Neat idea. Cities looking to attract young, first-time homebuyers are finding new ways to market their appeal:
By Emily Sweeney, Boston Globe
It’s just past 9 p.m. at Vox Populi, a martini bar in Boston’s Back Bay. As the well-coiffed crowd swarms the bar, a young man in an unbuttoned polo shirt stands back, notices a brochure on the table nearby, and picks it up. Scanning it quickly, he nudges his buddy. Above the din, he shouts in his friend’s ear, ”It’s something about Lowell."
It’s this word-of-mouth exchange the City of Lowell is striving for.
This month, the city’s division of planning and development launched From Mills to Martinis: Look at Lowell Now, a series of cocktail parties geared to twenty- and thirtysomething home buyers.
At each event, city employees, realtors, and developers descend upon swank nightspots in an attempt to lure Bostonians 30 miles to Lowell’s old textile mills, which are being converted to luxury condos.
Party planners set up posters, stacks of brochures, and a spread of hors d’oeuvres — crackers, fruit, cubes of cheese — to help generate buzz about Lowell’s real estate among young professionals.
With more than 500 renovated lofts for sale in that city, ”We said, why don’t we go to where our target market is . . . take our show on the road," said J. Matthew Coggins, Lowell’s assistant city manager and director of the division of planning and development.
It’s called ”viral marketing," said Meghan O’Sullivan, head of the public relations firm working for the City of Lowell. The concept has been used by Internet companies, as well as the entertainment industry, clothing companies, and other businesses seeking the coveted ”hip" status among younger crowds and a consumer base that markets to itself, by word of mouth.