Photo: (From left to right) Kevin Bhawnani (Senior Manager of Strategy & Operations), Glen Buttigieg (Vice President of Sales), Serena Quaglia (Vice President of Strategy), Mark Cohen (Managing Partner), Natasha Alibhai (Strategy & Business Development Consultant), Hansol Kim (Director of Operations), Onkar Dhillion (Vice President of Operations), and Tony Sbrocchi (Director of Business Development). Image courtesy of TCS Marketing Systems.
After the pandemic sent shockwaves through the pre-construction real estate market in 2020, closing sales centres and postponing project launches, 2021 brought about renewed activity as sales and marketing teams were forced to adjust to shifting buyer preferences and product offerings.
TCS Marketing Systems embraced change in 2021, undergoing a dramatic rebranding that included adding new personnel, automating internal processes, building an in-house research department, and entering new markets with a variety of innovative product types.
Livabl caught up with Mark Cohen, Managing Partner at TCS Marketing Systems, and Serena Quaglia, Vice President of Strategy, to reflect on some of the highlights from 2021 and look ahead to what’s in store for 2022.
Looking back on this year, what were the biggest moments for TCS Marketing Systems? Are there any sales milestones, team additions or achievements that stand out to you in 2021?
MC: The year started off with lots of uncertainty as we navigated through another lockdown but I am very proud of our team, who managed to pull off several launches in the spring and continued the momentum through the year.
We saw tremendous success at Début Condos in Barrie, a stunning project with future releases planned for 2022, as well as high demand for our mid-rise projects like Kazmir Condos and Everhome. As a company, we went through a rebrand and added some stellar personnel, which is comprised of a management team full of veterans with in-house developer experience.
TCS Marketing Systems rebranded in the summer with a new website, services and research offerings. How has this relaunch contributed to the success of the company over the past six months or so?
MC: TCS Marketing Systems offers a unique advantage to our clients as every member of the executive team has years of experience working in-house for some of the GTA’s largest developers in various roles such as marketers, researchers, architects, strategists, tech experts and sales personnel.
Growing the team and rebranding was part of a bigger strategy where we take on larger projects, including unique offerings like Rossmont Green, and cover more markets across Ontario. We have a full roster of project launches planned for 2022 and are geared up to come out of the gates with some marquee projects to start the year.
What were some notable project launches that took place during 2021? How would you describe buyer and investor behaviour in 2021, and how did it evolve over the year?
MC: There was a lot of optimism in the air by the summer and projects were selling out in weeks as confidence started to return to the city. Buyers were gravitating more to mid-rise and townhomes, and the appeal of increased space was a clear priority. With more people working from home, units that offered a flex space and outdoor space were popular with end-user buyers as well as investors.
Condos rose in popularity across the GTA as affordability remains a factor, and with a flurry of launches after the initial lockdowns there was a frenzy of buying that slowed down later in the year.
While the 2021 market is still far from the norm in many ways, we saw the reopening of sales centres, new project launches and in-person meetings. Looking to early 2022, what market and sales trends would you forecast for the first and second quarter? Are we looking at further normalization in the market?
SQ: As I write this, we are facing a new variant that is dominating the news, but if we learned anything from the past 18 months it is that we are prepared for any curves in the road ahead. Virtual sales are here to stay, and at TCS Marketing Systems we have a great operations team that has set up our projects to succeed using all the new tools and technology.
In terms of the market, there is every indication that demand is still strong and the tertiary markets are getting stronger. But with construction costs going up and lots of talk about inflation, I think the 2022 market is going to be very similar to the one we just experienced.
What does TCS Marketing Systems have in store for the new year?
SQ: Following a red-hot 2021 we have a very busy 2022 planned, with over a dozen projects launching in the first half of the year. From lakeside living to eco-friendly passive house projects, we have something for everyone. In addition, we have second phases coming up for projects in Barrie and Etobicoke.
Our bespoke approach to pre-construction sales and marketing strategy has given us the opportunity to work on some very exciting projects, and we look forward to their success in the new year.
How do you see TCS Marketing Systems evolving as a company in 2022? Do you have any new projects or goals laid out for the new year?
MC: With over 38 years of experience in pre-construction sales I have seen it all, and as a company we take pride in being trailblazers. We have built out a strong in-house research department that we believe is a true asset to our clients, and continue to integrate new technology to make the sales process more efficient.
With lots of exciting projects planned for 2022, we will continue to build on our reputation as a team who has a track record of setting new standards for pricing through a deep understanding of the market, pro formas and the projects we work on.