Homebuilder and real estate marketers today face challenges with numerous plates to balance. There is content, ad dollars, imagery, product information, technology, and data! There are also numerous sets of tools to make products and communities searchable, explorable, and desirable. When it comes to product design, more homebuilder technology service companies are realizing they must not only watch their cheese, but to be even more successful, they must make sure their cheese pairs well with others! Why? It benefits the customer. Firms that truly put the customer first in their mind, are looking for ways to help clients make decisions easier, make technology adoption faster, and ease pain points. That is why integrated service partnerships are partially on the rise.
Looking at the benefits of integrated service partnerships, some marketers may ask what they should look for when exploring their current applications and future technology endeavors for integration capabilities.
- Consider and ask what type of data you will get out of the service you are exploring. Reports, a dashboard, or a monthly overview of performance. Depending on the type and level of data the service company provides, can get your wheels turning around who will need the information, where the information can go, and how it might be analyzed against other data sources in your company.
- Understand if there is an open API for new application services you are exploring. An open API (Application Performance Interface) enables different applications to communicate with each other. It acts as an intermediary layer that processes data between systems, letting companies open their application data and functionality to third-party developers and business partners. This is an attractive feature to consider as it will allow connectivity to other applications you are already using or considering (if they too have an open API).
- Discover the stop gaps in your customer experience. Journey mapping how your technology leads a customer through various pathways of information is key. Understand and pay attention to where your path stops and where customers bounce or pause in the equation of lead conversions. Do the new technologies you are looking to integrate fill the gap, open up a new conversation or further convert a buyer in the spectrum? That is the golden nugget you are looking for which brings more ROI to the surface when selecting new technology.
Outside of these steps, it’s also important to understand that integrated service partnership companies typically can make your work life a tad easier. It means these companies in unison have your best interests in mind, will work together to bring your technology needs to life, and they may even be able to consolidate reporting or data points between application activities. Integration efforts may also save you time and money. Combined meetings, help thinking through application of web tools, offering processes to streamline implementation, and training all have cost savings.
When exploring new technologies, make sure you understand partnership details. Some partnerships are strictly “preferred relationships” built on intercompany loyalty and referrals. Make sure you understand why a service company is recommended as a preferred partner and that you trust the source! On the other hand, there are companies, like Focus 360 that purposefully engage with partners that want to use our tools to enhance their buyer journey, and vice versa! Those relationships show that each firm has spent time, dollars, and resources to confirm their products work together for you in various environments. True integration has been tried and tested before it’s brought to market.
So, the next time you hear the words “Integrated Partnerships”, know that a lot of work and merit goes into building that partnership for the added benefit of customer experience. Oh, and it’s okay to ask a lot of questions along the way. The more you ask, the more you know what to expect out of the integrated efforts.