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Revolutionising commercial property marketing

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the launch of Bayleys’ Total Property commercial and industrial property portfolio.

Despite many challenges and changes over the past quarter of a century, Total Property has remained an enduring presence in the New Zealand market, with in excess of 11,000 properties having been marketed across more than 130 Total Property portfolios.

While Total Property first appeared in the late 1990s, it had its genesis much earlier that decade when portfolio marketing was amongst a raft of pioneering innovations initiated by Bayleys to inject new life into a depressed commercial and industrial property market. Portfolio marketing involves bundling multiple properties together in promotional publications to provide vendors with a cost-effective and impactful way of maketing and selling their properties as well as presenting buyers with a wide choice of offerings . In what was a first for the New Zealand property market, portfolio marketing was initially used in the early 1990s by Bayleys to assist large corporate clients such as Brierley Investments, AMP, Fletcher Challenge and State Insurance reduce their exposure to the property market. However, it wasn’t long before Bayleys also opened up its portfolio publications to individual vendors wanting to be part of what was proving to be a very effective way of selling property. National and regional commercial and industrial portfolios continued to be marketed throughout the 1990s under a variety of titles until a decision was made in 1999 to establish a single brand name –Total Property – for all future portfolios.

The first issue of Total Property, released in early 1999, was a fairly modest affair, comprising just 50 pages. Back then the Total Property printed magazine was the main means of marketing, supported by newspaper advertising and property signage. Commercial and industrial properties were also being sold at much higher yields than in recent years, which meant that, comparatively, prices were significantly lower. The median yield on Auckland industrial investment sales undertaken by Bayleys Auckland industrial team in the March 1999 quarter was 11 percent and had been in double figures for over a decade.

The highest price achieved on properties featured in the inaugural 1999 Total Property issue was $7.25 million for the 13-storey Greenock House in Wellington’s CBD which sold to Singapore-based Hotel Grand Central almost fully leased at a 12.7-percent yield. It didn’t take long for the Total Property brand to gain traction with the third and final issue for 1999 comprising over 100 pages and 128 properties. It continued to gather momentum in the new millennium growing from three to eight portfolios a year over the next two decades and navigating many different market conditions. Comprehensive editorial content was added to Total Property from 2008. It focused on trends and issues impacting the commercial and industrial property sector as well as tapping into Bayleys' dominance in the sales market to provide the latest information on prices and yields through Sales Snapshots.

In response to advancements in digital technology, Total Property has evolved to provide vendors with a multi-channel promotional package. While 10,500 copies of the magazine are printed each issue, the portfolio is also distributed as an e-Book and brought to life online via the Total Property landing page at bayleys.co.nz/totalproperty. The landing page attracted close to 17,000 views in November 2023 following the release of Issue 8 earlier that month. Digital marketing of the portfolios and properties includes targeted electronic direct mailouts (eDMs), use of other property-related websites, as well as Google Search and social media, encompassing Facebook and LinkedIn.

Bayleys managing director Mike Bayley says the Total Property portfolio remains a pivotal component of the agency’s service offering to commercial and industrial vendors and has generated billions of dollars worth of sales for clients through all types of markets over the past quarter of a century. “Total Property is an enduring legacy of the pioneering work that our principal shareholders John and David Bayley did in introducing portfolio marketing to New Zealand in the early 1990s, initially in the commercial and industrial sector and then in the residential, waterfront and country markets. The high-quality publications that were produced to promote these portfolios, along with the targeted promotional and advertising collateral that was rolled out alongside them, revolutionised the approach to marketing and selling property in New Zealand.”

Bayleys national director commercial & industrial Ryan Johnson says Total Property provides individual property owners with the opportunity to pool their resources with other vendors and to benefit from economies of scale and a higher level of market exposure through the Total Property marketing platform than is possible with a standalone, individual property campaign.

It has attracted strong vendor support across all market conditions and, in particular, has proved its worth during downward cycles as was the case last year when the lowest number of commercial and industrial sales transactions in more than three decades was recorded. Despite this, $1.05 billion of property sales were delivered in 2023 through Total Property campaigns. The final portfolio of the year was one of the biggest ever, attracting 131 listings – a reflection of how much faith vendors have in its effectiveness, says Johnson.

“No doubt, the marketing and distribution of Total Property will continue to be refined and enhanced over the next quarter of a century, particularly in the digital space where change is constant,” Johnson says. “It will continue to be all about delivering results for vendors, connecting people and property through targeted and effective marketing and the skills and teamwork of our salesforce.”

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