadu and currently with Godrej, both offering diverse properties. Real estate's localized nature means understanding micro-market dynamics is crucial. Artificial intelligence helps tailor digital campaigns to each micro-market, similar to adapting your batting style in cricket. For instance, Mumbai's real estate market focuses on proximity to railway stations, showcasing its unique dynamics. Adapting to diverse customer demands is essential in this ever-evolving industry.

4. Based on your experience with multiple brands, have you spotted common marketing challenges and recent solutions, like the improved ROI evaluation in content marketing?

When it comes to bigger brands, I've noticed that the more prominent the brand, the more stakeholders get involved. This can present several challenges. Not all stakeholders have a creative mindset, and sometimes, they struggle to fully grasp the essence of our message because they tend to view things from a narrow perspective rather than considering the broader picture we're trying to convey.

Another hurdle lies in the approval processes and stages of justifying a campaign or idea. It can be a bit of a maze. However, when we have a truly exceptional and innovative drive, we often encounter two types of responses: enthusiasm and caution. Some embrace it with excitement, seeing it as an opportunity, while others view it as risky for the company.

The key takeaway here is resilience. Even if your ideas face rejection initially, it's essential to keep the motivation alive and continue trying. Don't give up; persistence often leads to breakthroughs.

5. With the changing marketing landscape, including diverse platforms and consumer groups, do you think there are new 'P's to be considered beyond the traditional four 'P's?

Ten years ago, when I completed my MBA, we were already talking about adding three more "P"s to the traditional marketing mix: people, process, and perhaps one more, like platform. The emergence of new media was becoming evident, and these elements became essential.

As I reflect on my journey, the city of Pune stands out as a significant factor. Everything I've undertaken has revolved around Pune or has had its headquarters here. It's been a vital part of my professional life. As for that additional "P," I'll ponder further. It's an intriguing concept that I'm keen to explore.

"We have to bridge what we are able to sell best to who our customer is and what he best wants, only when I have to run the campaigns. When I start getting a little more algorithmic or when I start getting a little more logical in my approach, right?"

6. What components make up your ideal marketing stack for managing your marketing operations efficiently, including CRM and other tools?

In working with various sub-vertical teams within the brand, managing and analyzing multiple platforms is crucial, even if we can't mention them specifically. In my previous role as AVP Marketing at a company, my team had a broad spectrum of responsibilities, including event and operations marketing. This encompassed aspects like managing call centers, presale activities, and digital marketing.

Each product we marketed had its unique identity and cost center. We employed various tools to ensure we were performing effectively, especially in the digital and content teams. For instance, when comparing user interactions on different product pages, we used Hotjar metrics to gain insights into user behavior. Additionally, I came across a valuable resource called "Attentive Mobiles," which provides insights into SMS, WhatsApp, and short text messaging used by brands. It's an excellent tool to keep tabs on the industry's latest trends and messaging strategies.

We've also experimented with Chat GPT for content creation. However, it's worth noting that it often requires multiple iterations to achieve a human-like tone, resulting in more content generation and a focus on creating a relatable, human-sounding copy. However, as technology and networks can sometimes be unpredictable, maintaining clear communication can be challenging, but we adapt and continue our efforts to stay ahead in the marketing game.

7. How important is content for your brand in a sales-driven industry, and how do you see it nurturing leads?

The customer journey transcends our brand, beginning before discovery and extending long after purchase. Content emerges as a vital touchpoint, bridging the gap between consumer needs, brand presence, and trigger moments. It is a friendly, informative form of advertising, enabling engagement and knowledge acquisition. Our strategy involves collaboration with influential content creators, seamlessly integrating our products.

During my time at Kolte Patil, we partnered with influencers and designers to showcase our products authentically. The key lies in crafting consumable, genuine content that fosters two-way interactions rather than imposing messages. Engaging content connects our brand with the customer's enduring journey.

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