With Thanksgiving behind us, we focus our attention on the Christmas and New Year’s holiday celebrations. Along with budgeting, it’s always a best practice to review each department in the company to look for opportunities to innovate and improve. Marketing is certainly a key area for brokers to remain focused on.
We’ve seen a lot of bold moves made across the industry in marketing. Certainly, News Corp’s acquisition of Opcity was noteworthy, at $210 million. Opcity gives News Corp a product that markets real estate services though digital advertising to drive relocation leads to real estate brokers. Clearly, they’re bullish on the ability for digital marketing to drive referrals. Many brokers are seeing similar results from Adwerx. In addition, we’ve seen significant digital engagement continue to climb for our Amarki customers, who are using our one-click property and personal marketing. In all of these cases, automation of marketing off of data feeds and integration into reporting and lead routing functionality are the secret sauce.
Like everyone, I’ve been watching and studying Compass carefully. They’re investing heavily in marketing support for their agents, offering an in-house, agency-type service that’s attractive for top-producing agents. This was a key strength that Pacific Union bolstered for Compass. While Pacific Union has long considered their marketing to be a center of excellence, they’ve also created an amazing depth of community and market content that’s heavily used in their lifestyle marketing.
Compass has focused on the process of developing marketing for an agent, which is an important recruiting and retention tool. Chase International in Lake Tahoe is very impressive in this regard, too, a trend that I feel President and CEO Shari Chase started a decade ago. Firms that focus on elegant co-branding between the company and the agent seem to pull ahead in the market, and I believe that those conversations between the individual agent and the marketing department are what make brokerages sticky. While many firms have shuttered their marketing departments, this is a place where investment can pay dividends for brokers.
Digital marketing is continuing to push forward as the hottest topic among marketers. The lure is driven by reports of massive impressions; yet, strangely, print is still dominating in overall marketing effectiveness. We survey agents regularly and invite them to rate the marketing tools they believe to be most effective. Not surprisingly, the yard sign is the top lead generator. Right behind the yard sign are flyers, with a strong showing from postcard mailers. It’s interesting to note that agents don’t see digital marketing living up to the hype. While they’re getting a lot of post impressions and clicks, the lead volume is nowhere close to print.
It’s clear that brokers can rarely pay for marketing given the pressure on GCI with high splits. So, brokers like Cory Shepard at Coldwell Banker West are supporting their marketing team and designers with marketing software that makes print and digital marketing for agents easy. Business Intelligence (BI) tools in software recognize marketing events and trigger artificial intelligence (AI) engines to prompt agents to market. For example, when new photos come in from a professional photographer, the system knows that new marketing materials need to be produced, and the software will develop them and send them to the agent. That email trigger draws the agent into the marketing plan for the property using the new pictures. They can accept it as-is and order a selection of marketing materials, or click on anything to make changes inline. Inline editing means that the agent doesn’t need to download the marketing piece or call the marketing department to make changes—they can do it with their mouse or tablet, giving them the ability to connect, manage, customize and produce.
Happy holidays from all of us at CREELiT, makers of Amarki.
Joe Martinez is the chairman and CEO of CREELiT. For more information, please visit www.creelit.com.
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