The Innovative Housing Showcase brings options and housing creativity to the front lawn of Congress. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) host this event annually.
Innovative Housing Showcase
The Innovative Housing Showcase hosts alternative housing creators and educators for a 3-day event on the front stage of housing policy. The public, as well as government officials, have the opportunity to tour homes and explore housing solutions products. At the 2022 event, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge told Bloomberg, "We can't continue to build the houses we grew up in."
A "stick-built" home traditionally takes 6-12 months and requires at least 20 subcontractors. With workforce concerns and supply shortages, the building industry is challenged to make a profit and create affordable and sustainable housing. Thus the enormous advantages and potential of manufactured housing and alternative building methods set the stage for an industry-wide disruption.
The challenges faced by HUD, NAHB, and built environment innovators are complex:
- Changing the public perception of factory built plus increasing education of new sustainable and affordable technologies.
- Gaining the building industry's acceptance to utilize and invest in innovative materials and technologies
- Encouraging lawmakers to rewrite policies and zoning requirements at local, state, and federal government levels.
How builders are using marketing strategies to change perceptions about manufactured housing
While NAHB and HUD are on Capitol Hill, the Innovative Housing Showcase exhibitors are taking the opportunity to market and educate. These innovative businesses use strategic marketing strategies to gain industry acceptance and change public perception.
Manufactured and modular home innovators are combating the public stigma against quality and longevity concerns. Informative content marketing and creative positioning are used to combat the "mobile" home stigma. The "green" exhibitors are tasked with educating the public on the "why" and the "how" while contrasting old vs. new technologies.
The conversations on housing options and standards are happening. How will a strong marketing position strategy help make a shift in policy? With effective potential customer messaging, proper positioning, and content strategies, these niche companies could make an impact.
We had the chance to attend the 2023 Innovative Housing Showcase in DC. Here's our take on 5 exhibitors and their marketing strategy.
1. ReMo Homes, Southern California
Affordable, sustainable, and equitable are not adjectives one would use to describe the building industry. ReMo Homes want to change that through their manufactured home solution. Their research and development started by addressing two problems, 1) Affordability and 2) Sustainability, and then working backward for a solution.
2. Azure Printed Homes, Culver City, CA
The construction industry is the largest consumer of raw materials globally. It is responsible for almost 20% of the world's carbon emissions. Azure Printed Homes are positioning themselves to combat the industry's downfall.
Azure Printed Homes are prefabricated structures. They leverage 3D printing technology and harness the power of recycled plastic polymers. Specifically, backyard studios, offices, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), and homes. Making them 70% faster and 20-30% less expensive than existing construction methods.
The public may view printed homes as futuristic. Therefore, Azure Printed Homes focuses on ADU, backyard studios, and tiny house consumers.
3. EcoSmart Construction Stud, Bloomington, Minnesota
For an industry slow to adopt change, opportunities for minor substitutions to the current method can make acceptance simple and easy. That is the hope of the EcoSmart Stud. This 1-to-1 replacement stud was designed to increase the R-factor of exterior walls.
This sustainable solution also increased wall strength and reduced shipping costs. Plus, the waste provides a byproduct for creating different materials. A big lift for this product marketing is education. EcoSmart Construction Stud content targets the builder, the homeowner, and the policymakers.
Their prospects are most likely in the discovery phase. EcoSmart's content marketing strategy uses diagrams, charts, and FAQs to drive the prospect to the next step in the sales process.
4. WheelPad, Wilmington, VT
Based in Wilmington, VT, WheelPad grew out of a desire to help residents with mobility issues adapt in their homes quickly. Their target audience is veterans, those with limited mobility, and homeowners who wish to age in place. Compared to time-intensive accessible home renovations, a WheelPad personal, accessible dwelling (PAD) can be installed in a few short weeks.
WheelPad's goal is for people to have an affordable option to stay in their homes versus moving and renovating. They utilize an ethos approach to connect with their target audience. of caregivers and those with accessibility needs, WheelPad's videos and client testimonials are a successful approach for this unique housing solution.
5. Module Design Inc., Pittsburgh, PA
Driving through any city or densely populated area, a developer's eye can easily spot infill housing opportunities. Unfortunately, turning those lots into affordable housing is becoming more and more difficult.
Module's position has grown from that challenge. They have created a series of energy-saving designs tailored explicitly for infill development and offsite manufacturing optimization. Their modular models can fit into various lot sizes—townhomes, duplexes, detached single-family, and 6-unit multi-family homes.
Including infographics in their marketing strategy attracts their primary target audience of developers and city planners. They understand this product would require several rounds of public forums and meetings for liftoff. The provided branding and content are presentation friendly and strive to overcome objections through education and process transparency.
Is the goliath of the traditional building industry open to adopting change? Will the public accept the technologies and innovation offered at the Innovative Housing Showcase? Will lawmakers adjust local zoning codes to allow manufactured, ADU, or new building methods to be permitted in their communities?
How will your business adapt to the changes that are to come in the next 5, 10, and 20 years? How can your business position itself and develop content for growth through marketing and operations? Illumine8 can help! Let's work together to strengthen your brand through positioning and innovative marketing solutions.