When you list a property, have you ever considered who the REALTOR® is marketing to?
Many times, we ask for marketing plans from a REALTOR® so that we can compare one service to another. Yet, how do we make a decision?
Is it based on the professionalism of the presentation? That would certainly have some merit. If nothing else it would indicate the pride that someone takes in their work. But it may also reveal the thought process, which is critical.
As a development consultant, I would often enter the first meeting with a potential client to interview them. I would want to find out more about their product, what their business plan objectives were, was there another step in their business cycle after this particular development or phase was sold. Then at a subsequent meeting I would ask details about their marketing program.
One of the biggest misconceptions about marketing is that it is simply advertising correctly. Marketing, however, is a strategy to deliver the appropriate product to the right audience (people) at the right price, the three P’s if you want to remember it easily. Yet, too often, a person’s marketing strategy is boiled down to a few advertisements which are actually a series of tactics designed to help reach the positive result of the marketing strategy. They may or may not be the correct tactics and cannot certainly be spread across the board as an answer to all problems.
I call this “generalization” of marketing success the “Whistler Syndrome”. When I was running my consulting company, almost every competitor I had was ex-Whistler and would simply regurgitate a plan that worked at Whistler. That plan however, was almost guaranteed not to work anywhere else, because, everywhere else is not Whistler. The evidence of that is in remnant marketing programs at Golden or Revelstoke or even Panorama ski areas.
Getting back to the business of consulting, when I would ask the developer about their marketing plan, inevitably, at the time, I would get the answer that they advertise in a group of magazines. The next question of course, would be, why? The only answer I received was, “Because my competitors do.”
My next question would be, “How many times did it make the phone ring last month?” and the usual answer would be, “I don’t know” or “none”. The automatic response from me was “Cancel the campaign” at which point I would get a myriad number of excuses as to why they could rationalise an advert in a magazine being so important.
So when you see the REALTORS® marketing plan.. be prepared to go a little deeper. Why are they suggesting that approach? What information do they have to support the fact that their tactics will deliver results?
Everyone is looking for results from a pie that is smaller today than it was several years ago. We are always looking for the magic pill, the solution that can overcome the challenges, and yet, as I have stated before, if there are no Buyers looking for that property, all of the advertising tactics in the world will simply result in frustration.
To be successful, you have to respond to a demand or create a demand. In the retail real estate profession we are responding to a demand. We don’t have the cohesive marketing prowess and resources to create a demand. Red Bull I believe did that with a first year marketing budget of $80 million or so when they created an “Energy Drink” market.
So if we look at today's market, the two driving forces to orient tactics to are:
- Other REALTORS®
- Internet presence
Most clients will come from one of these two areas. So make sure your marketing plan talks about how to enhance relationships with other REALTORS® when it comes to your specific listing and that your internet presence is where it needs to be in terms of brand, image and description. Most clients are very smart and very well educated before they talk to a REALTOR®. If they saw your listing and it had no description, a bad description, poor photographs, no photographs, poor video or no video, you are already in a defensive position. In a slow market, that is not a good place to be.