Early in 2023, it’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the way we live, work and has driven fundamental change across the real estate industry. As a marketer in the industry, I’ve seen these changes firsthand across my organization. Some members of my team have relocated and are hybrid employees whereas others are going into the office more than ever. Sentiment is mixed, but most people want a little of both—the daily connection of being in an office, with the ability to choose when and how often. As marketers, when and how we are communicating to our existing and prospective clients has also fundamentally changed. The rise of the liquid workforce and ongoing technology shifts transforming how and where we work has forced us to explore new strategies, mediums and methods of communication to ensure our messages are resonating with key audiences and driving demand generation.
As we navigate this fundamental shift across real estate, here is what we can expect for marketing office space in 2023:
- Remaining agile to meet changing hybrid workforce needs
The tremendous shift in how businesses are using office space today has forced marketers to be nimbler than ever before to meet companies where and how they are working. Before the pandemic, helping customers find and develop physical spaces to work was a core part of marketing strategies for commercial real estate. COVID-19 changed that instantly, with working remotely transitioning from an exception to the norm; in fact, JLL found that over half (55%) of office-based employees are now in a hybrid work pattern, and this trend is poised to continue through 2023.
As marketers, when your services or products change suddenly, agility becomes paramount. At JLL, we quickly pivoted to ensure our existing and prospective clients understood the range of products and services we had as a real estate consultancy that could meet their changing workforce and space needs. This included focusing on driving greater demand generation and pipeline growth for our Work Dynamics group, which advises clients on how to best manage and optimize their spaces to meet new future of work imperatives. Our message was no longer about finding office space but outfitting it in the way that works best for businesses, as well.
- Expanding technology capabilities to build deeper customer intelligence
While it’s true companies rapidly introduced new technologies almost overnight, technology adoption in real estate is still in its early stages. In fact, most companies have implemented only a fraction of the technologies they should. We are starting to see tools like coworking space management that allows employees to book desks and manage team schedules, environmental controls, digital infrastructure, connectivity and occupancy sensors being implemented into businesses in 2023, and this list will only continue to grow.
To ease the transition, companies are looking to work with a trusted provider who can enable these tech solutions and deliver a better experience for their people. This prompted real estate companies to build out a completely new technology marketing function during the pandemic to meet their clients’ needs, while rebalancing resources elsewhere. There’s so much new technology available to marketers today, offering access to more sophisticated intent data and the ability to actually understand what customers are searching for. Armed with a more intelligent understanding of customers’ needs at JLL, we’ve been able to go after a much bigger audience because we have the technology in-scale to efficiently learn their preferences and deliver more customized and meaningful messages.
- Reshaping brand identities amid race to net-zero
Against a backdrop of intersecting crises of the pandemic and climate change, demand for sustainability solutions rapidly accelerated. Businesses are looking to reinvent themselves as the demand for eco-friendly practices grows louder, which means we as marketers need to understand how this sustainability movement will manifest in marketing strategies.
With the built environment responsible for 40% of all carbon emissions, there’s massive business opportunity for real estate marketers to show progress through the built environment. This is especially important for talent attraction and retention, with JLL’s research finding that two out of three respondents said they are more willing to accept jobs from organizations they consider to be environmentally sustainable. Prioritizing sustainability in marketing materials to ensure clients understand how the real estate function can accelerate decarbonization efforts and incorporating this into a company’s core narrative will be critical to compete for the best talent in 2023. Continuing to attend events like the World Economic Forum and COP28 will also be important to remain visible in corporate commitments and integrate sustainability ambitions throughout everything a company does.
Employers will continue to watch, listen and adapt to what’s right for their business and as marketers, we will as well. The ability to respond with agility to changing market conditions, client needs, and industry trends will make or break business performance, and marketing strategically is a core part. Moving with speed to reimagine brands, clarify messaging and rebalance resources will allow real estate marketers to meet customers where they are going for space needs. The future of office will look different for each company and play a different role in each employee’s life, but we anticipate the trends above will continue to accelerate and permeate all office space marketing in 2023.
Siddharth Taparia is Global Chief Marketing Officer at JLL.
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