By Erika Morphy | December 03, 2019
Marketers are just as integral to the art and science of owning and managing real estate as the e and broker functions, and should be acknowledged as so.
When you work in, say, commercial real estate nance, chances are good you will know at least something about research. Or sales. Likewise an oce broker: there is a good chance he or she knows more than the average layperson about the retail asset class. However, there is one area of CRE that may not be as familiar to these people as it should be, which is marketing. To be sure, a CRE marketer has a certain skill set that does not translate well to sales or nance. But marketers are just as integral to the art and science of owning and managing real estate and should be acknowledged as so. Which is what we have done in the following pages.
BRUCE BECK As an owner/operator for 30 years, Bruce Beck has had a hand in every aspect of DB&R’s Marketing Communications success. Despite being a one-man shop until May 2018, he has gone toe-to-toe with the industry’s biggest PR rms.
Under his guidance, DB&R has earned a reputation as a rm that can handle any challenge, large or small. During the rm’s history, the only type of contract Beck ever extended was a rm handshake, promising work with integrity. And, the clients followed, including Mesa West Capital, TruAmerica Multifamily and Jamison Services, which have thrived with Beck’s quality, cost-eective public relations and strategic marketing communications.
DB&R has experienced phenomenal growth in the last few years, including hiring its rst full-time and part-time employees. In 24 months, the company has added Knighthead Funding in Greenwich, CT, Columbia Pacic Advisors in Seattle and Longpoint Capital in Boston at more than a 20% revenue increase and growing.
KAREN BENOIT With Karen Benoit’s presence on its executive team, Kidder Mathews has seen an increase in its customer base; positively impacting the rm’s annual revenue and overall strategic plan. However, the true testament to Benoit’s leadership are the awards Kidder Mathews has received: more than 50 awards for being a “best
place to work” from numerous business journals. Overall, the rm has received more than 180 awards and recognitions under her marketing leadership.
In her 30-year tenure, most recently as senior vice president, Benoit has created the company’s brand strategy and grown its marketing presence by building an industry-leading marketing team. She has increased advertising, PR, marketing campaigns, market research, client-centric events and company conferences, and she additionally directed and launched four re-brand campaigns for Kidder Mathews during the past 15 years. Benoit’s most recent re-brand campaign along with the new site, kidder.com, was launched in May 2019, strategically coinciding with Kidder Mathews’ 50th anniversary celebration.
JOSEPH BUECHEL Newmark Knight Frank’s digital marketing manager, Joseph
Buechel has a passion for building a narrative through the production of rich, thought-provoking digital content that is easy to access, consume and share. Buechel has worn virtually every hat at one time or another and his skills make him a well-rounded marketing professional who stands out from his counterparts but never
The coupling of these skills with intelligence, a creative mindset and strong interpersonal communication have changed the GCS organization from the inside out. This is evident through Newmark’s Global Corporate Services blog, which turned three years old this past May. His skills and expertise have transformed the organization on multiple levels, elevating the prole of Newmark’s GCS organization both internally and externally.
Buechel designed an integrated digital marketing strategy focused on multimedia content development (blogs, podcasts, video, whitepapers, case studies, etc.) and on-site events and activities (conferences, tradeshows, speaking engagements, webinars, etc.). His personal motto is “there is no value in an enemy”.
Lindsay Burgee has played a major role in all of the forward-thinking digital initiatives recently implemented by Pacic Retail Capital Partners (PRCP). Her eorts led the rm to win the MAXI innovation award for its online-to-oine shopping platform, as well as its onsite digital media programming. As senior marketing consultant,
Burgee created and executed groundbreaking events, which generated a leasing pipeline of dozens of new tenants for PRCP centers. She set marketing strategies across all of the PRCP properties, created digital marketing initiatives, oversaw creative campaigns, worked on large-scale production and marketing events for the properties, and managed transactions for many new acquisitions.
She was an integral part of executing Taste for the Space across four markets. This food festival and competition attracted local culinary talent, developed relationships, and was attended by more than 1,000 people in each market.
Digital marketing inuencer James Calder is skilled at breaking down complex information and ideas into digestible, digital content. This is the formula he practiced in healthcare and brought to real estate and technology. Calder has written for publications such as Read Write, The Hungton Post, CRETech, Propmodo and Technical.ly
Calder has two decades of experience leading teams in marketing and communications. His current focus as director of marketing is to support the STRATIS sales team through marketing strategies, event planning and logistics for 25 to 30 annual real estate events, email marketing, PR and overall project management.
His greatest professional accomplishment during the past three years has been working with the team to grow and scale the brand. In that time, the team‘s work has expanded from 75,000 smart apartments in the US, to 350,000 globally, a 366% increase in installs. In addition, the team has reached a 10,000% increase in revenue during that same time period.
Najla Kayyem embraces transformation and innovative thinking on integration and new uses in retail in her role of senior vice president at Pacic Retail Capital Partners. She is passionate about helping inspire, teach and mentor the next generation. Kayyem connects people and has a real knack for working backwards to solve any problem.
Every two weeks, she hosts training on a dierent subject matter–empowering her teams and ensuring the marketing and communications professionals have a voice and a seat at the table. Kayyem promotes from within to give members the ability to move into new roles and experience new ways to aect positive change.
She has been an integral part in instituting a mural program across PRCP properties, as an integration of art experience and shopping centers. The movement has more recently begun trending across the country. Kayyem and her team are also responsible for a number of MAXI awards at ICSC including seven in 2018 and three in 2019.
Julie Chase is an expert in media relations and corporate reputation management throughout multiple industries, including real estate, retail, healthcare and consumer goods. Through eorts in public aairs, events and crisis communications, she uses her skills to advance the cause of her many clients.
Chase previously founded two communications rms, ChasePR and Chase Communications, which was acquired by DC-based Levick in 2017. While continuing to operate ChasePR, she is now the managing director of Streetsense, an experience-focused strategy, design and PR collective.
ADRIENNE FASANO Adrienne Fasano, chief marketing ocer, Americas for
Cushman & Wakeeld, has led a massive transformation of the company’s marketing function by shifting the mindset from one of “traditional marketer” to one of “growth marketer.” She redened sales methodology and reset the overall go-to-market strategy with a client-facing approach.
She has also been instrumental in reshaping the rm’s brand after merger activity that ultimately united three rms under the Cushman & Wakeeld banner. Fasano played a critical role in the launch of Cushman & Wakeeld’s new brand and corporate identity following its merger with DTZ in September 2015. Consolidating disparate and distinct brands into one cohesive, global voice, she eased integration and consolidation and helped position Cushman & Wakeeld for aggressive growth.
What’s more, Fasano has created a diverse, inclusive and performance-based culture that has positioned the rm to grow organically. Finally, she believes in investing in relationships and the success of others within her personal and professional life. Fasano has a lengthy track record of mentoring both male and female junior colleagues.
As senior director of Public Relations & Communications, Elliot Golan leads the internal and external messaging for Colliers International. He manages Colliers’ corporate communication and social media platforms, in addition to serving as a
conduit between the US business and global leadership teams. He also provides guidance on national advertising, paid placements and the Knowledge Leader blog, which establishes Colliers’ advisors as thought leaders.
Golan also has played an integral role in the launch of three large-scale projects within the last three years at Colliers. He led the content creation and curation for Colliers’ newly improved US website. He developed the communications/social media plan and messaging for the launch of Colliers’ recruiting program, the Power of BE. Golan also created the initial media/communications plan for the launch surrounding the Colliers Proptech Accelerator Powered by Techstars.
Golan is involved in several organizations outside of commercial real estate, serving as a member of KUOW public radio, a member of Washington Trails Association, and a member of Old Dog Haven.
As founder of GowerCrowd, Adam Gower has unpacked the power of digital marketing for an entire generation of commercial real estate sponsors; helping them to syndicate projects in a way never before possible, as commercial real estate sponsors were previously prohibited from utilizing the Internet to solicit
investors for projects.
Following Congress’s decision to permit the use of digital media marketing in 2012, Gower leveraged the industry’s lack of tools to eectively form capital on the internet.
Gower created the Investor Acquisition System to ll this gap. As the original and only capital formation system built exclusively for commercial real estate sponsors, the Investor Acquisition System provides both done-for-you and do-it-yourself digital marketing solutions for capital formation.
Truss’ marketing team under Lynette Grinter’s leadership has crafted an eective content strategy that weaves together blogs, public relations and thought leadership, all timed around public speaking engagements across the country. This has produced qualied leads and led to greater brand awareness. As vice president of marketing, Grinter is a member of the Truss senior management team which sets the strategic direction for the company. Before Grinter joined the rm, there was no marketing eort at Truss and no brand recognition. She initially performed all of the marketing roles before building a team of professionals as the company scaled up. Revenues have risen dramatically as a result.
During her tenure, the company has garnered several awards including a B2B recognition in 50 on Fire (2017), the CRETech RETAS winner for Overall Best Real Estate Tech Site (2017), Tech-Enabled Brokerage and Listing Marketplace (2018), a Chicago Innovation Award (2018) and the Disruptor Daily Future of Real Estate Award.
In retail, many people have succumbed to the idea that the “retail apocalypse” has begun and there are no new frontiers to be explored. Colleen Heydon, however, has turned the apocalypse into a retail renaissance. Working in close partnership with Centennial’s mall teams, she envisions the future and sees the
transformation of yesterday’s traditional malls into walkable urban villages of tomorrow. As senior vice president of marketing, Heydon intuitively understands how the marketing and communications discipline must adapt to provide an experience that future shoppers will embrace.
Heydon realizes that there is a paradigm shift and embraces taking calculated risks to more meaningfully connect with Centennial’s communities and exceed consumer expectations. This is evident in her work on the Hawthorn 2.0 and Fox Valley 2.0 redevelopment campaigns where Heydon collaborated closely with the rm’s development, leadership and mall teams to articulate and generate excitement about the next iteration of experiential retail.
As president of the Hoyt Organization, Leeza Hoyt is responsible for the strategic leadership of the rm. In the past three years, under her leadership, The Hoyt Organization has continued to thrive.
Hoyt is typically one of the go-to resources for public relations advisory and consulting advice for many CRE companies/projects around the country. Known as a behind-the-scenes inuencer, she has launched housing complexes in New York, shopping centers around the country and major mixed-use projects in downtown Los Angeles.The key to Hoyt’s success for the past 25 years are her tailored communications teams. Her teams have won more than 100+ industry awards including the Award of Excellence for the writer in residence program which was created for the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, the PRism award for the media relations program for a national architectural rm, and a PRism award for an integrated communications program designed and implemented for a national brokerage rm.
Dave Lewand has a 20+ year career dedicated to corporate, team and property-level commercial real estate marketing. As owner of Dave Lewand Marketing Services, Lewand has marketed 3,000-plus CRE properties on behalf of more than 300 CRE owners, developers, brokers and national retailers. Lewand is also the author
of creGROW, the rst WordPress theme dedicated to CRE.
He is the current marketing advisor to All In Drone, a national drone pilot network and video post-production team dedicated to an all-in-one service for property drone videos. His use of drones and time-lapse videography has been used to highlight more than 100 commercial real estate projects/properties via corporate websites and social media. From project inception to nish line, direct reports and outside vendors rely upon his experience as a project and people manager.
Lewand has 75% repeat business earned since 2009 and clients include Bradford Real Estate Companies, Cushman & Wakeeld, ICSC, Lee & Associates, Marcus & Millichap and Michigan Association of Realtors.
Long before sustainable construction became a CRE focus, Annemarie Marek, principal of Marek & Co., built her reputation by contributing viewpoints to the Dallas Business Journal, concerning the need for sustainable schools and commercial buildings. As the rst PR consultant in Texas to earn a LEED AP, Marek
co-founded a nonprot named Shared FUEL (Shared Focus on Urban Environmental Leadership). She received the Dallas Mayor’s Environmental Excellence Award as a “sustainopreneur”.
Marek has secured and served clients in the architecture, engineering and commercial construction industries, including TDIndustries, Hill & Wikinson, Hall Financial Group, MYCON General Contractors, PAGE and JQ Engineering. Her average client retention is 15 years, which speaks to the results that she delivers, including external communications programs, strategic thinking and networking skills.
Marek has taught business and global communications and PR courses as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Dallas for 16 years, while leading her rm’s consulting practice.
In a sea of tone-deaf media pitches, Karen Marotta strives to preserve the age-old notion that journalists and PR professionals could not exist without each other. With a passion for the industry, Marotta’s strategy for success is to understand the issues impacting the sector, and to oer access and insight to media inuencers with as much transparency as possible.
As senior director of communications at Greystone, Marotta serves as an advisor to the rm’s C-suite with more than 20 years of PR industry experience, and has worked to successfully raise the prole of the rm and its founder, Stephen Rosenberg.
By communicating the rm’s priorities and its level of expertise in areas of commercial real estate including aordable housing, many projects have served to move the needle for Greystone. To that end, Marotta worked to develop a relationship with The Wall Street Journal to garner coverage of a marquis recapitalization project that Greystone completed in Newark, NJ.
Magdalene Marvin is a futuristic, big picture strategist. Her drive to develop and execute tactical eciencies has propelled her team’s increased operational capacity and productivity, resulting in marketing best practices which are adopted by JLL teams on a national scale. Furthermore, her optimistic leadership has helped
to positively transform her team’s culture, support retention and hire additional team members.
As senior marketing manager of retail at JLL, Marvin is also involved in the company’s internal Women’s Business Network as the communications lead for Southern California. A clear desire to propel diversity and inclusion initiatives is apparent not only through the strategic communications and events she facilitates, but also in the way she conducts herself each day. The sincere eort she makes to lead and mentor at all levels has an immeasurable impact on all individuals around her. Simply put, Marvin will raise her hand and show up when it matters to her team and to her community.
Cherilyn Megill operates under a leadership model that creates camaraderie and instills a strong fellowship at all levels. As chief marketing ocer and senior vice president of marketing and communications, Megill leads all aspects of Phillips Edison & Co.’s
internal and external marketing eorts and is a founding member of PECO NOW (Networking Opportunities for Women). She is also active in PECO Community Partnership and PECO University.
Always looking for ways to innovate as a leader in the industry, Megill partnered with PECO’s CIO last year to launch a new Alexa App, which allows users to listen to the company’s Retail Intel Podcast and search for retail space across the company’s nationwide portfolio. Since 2016, her team has won seven silver and four gold MAXI awards, and the advertising campaign that Megill spearheaded was recognized in the Communicator Awards, the Fourteener Awards and the Hermes Creative Awards. In fact, the company has received more than 40 awards during Megill’s tenure. She was named a 2018 Woman of Inuence by GlobeSt.com.
Jason Meidhof oversees a marketing team that provides support for Colliers’ Real Estate Management Services (REMS) practices across the country. As a steward of Collier’s brand, Meidhof has solidied his role as an unparalleled expert in the eld of real estate management. Under his watch, Colliers’ REMS marketing
messages consistently and clearly support the company’s overall corporate strategy. Meidhof, who is national director of marketing and communications at Colliers International, has the unique position of being involved in a variety of marketing strategies across sectors, gleaning valuable information from those successes.
While he has accomplished many notable career successes during the past three years, Meidhof’s greatest accomplishment is his focus on the conceptualization and development of Neighborhood Curated by Colliers, a technology suite for tenant and client engagement. He found a creative way to alleviate pain points, and brought in external partners to help ll any potential gaps and provide solutions to complications that may arise.
Michael Millar combines an entrepreneurial mindset with an ability to identify and create opportunities. Millar established Real Estate Communications Group and co-founded Open Slate Communications to ll the industry void for strategic, hands-on “principal-to-principal” counsel.
Millar is the creative director/executive producer behind a commercial real estate forecast event that he has grown into the largest, longest-running event of its kind in Chicago and perhaps the country. The
event rst launched as a client-focused event for Grubb & Ellis’ Chicago oces when Millar was its rst internal director of marketing. Now in its 25th year, the event has transformed into an industry-wide conference that engages 55-plus speakers, attracts 100 sponsors and draws 1,200 CRE professionals.
And, the Investor Sentiment Report was rst conceived and executed for RCM as a means to stimulate client engagement and high-prole publicity. The concept also has been tailored for The Real Estate Center at DePaul University.
Cat Ray is at the forefront of the brand development strategy that put Matthews Real Estate Investment Services on the map, standing out from other brokerages. Ray has been with the rm since the beginning, working closely with its founder to build the Matthews brand around the founder’s vision. As brand marketing manager, she
has breathed new life into an age-old industry, paving the way for both marketing professionals and women in the business.
Ray’s greatest accomplishment within the last three years has been creating Matthews’ versatile brand and identity. She spearheaded the creation of its market research publication and magazine, which has more than 400,000 readers.
Ray is an essential part of the rm’s social media eorts and its new website, which is set to launch in early 2020. She has single-handedly grown Matthews’ follower count by 200% overall in the last three years. In 2017, Ray received a company award for innovation.
Joining Cresa four years ago, vice president of marketing Alison Scott serves as the liaison for more than 80 global oces. She won the 2017 Cresa Service Award given to the employee who added the most value to the company that year.
Initially, Scott found that the regional oces were not fully aligned with corporate’s marketing vision. She led the initiative to formalize Cresa’s marketing approach to ensure the collateral consistently adhered to corporate standards, developed corporate brand guidelines for each oce, streamlined the process for creating/issuing
marketing and PR materials and developed training for the marketing teams in dierent international locations. Scott managed a full brand refresh and new website completed in 2018. To lead this $1 million project, she collaborated with inuencer groups to build consensus, including Cresa’s global board of directors, emerging leadership council and strategic leadership council, during the 24-month period.
Since Melissa Swader joined SVN Desert Commercial Advisors in 2015, the top-ranked brokerage in Arizona has gone from $55 million in total volume sales and lease transactions to nearly $125 million. Her marketing campaigns, along with PR and media programs, have been a catalyst in brand awareness for SVN’s
fth-ranked oce, out of more than 210.
Swader, who is director of marketing, PR and administration, is also a small business advocate. She hosts a business networking event every quarter, gathering 70 to 100 people at each event, totaling more than 450 small businesses within the last three years. Additionally, Swader hosts a women entrepreneurs event, W.E. CAN, every month. She is a mentor in Arizona State University’s W.P Carey School of Business Entrepreneurship Program. Swader also assists aspiring journalists from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Her new business and marketing book will be published in late-2019, and she additionally has a new show, “Real Talk, Real Business, Real People.”
Sabrina Wottreng was hired as PR director for Kiser Group, KIG CRE and Enodo in 2017. Both KIG CRE and Enodo were acquired and Wottreng’s eorts in branding, promotion, marketing and thought leadership helped the companies receive national attention, necessary for acquisitions. She has since gone on to start her own PR business–Sabrina Wottreng Public Relations LLC–with accounts including Kiser Group, Luxury Living Chicago Realty and River City Apartments (formerly River City).
Throughout her three years with Kiser Group, she has exceeded the
results for previously retained agencies. In 2018, Wottreng secured 159 media placements for Kiser Group for listings, closings, new hires and company promotions, as well as ghostwriting thought leadership articles on Forbes.com. Most notably, she secured press placement in Crain’s Chicago Business for a large condo deconversion listing, which generated a $38 million buyer.
She additionally earned a place in the 2019 “30 Under 30” from the Publicity Club of Chicago.
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