Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall
Owned and operated by Liberty Senior Living, Carolina Bay is a destination retirement community located within Autumn Hall, a planned, mixed-use development in Wilmington, N.C.
A feasibility study indicated a low probability of success given current population density in the primary market area of Wilmington and a growing competitive landscape. As a result, project success was largely dependent upon drawing residents from secondary markets, including the Triangle and Triad regions of North Carolina.
Walker Marketing developed a creative strategy that communicated Carolina Bay’s unique benefits over other retirement housing options such as its leasing model and location in South Charlotte. A two-pronged approach was applied to marketing, which consisted of an introductory campaign to local audiences followed by a secondary campaign with messaging tailored to destination audiences.
Located a short distance from Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Bay was positioned as Retirement Living that Makes Sense. Visuals and messaging emphasized the sensory perceptions and attributes of coastal living, from the sights and sounds of the Cape Fear coast to the tastes available through a variety of on-site dining venues. A play on the word “senses” purposefully underscored the rental model since a lease option during a down economy makes good “sense.”
A media analysis was conducted to determine the most cost-effective advertising program and media outlets were selected based on their ability to reach target audiences in affluent neighborhoods. Print and radio advertising were used to introduce the community during peak summer months for added exposure among the adult children of senior prospects.
Widespread coverage was received from mainstream outlets, which served to introduce Carolina Bay to the community and increase awareness of its most desirable features and amenities, including its leasing option.
Direct mail was delivered in waves to an age- and income-qualified list of senior prospects. Once awareness was created locally, secondary markets were targeted with a multi-piece mailer comprised of an invitation, booklet and business reply card designed to recruit attendance to events hosted in select cities throughout North Carolina. The invitation list was segmented based on proximity to events, which featured speakers and traditional culinary samples of the Cape Fear coast to promote the destination retirement lifestyle at Carolina Bay.
A sales kit was developed to enable leasing consultants to articulate community features and benefits and a website supported by search engine marketing was developed to increase reach in secondary markets.
Lead Reporting Analysis
Unique tracking numbers were obtained for each mailing to track response rates and inbound calls were matched back to the original database and exported into lead reports. All data contained in the purchased mailing list was appended to the inbound call, including name, address, marital status, gender, age, income, income producing assets, net worth, home value, and length of residence, to equip leasing consultants with detailed information about prospects prior to a follow up call and meeting.
Response reports provided a conclusive tracking mechanism to measure the response rate and success of lead generation activities as well as construct buyer profiles for future marketing activities. Two events were initially planned in the Triangle area, yet high demand led Carolina Bay to host a total of four well-attended events. Hundreds of qualified leads were acquired and converted to sales meetings and deposits. More importantly, the analytics provided Liberty Senior Living with the data to gauge interest levels in secondary destination markets and gain insight into the feasibility of project success in an uncertain real estate market.