DECIPHER™ Case Study 14:
Customer/Homebuyer Research
CA had to deploy DoortoDoor Survey techniques to Diagnose Architecture and Design.
In 1881, company founder John F. Shea established a small plumbing business. From those modest beginnings, his sons and their sons after them, have built J.F. Shea co. into the largest privately held builder in the nation. The company legacy of unbroken family management continues today. For over 130 years, members of the Shea family and their companies have carried on their founder’s tradition of caring and excellence. We are reminded that it still comes down to one basic principle: When you care, it shows.Since 1968, Shea Homes, an independent member of the Shea Family Of Companies, has built some of the finest new homes and master-planned communities for more than 73,000 families across America. The company is a leading new home builder. Among new home builders, Shea Homes has the distinction of being the largest privately held company, building new home communities in eight states, including California, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington.Shea Homes also builds Trilogy new home communities, designed to meet the needs and desires of Baby Boomers. In September 2007, J.D. Power and Associates ranked Trilogy by Shea Homes highest in customer satisfaction among the largest active adult community new home builders in 34 U.S. markets.Shea Homes is honored to be acknowledged by its peers for its excellence as a new home builder. In 2005, the National Association of Home Builders recognized Shea Homes as one of “America’s Best Builders”, and in 2007, the company was named “Builder of the Year” for new homes by Professional Builder Magazine.Shea Homes believes that nothing is more essential to the prosperity of the new home communities they build than the future success of today’s children. That’s why they are investing in the future of our children through literacy and urging parents to Read With Your Child 15 Minutes a Day. Introducing the joys of reading to children at an early age can help a child perform better in school and acquire a love of learning. It can also help them develop positive attitudes and healthy self-images. And as they mature, it will make a tremendous difference in their quality of life. It only takes 15 minutes a day of reading to have a profound impact. And by building their capability for success, Shea Homes, will also be building a strong foundation for our entire nation’s future.Shea Homes’ most satisfying success has been listening to its customers’ new home needs and providing quality workmanship in the finest neighborhoods and new home communities available today.
A Fortune 500 homebuilder commissioned Competitive Analytics to diagnose the design preferences of potential homebuyers in an exclusive area of Los Angeles. The homebuyers’ affluent and unique lifestyle preferences made the builder unsure of their product design and needed objective facts to back up their intuition before development could begin.
CA set out to accomplish door-to-door surveys in primary, secondary, and analogue new and established home communities throughout the extended competitive market area (CMA). The survey’s scope included: Demographic/psychographic characteristics, Income and wealth profiles, spending habits, preferences for high-end amenities, upgrades and options, interior design, and exterior design. This particular homebuyer demographic turned out to be difficult survey respondents. In fact, this particular survey resulted in the lowest survey per door ratio in CA history. However, the CA survey team invested in a material number of hours to acquire a suitable sample size.
A majority of the research findings were congruent to the client’s intuition that helped solidify the decision to target this niche homebuyer demographic. However, there were several unique findings that changed the client’s initial direction with regards to marketing strategy, design, and cost.
Return on Analytics
I have known David and Competitive Analytics for over six years. Shea Homes engaged Competitive Analytics numerous times to develop innovative market research in many of our submarkets (including Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Ventura County, Colorado, and Sacramento). I initially engaged Competitive Analytics in projects that included comprehensive focus groups and doortodoor surveys. Project objectives included optimizing product design, identifying future consumer product preferences and service preferences, identifying the costbenefit of unit and community amenities, and maximizing consumer sales experiences. Shea Homes also engages CA to provide two comprehensive monthly housing trend reports that are customized to assist our company with our strategic business planning. And we also engaged CA with regards to an econometric pricing model in Play Vista. Competitive Analytics always delivered their impressive analysis on time and with a level of detail unrivaled among companies that perform market and economic analysis. On several occasions, Competitive Analytics was given extremely aggressive deadlines for finding answers to very complex and difficult research or marketing questions... and on these occasions, David and his team continued to provide us timely,  detailed, and insightful analysis and advice. And typically, as a rule and not the exception, Competitive Analytics also provides additional observations and analysis outside the original scope that they feel would be of importance for our business. Competitive Analytics level of detail is unique among its competitors. CA is a true collaborator who has an amazing passion for mathematics, statistics, research, and strategy. In summary, David and his staff have extremely high standards. CA clearly produces a differentiated work product that in my eyes (and many others) is unrivaled. Their constant obsession with accuracy and research (via advanced mathematical approaches) coupled with a keen focus on collaboration and strong commitment to client satisfaction makes it easy for me to recommend CA to any business seeking insightful analytical support. Having said all of the above, the ultimate question is, Will I continue to use CA?. The obvious and enthusiastic answer is a strong, YES!”
– Bill Pisetsky, Vice President of Sales and Marketing
If you are interested in speaking with a client contact from this company about the work we have done with them, please contact us to submit your request and we will be happy to contact the client for you.