Customer Contact

Advertising agency d.fferent has launched the results of its latest consumer research to reveal that a shocking 92% of retirees and 81% of empty nesters feel misunderstood by housebuilders. Astonishingly almost half of empty nesters and pensioners (43% and 48% respectively) state that they see no communications at all.

The independent consumer research was conducted for the second report in d.fferent’s Game of Life series: Window of Opportunity: How Smarter Comms can Benefit Housebuilders. The report and research examine the sort of communication today’s consumers want from housebuilders at four key life stages: students, home movers, first-time parents, empty nesters and pensioners.

The research reveals housebuilders are missing opportunities to communication across all life-stages. The downsizers are not alone, with three fifths (62%) of students feel misunderstood, saying their wants, needs and worries are not addressed in communications. Neglecting students in this way suggests housebuilders are failing to engage the next generation of first-time buyers.

There’s room for improvement when it comes to communications with house movers too. Even though housebuilders pin their focus on this core group, they’re still missing the mark for arguably the most targeted and important audience. They were the only group to say they felt strongly that they were communicated with too often, and almost four fifths of home movers are unhappy with the communications they receive, with a worrying 14% feeling contempt and 10% feeling sadness when faced with marketing messaging from the industry.

There’s a hole to fill when it comes to new parents too, as almost a fifth (18%) reported that they don’t receive enough communications from housebuilding brands. However, similar to home movers, a concerning 13% reported feeling contempt towards these communications, proving that getting the message and timing right is equally crucial.

The research report also looks at the use of different marketing channels, with social media the most neglected channel overall. A mere 14% of consumers saying they see messaging from housebuilders via this channel – a missed opportunity. The research also found there is an opportunity for brands when it comes to online. While 29% of new parents, 30% of students and 35% of home movers say they see online adds, getting the targeting right on online campaigns could help give housebuilders the boost they need.

Ben Quigley, Group Chief Executive at d.fferent says: “Housebuilders are missing a trick. Our research found real inconsistencies with communications across life stages; the overarching theme is that there is room for improvement. However, a singular step-change in tactics isn’t going to cut it. There is huge untapped potential with both pensioners and empty nesters for all strands of marketing activity. When it comes to the other life stages social media and online should be the focuses, particularly for students. Failing to build relationships with the home-owners of the future – particularly as the end of the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme is due to come to an end in 2023 – is a huge missed opportunity.”

“Our report is a strong call to arms to the housebuilding sector – in a market fraught with political uncertainty and switched off consumers, building long-term relationships should be the priority, as it will help defend against instability in the sector. Making strategies tailored and customer-first will open new doors of communication.”

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