Mahzabin Chowdhury, Head of Marketing and Public Relations of Bproperty, opens up about her journey, the state of the real estate sector in the post-pandemic world and helping people to make wiser decisions through knowledge sharing
Tell us a little bit about yourself – work experience, educational background, achievements, particular hobbies or special interests. How has your role at Bproperty helped you grow professionally?
I’m an enthusiast – about food, family, travel and work. So when it came to deciding what to do with my life, I thought about making others enthusiastic about things. Here I am, a brand marketer. The decision began when I started my major in Marketing at the Umea Business School. Umea gave me a global perspective and also contributed to me building a sustainable career in the future. As I gained first hand experiences with marketing topics, I was quite decisive about my personal passion for this certain field.
My career started as a Lecturer with a mission to share my knowledge and keep myself on the path for higher studies. But soon I realized that the Marketing domain was changing at a remarkable pace and to be with the times, as they say, I had to jump into the field directly. The frequently evolving behavioral patterns of consumers, the innovation of new technologies and the media landscape are changing the way businesses work with marketing and that is when I decided to shift my focus and start working directly with Brand Marketing and PR management. I switched to working for an IT and ITES provider company, managing their Branding and PR activities, organizing local and international events, and eventually I was swayed to the world of advertising with all its creativity and connection aspects.
My short but spellbinding advertising career has allowed me to learn and work in a lot of different industries with different brands. But most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to work with talented strategists, writers, designers, directors, musicians and many creative minds. These creative people have been inspiring and their thought process, philosophies and creative thinking have provided a great boost on my journey as a marketer.
Bproperty certainly helped me to best utilize my skills and experiences in brand marketing with a bigger scope, and I have grown more, both personally and professionally. Time invested in this company has molded me into a mature team worker, and taught me how to be adaptive to all challenging situations. Moreover, Bproperty has given me the platform where I am able to work well both in a team environment as well as using my own initiatives. Here, we have a shared dream to deliver exponential growth to the brand by re-thinking the role of marketing in the real estate industry of the country. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing how Bproperty is setting a benchmark and evoking the charm of creativity in the marketing practices of the real estate industry of Bangladesh.
2021 began with the hope for a rebound of the real-estate sector. Unfortunately, the pandemic situation has not improved as much as we have hoped for. How would you assess the aggregate demand in the industry compared to last year?
In complete honesty, there has been very little negative effect. People who are fond of real estate, who truly see its value and potential, are undeterred by the pandemic’s presence. Yes, 2020 saw a dip in the real estate scene. It was the first time people were exposed to such a drastic event and questions arose in many forms, but since then, people have learned a lot. They have remembered that the price of property always goes up! And that is the wagon that everyone wants to be a part of.
The demand for real estate in 2021 is great. We still see high demand when we look at our statistics. As for compared to last year, we currently see a growth of nearly 36% in demand since quarter 4 of 2020. It’s very reassuring that through the thickest of things, and though there may be bumps in the road, real estate is a sector of consistency.
Although Bproperty had a strong foothold in the country before the pandemic hit, it was primarily popular among a niche segment of the population. How much has the mass digital adaptation catalyzed by the pandemic diversifying Bproperty’s user base?
Bproperty has always believed in the use of the digital medium and technology to further the needs of the real estate scene and the people involved, be them buyers, tenants or landlords. From the beginning, it was our storefront – the medium through which we most provided information, both product and industry wise. We began with our website, delved into social media, and are now making everything available on our app. As the pandemic hit and the dependency on digital media increased, we were very much unimpacted in practice. But as a result, traffic to our portals has increased dramatically, by nearly 31%. What did and does this mean for us is that we have more insight, more opportunity, and subsequently, more patrons to satisfy.
Speaking of the widening user base, how has Bproperty upgraded its services to ensure enhanced user experience and efficient communication?
Our style has changed, somewhat. We now cater to a wider audience with a wider set of interests because, who doesn’t want property? We focus on the needs of the people, as always, but are now emphasizing on letting people know better what their needs are and the fact that we are here to solve any and all their property related questions. We have expanded our communications along with our audience to ensure no one feels left out and everyone understands clearly what real estate means and what is capable through it. Our inclusion of the Bproperty app now allows everyone to access our database of properties, information and entertainment at all times, from one single location. Aware and confident people are the lifeblood of any business, and Bproperty is always widening its field to encompass more people and enlighten them.
Last year, Bproperty successfully organized the country’s largest virtual property fair with an overwhelming response. Can we expect something similar this year?
We have a lot of things planned for the remainder of the year. We are relentless with our campaigns as we always want our followers and patrons to stay engaged with us. We are ever so grateful for the response we met last year and though a virtual property fair is not in the pipeline, we are fully prepared for it if we feel the demand is real. The lockdown is almost at an end, hopefully, and we would love to begin deploying physical fairs at our Marketplaces if the opportunity arises. But apart from that, there are other plans in motion that time will reveal.
As a marketing professional in one of the most dynamic industries in the world, how has the experience of dealing with sharp changes in consumer behavior been for you?
Consumer behavior is different in every field. But it’s a very interesting field, real estate. You learn something new almost every day. I take that to mean I get to apply something new every day. The more knowledge we share with people, the more aware they become of their requirements. What this does over time is shift demand from one place to another. And we can see this when we breakdown statistics. For example, where one person wanted a small place in Banani, they now want a more comfortable property in Niketan. What I mean is, the more you know about what you need and what is available in the market, the more narrowed down your decisions become. So though the question is about drastic changes in consumer behavior, I don’t see it that way. I am essentially the one teaching people about how their behavior should be according to their desires balanced with their opportunities. It’s an amazing setup that teaches them about real estate while continuing to teach me about being a better marketer.