Cambridge Village of Wilmington
A scenic port city, Wilmington, N.C. is a popular retirement destination for seniors throughout the United States. As a start-up retirement community on an aggressive timeline, Cambridge Village of Wilmington was introducing rental-based independent living to a highly competitive market.
A competing retirement community less than five miles away was also pre-selling its apartments to the same senior demographic, presenting direct competition within an already saturated market. In fact, four communities offered similar residence options with on-site dining, health and wellness facilities, and health care. With only one year lead time to grand opening, lead generation and sales goals were established to fully pre-lease the community, which comprised in excess of 100 apartments. Compounded by a lack of awareness and brand identity, there was very little time to introduce the community and build the momentum required to meet its goals.
Cambridge Village offers an urban, open community concept that is unique to the market. Its location within Mayfaire Town Center, a mixed-use, 400-acre retail complex consisting of more than 65 shops and 20 restaurants, presented unique benefits over other senior living options. With so many shopping, dining and entertainment options right outside the door, Cambridge Village provides seniors an active and walkable lifestyle completely new to the area.
Walker Marketing developed strategies that would underscore this competitive advantage and emphasize how Cambridge Village would involve the community through an open approach to programming, services and amenities, thereby keeping its residents more “connected.”
The creative strategy, which featured messaging focused on connections and accessibility to key lifestyle amenities, was communicated across all touch points, including advertising and digital channels. Marketing collateral, including a community brochure and video, was developed to showcase the community’s state-of-the-art fitness facility, wellness approach and rental-based fee structure. Messaging highlighted the fact that unlike traditional senior living communities, life at Cambridge Village fully integrates maintenance-free retirement living with the active, urban lifestyle afforded by adjacent Mayfaire Town Center.
A print ad campaign ran in local newspapers and promoted the various ways that Cambridge Village connects seniors to Mayfaire Town Center and the greater community. Print ads featured a map to highlight the advantageous locale and headlines touted “You’ve never been better connected.”
Direct mailers targeting Wilmington-area homeowners and a qualified mailing list of age- and income-qualified seniors were used to cultivate a prospect database. Direct mail invitations promoted events that were strategically hosted within Mayfaire Town Center to demonstrate the lifestyle and entice prospects to experience the urban lifestyle afforded by the location. Response was measured using business reply cards and tracking phone numbers for accuracy in lead capture and reporting. To ensure seamless execution, call services were obtained to receive and facilitate high call volume and event registrations.
The pre-lease and lead generation goals required aggressive marketing to the primary market area and beyond within a condensed timeframe. Despite the challenges, a comprehensive marketing plan with multi-channel strategies, strong positioning and creative platform worked harmoniously to very quickly create awareness and interest, and achieve lead generation goals. Direct mail response exceeded the projected response rate and delivered in excess of 450 qualified leads for the sales team in five short months. Data collected provided a prospect profile based on the geographic origin, age and financial data of the prospect base in order to fine-tune marketing strategies.