Ivada L. Santoso: It’s who you know: Understanding your network and what they need

The CEO of Prakarsa Semesta Alam and marketing director of Sekar Artha Sentosa, both apartment projects, puts that success down to understanding her network and the market.

Marketing and networking are two inseparable sources in selling high-value products, especially property,” Ivada said of reaching out to prospective customers and investors.

“If you do it right, you can educate them to become buyers and investors.”

Educating consumers and investors means informing them that the product on offer bears the qualities that fit the needs of a particular individual or business, she adds. She uses her current projects as examples. Sekar Artha Sentosa is developing the Nifarro Apartment, while Prakarsa Semesta Alam is developing Essence Darmawangsa Apartment. Both companies are the property arms of holding firm Saligading Bersama.

“Our target market for Nifarro Apartment is middle class segment. Aside from educating our prospective customers on the benefits of vertical living, it is also crucial to listen to them so we can find the best solution of the productsIvada 1 are looking for,” she said.

“For example, we would recommend Nifarro for a young professional with a family, as this integrated complex offers a one-stop living destination, where residential units, commercial spaces and a three-star hotel share the same premises. For the business investors, we have to carefully learn how their retail products can meet the demands of the market segment,” Ivada, 45, explained.

In her capacity as CEO, Ivada supervises all divisions of Nifarro Apartment, from legal to project financing and marketing. With over 100 staff under her leadership, it is her responsibility to ensure the company’s daily routine runs as planned.

Ivada also leads the marketing division of Essence Darmawangsa, a premium property with an upscale target market. She has been involved with the development of Essence Darmawangsa since the commencement of the project in 2007, and Nifarro since 2010 – the projects are slated to be completed in 2016 and 2015, respectively.

Buyer aware

Ivada always emphasizes to her staff the power of one’s network as a crucial tool in marketing products.

“The network is also what determines how we create customers and investors. Investing in Nifarro requires a much lower amount of funds compared to Essence Darmawangsa. In utilizing the power of network for the business objective, I keep reiterating to my subordinates the importance of identifying prospective buyers. Trying to sell a high-end product to someone from middle class segment is just a waste a time.”

Fully understanding the network creates better customers. She cites the example of green living, a trend-setter in the property industry.

“To keep up with the trend, we set aside 70 percent of the 2.8-hectare Nifarro property as a for green area, and 75 percent at the 5.2-hectare Essence Darmawangsa. Well, looking at the current global climate threat, it’s the time anyway for all of us to adopt a sustainable green lifestyle.”

Ivada 2Ivada’s previous roles in various property companies undoubtedly contributed to her leadership and marketing know-how. Upon her return from her graduate studies in the United States in 1995, she directly embarked on the property sector as her career choice. The determined Ivada gradually climbed from a marketing manager position all the way up to her current position.

Her outstanding ability in building her network was also demonstrated during her six-year stint as associate director at Ray White Commercial, prior to joining the property arm of Saligading Bersama in 2005.

“I joined Ray White in 1999, during which the Indonesian economy was still experiencing after the 1998 crisis. But I met the right network that really helped my job as associate director, which was playing role as a real estate agent and auctioneer,” recalled Ivada, who actively involves in Real Estate Indonesia (REI) activities.

Married to Firman Santoso, the couple is blessed with two daughters, Annette, 12, and the 7-year-old Freya, 7. Swimming and jogging are her main sport activities with the family. Ivada travels a lot, including on business and company outing. Her favorites destination are Paris, Barcelona and Bali.

“But there is an incomparable source of happiness when travelling with family, especially the family ties we are building while on vacation,” she said.

“Despite my busy career life, as a parent, I never abandon my responsibility as a mother.”

By Aulia R. Sungkar. Published in The Jakarta Post, January 4, 2014. 

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