Ivada L. Santoso: Marketing Hi-end Property

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IT is no coincidence that Ivada L. Santoso landed the position of marketing director at PT Prakarsa Semesta Alam, the developer of Essence on Darmawangsa Residence, South Jakarta. In fact, Ivada, who was born in Jambi, in 1968, is not a new face in the property world at all.  

During her university years at Trisakti University, Jakarta, from 1986 to 1993, she studied interior design. She later gained a Master’s degree in Business Administration in Finance at Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma, U.S. in 1995.  

When she returned from the States the property business in Indonesia was moving briskly. Ivada soon joined BHS Land as marketing manager, where she honed her skills in the property business in general as well as in finance and marketing. “Frankly speaking, I find the property business extremely enjoyable,” she said.  

She worked for BHS Land for three years until the Asian financial crisis. Ivada’s endurance was put to the test as well as her problem-solving ability. Ivada had a tough task marketing land and property as customers at the time were reevaluating their investment priorities and clearly property was not on top of the list.  

However, her determination and networking helped her gain customers. Similarly, when she moved to PT Cipta Sarana Usada, a property developer headquartered on Jl. Kemang Raya, South Jakarta in 1998, as marketing manager she had to face new challenges. Here she had to head a totally new team while at the same time she had to learn about a totally new and different market segment compared with the previous company as here the property was of premium class.  

In this company she employed various marketing strategies. Networking was still important, but it was more important to assure potential investors of the benefits offered. She brought the same strategy to PT Ray Wahid Lelang which she joined as associate director in 1999. The company, which is a real estate agent and auctioneer, is better known as Ray White Commercial.  

At Ray White, her skills were again put to the test as besides being a property agent she has to know everything about property auctions. However, her focus was still within the world of property. Her previous work experience has been useful in her current position as marketing director, which she has held since 2005.

“The difference between the previous scope of work and the current job is that I used to deal mostly with assets belonging to state-owned enterprises that had a captive market, but today I face a completely commercial market,” said Ivada, who is married to Firman Santoso. The couple have two daughters, Annete, 7, and Freya, 2.  

The project she is working on now, Essence, is a prestigious private residential resort located in Dharmawangsa area in South Jakarta on 5.2 hectares of land. Only 25 percent of the land is allocated for the residences, while the remaining 75 percent is set aside as a green area. It is composed of four towers: The South, The East, The North and The Eminence; exclusive serviced apartments and an exclusive club house.

“Essence is a prestigious residential private resort as it is surrounded by elite residential areas such as Darmawangsa, Kemang, Pondok Indah, Simprug and Permata Hijau,” explained Ivada.  

If the key word in property investment is location, then Essence really fulfills that prerequisite. Its location is very strategic as it is only a 10-minute drive from here to Jakarta’s Central Business District, modern hospitals, reputable international and national schools, exclusive hotels and so forth.

“While other developers are striving to build superblocks or mixed use apartments (one complex with various facilities), we do not need to do that because all such facilities are already extremely close to Essence,” said Ivada.  

This is the main reason why the developer is concentrating on the exclusivity of the apartments. The interior of every unit at Essence features a combination of classic elegant and modern features and exquisite materials, such as marble floors and a parquet floor for every bedroom. There is also a walk-in wardrobe, bathroom with rain shower, standing bathtub, mirror and complete kitchen set. Also available is the access card system and CCTV.  

All these exclusive features are achievable because Essence is working jointly with some of the best international consultants, such as Peddle Thorp International (PTI) Australia for architectural design, EDAW Australia for landscaping, Barry Arnold Associates for structural design, Jones Lang LaSalle for building management and a leading local leasing agent, PT Properti Advisori Indonesia.  

While previously Ivada would be pleased when she closed a deal or made a successful sale, she now derives her satisfaction from seeing the apartments materialize. Of course it is the result of more than one individual’s work. It is the result of solid teamwork involving various fields. Selling hi-end apartments priced between Rp 2.5 and Rp 11 billion is indeed a challenge. “It is completely different from selling standard property, and therein lies the challenge,” said Ivada.  

Ivada realizes that apartment sales cannot be based solely on sales presentations. The potential customer has to be able to feel the actual atmosphere of Essence. He or she should experience the ambience before making the decision to purchase the unit.

Thus, Ivada applies what is called experiential marketing. She regularly gathers Jakarta’s target market for experiential marketing events. Ivada’s strategy has paid off as 70 percent of the apartments, which will be ready in 2011, have been sold out. Even the first stage apartments have also been totally sold out! (Burhan Abe)  

The Jakarta Post, December 03, 2008

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