Brokers are an important part of the flexible workspace industry; they help attract clients, reach new markets, and they take some of the weight off of finding prospective workspace users. In other words, they’re facilitators.
Digital marketing has blurred the lines between sales and marketing, bringing the two more closely together than ever before. With brokers, this line can be tough to delineate, so it’s important to establish from the get-go what exactly the broker will be doing for you and how they plan on getting it done.
Not only is this important for you to be clear about what to expect from them, but also because establishing the details will help you in strategically aligning your individual efforts with that of your broker.
Lex Perry, from Colliers International, believes there are 9 key marketing questions that you should ask your broker before deciding to list your workspace with them.
*The below questions were originally published in Colliers International’s blog by Lex Perry. The answers have been slightly modified to better reflect the flexible workspace industry.
- Who is the target market for your workspace and how will you reach them?
This is an important question because there are likely several target groups that are interested in your workspace. It is critical for any successful marketing campaign to have a deep understanding of the drivers, hot buttons, and pain points for each of the target groups so as to better understand how they could best use or be attracted to your asset (in this case, your workspace).
- How are you planning to position the asset?
Price isn’t the only variable that should be taken into account. Your asset (workspace) is likely to have key attributes (could be your community, your workspace design, your variety of workstations, if you only accept women or chefs, etc) that some target markets will find particularly appealing. What’s important is for your workspace to shine as the top choice for those who are attracted to your particular attributes. If your broker can clearly demonstrate this, then it’s likely that you’ll get a good amount of potential clients from them.
Asking this question will give you some insights as to how the broker plans to present your workspace to the market based on your core differentiators.
- Do I need to invest money in advertising?
Some workspace operators might be able to negotiate good rates on marketing initiatives such as media buying, photography, printing, and signage. This question will help you identify what agency strengths you can leverage to get the best bang for your buck. It can also help you uncover marketing gaps that may exist.
This is the best time to negotiate what marketing elements are included in your listing mandate and contract in order to figure out whether you need to top up your campaign’s advertising spend to ensure that your workspace gets noticed. The goal with this question is to be clear about what you are getting up front so that you can better align your marketing efforts with those of the broker.
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- Does your marketing budget include professional photography?
If you already have professional photographs of your workspace, then that’s great. If not, however, this is a key issue to address as well-done photographs can greatly influence a potential member’s decision. Remember that your workspace will appear alongside many others, and presenting a visually appealing representation of your workspace will determine whether people proceed to learn more about it or not. Whether it’s making a good first impression or looking more appealing than your competitors, great photography is a must-have.
Large commercial agents will often take on additional marketing activity (such as photography) on your behalf, while serviced office brokers usually request existing photos. Some may send out a photographer or videographer for an extra fee, which can certainly be worth the investment if carried out professionally.
- Can I see examples of other marketing campaigns you have completed for similar properties?
Not only will this give you some good ideas, but you will also be able to get a feel for the agency’s marketing capabilities. Try to see if you can identify the marketing strategy behind the samples shown to you. A good marketing track record is a great indicator of the sort of marketing program you’ll get from your campaign (if this is something that’ll come included with your listing contract). This question will help you find the brokers that really stand out from the crowd.
- Who is on your marketing team?
It’s always a good idea to ask about marketing resources assigned to your workspace. Whether it’s an in-house team or a third-party marketing specialist, it’s important to make sure they have the capabilities and track record to execute workspace or real estate campaigns. Look for signs that indicate that there is a good working relationship between the broker and marketing team.
- What are you doing to promote the property online?
Nowadays, a significant amount of people make decisions based on the information they find online. Which is why it’s essential to develop an excellent digital marketing strategy that positions you in different online platforms to help promote your workspace. While you’re on this question, also try to find out what tools they have available to increase the chances that your workspace will reach the eyes of those looking for a meeting room or place to work.
- Can you help get us some PR?
PR is a great way to position your workspace as it provides a sort of third-party endorsement. PR and social media are powerful tools that can get your workspace buzzing. These two also help in sharing your workspace’s story. Most flexible workspace brokers have active social media profiles and blogs, and will be happy to promote your workspace.
- What additional marketing components do I need to provide for a successful campaign?
In the majority of cases, it’s a wise move to take some of the marketing costs upon yourself to ensure that you have more control of the spend, quality, and outcome.
In Lex’s words:
“Remember: A broker is in a tricky situation during these negotiations. He or she is typically very excited at the potential of earning your business and doesn’t want to upset the apple cart too much (so to speak). But it’s important for brokers to have all the tools and support they need to go out and represent your workspace in the best possible light. Having this conversation will actually help your broker — and ultimately help you get the best financial result possible.”