What’s More Effective Than a Focus Group? This Community Planning Seminar.

Each month, we explain a type of research and how it improves communities. Need solutions? Email research@promatura.com; we’ll help your vision succeed.

15-second summary: ProMatura’s Community Planning Seminars help predict the best unit mix, pricing, and amenities for your development—with a smaller margin of error than traditional focus groups. Here’s how.

It’s painful when it happens. The brand new, “perfect” community fails to thrive. We’ve seen it many times. You probably have too. Maybe the site is in the perfect location. Maybe a market feasibility study showed strong demand. To the developers, the community probably seemed like a great bet. But one type of research was skipped. Because of that, the market said no thanks.

When developing a community, it’s essential to understand what people in your target market truly want—and what they’ll pay for. This means not only researching the location, the demographics, and your likely competitors, but also what people want in the community.

What floor plans will sell? What unit size will people choose? What amenities will draw them in?

One way to research questions like these is to ask people directly, through a focus group. But there’s a more effective way.

ProMatura has pioneered using a research method called conjoint analysis in the housing market. We employ it in our Community Planning Seminars, as well as in internet and mail surveys. It’s been so effective that we’ve gained some imitators lately.

Here’s how the pioneers do it.


You want to develop a community—or expand your existing community—and fill it up fast. Your feasibility research shows that there’s a market for your idea. Now you need to know what details will entice people to pack up and move there.


ProMatura’s Community Planning Seminars can help predict the exact community—down to floor plans, amenities, and pricing—that will sell in your area.

Alternate Situation:

You’re confident your development will work, but the feasibility research shows no demand. A ProMatura Community Planning Seminar can delve deeper and uncover whether there’s pent-up demand for your specific product.

In a nutshell:

When people buy a complex product like a home, they don’t consider one aspect at a time—like price, amenities, or size. Instead, they consider the whole package at once. So predicting whether people will buy (or rent) any particular residence is a complex process.

That’s where our conjoint analysis surveys come in. This type of research requires participants to consider a variety of factors when choosing what they want. It reveals not only what they’ll pay for but what they’re willing to give up in order to get the price they want.

Our Community Planning Seminars incorporate the conjoint analysis survey, along with a special presentation and discussions. Through this process, we can predict, with a high degree of probability, your most successful choices for things like:

  • Floor plans
  • Unit size
  • Level of finish
  • Amenities
  • Unit pricing
  • Premium pricing for views
  • Payment types (purchase, rent, entrance fee, etc.)

ProMatura’s Community Planning Seminars—often used in conjunction with our internet, phone, and mail surveys—involve only people who are likely to move to your community. Because of this, you end up with a bonus lead list afterward.

Why ProMatura’s Community Planning Seminars work:

Results from ProMatura’s Community Planning Seminars have been used to build successful communities across the globe. Our audits comparing Seminar results to actual sales data find that the predictions are accurate. This is because of two main reasons:

  • The Seminars involve more people than focus groups, so the margin of error is smaller.
  • At the same time, because the surveys incorporate conjoint analysis, we don’t need 1,000 people to complete them for the results to be statistically valid.
  • Seminar participants are people who would consider moving to your community.

Specialty sectors:

ProMatura’s Community Planning Seminars work best for:

  • All-age residential communities
  • Master planned communities
  • 55+ / active adult / “senior apartments”
  • Independent living (including in CCRCs)

Learn more:

To chat about how ProMatura’s Community Planning Seminars can help make sure your development thrives, please get in touch with Edie Smith, executive vice president and director of research: 662-234-0158 or edie@promatura.com.

Image by websubs from Pixabay.

About Leigh Ann Hubbard

As ProMatura's director of outreach and editorial development, Leigh Ann spearheads the firm's marketing strategy and helps ensure that ProMatura's reports and studies adhere to high editorial standards. Her background is in journalism and marketing consultation, specializing in health and aging.

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