There’s always something to howl about

Are you a Marketer, Advertiser or a Salesperson?

When you see a commercial on television, are you being sold to or being marketed to? When you’re at a sporting event and you see the Goodyear blimp, are you being sold to or being marketed to? When you see a billboard on the highway…well you see where this is going.Successful businesses are able to definitively understand and integrate these components while being able to discern the differences in each of these valuable areas.

Marketing is typically the creative source of ideas to be implemented to feature a product or service to the consumer. Think of marketing as a large umbrella under which all demographic, psychographic and segmentation analysis takes place. It also covers market quantification, determination of who may be competition and what reaction competitors may have. It serves as a catch bin for all of the ancillary components such as promotional marketing, event marketing, integrated marketing, branding, distribution and positioning.

Realtor Marketing example: I have a house that I need to sell.

  • It is located in an upper-scale neighborhood (75% of the homeowners have a household income exceeding $100,000)
  • mainly white (82% white 12% black, 4% Hispanic, and 2% other),
  • predominantly occupied by homeowners (94% owner occupied, 6% tenant occupied
  • there is substantial product saturation and competition as there are 22 homes for sale in a half mile radius of this home
  • competitive homes all have pools and 80% are represented by Realtors and the others are FSBO’s
  • my idea is to position this home as an “executive’s dream home”
  • I want to brand this home as an “oasis from the hustle and bustle of work”.
  • I plan to implement a promotion featuring an online component, participation at a local event and utilizing the surrounding community to convey the message stated above

Marketing is the development and design of a cohesive plan to deliver a message to the consumer regarding the product or service you wish to promote and sell.

Advertising is the actual delivery and communication of your marketing message. Advertising provides you, the marketer, with an opportunity to pronounce your marketing message by the utilization of selected mediums.

That message can be delivered in a myriad of ways. You have the choice of using a wide array of advertising vehicles such as Television, Radio, Newspaper, Internet, Promotional marketing strategies, Special Events, and many more niche focused deliveries.

While there are many advertising options available for the marketer, not all may be appropriate and the advertising has to be focused towards your pre-determined target audience. (i.e. you really should not be marketing Depends to twenty-somethings)

If you are going to market and advertise a home it should be marketed to those who are most likely to live or invest in that home. A shotgun approach is wholly inefficient.

Realtor Advertising example: The prudent marketer knows through research where to target the demographic that is most likely to buy the house they are attempting to sell. Once a budget is determined, the successful marketer would implement an advertising program that targets those most likely buyers.

If this were a home that you wanted to sell for the best price possible in the shortest amount of time where would you advertise? What would you spend and for what duration and frequency would you continue the advertising in an attempt to obtain a buyer who fits the pre-determined target demographic?

The sales process is the culmination of a well thought out marketing plan delivered by means of effective communication that allows you to convert the resultant prospect.

It is important to notice where the sales process takes place. Marketing has a chronologically inherent pecking order. It is imperative for Realtors to understand how marketing, advertising and sales are three separate but interdependent components of a successful consumer-centric business.

By successfully and strategically combining marketing, advertising and sales, a business will experience ongoing growth. Acting to the contrary can actually hamstring growth and financial gain.

Realtors typically pride themselves as being good sales people. A successful Realtor is proficient in building relationships and trying to foster those relationships into future sales.

However in today’s real estate business environment, an agent who relies on an Amway style of doing business by relying on a “sphere of influence” or referral based consumer acquisition model may find themselves working in an antiquated business model that lacks the necessary combination of marketing, advertising and sales. While SOI and referrals may be productive components, they lack the vertical architecture of a defined marketing, advertising and sales process.

The reason many real estate agents may resist the implementation of an overall marketing process is because of lack of capital investment. The current real estate business model allows entry for those who are not adequately funded to transact business .

Many of the educational programs and broker initiated training is to show agents how to get by without actually spending a great deal of money. In fact much of what is taught is to educate agents how to take advantage of free marketing opportunities.

The result is that with 1 million plus agents, many of whom vying and utilizing the same type of strategy, it has become hard for an agent to differentiate themselves from competition… which is actually counter-productive to any marketing plan. Sameness is not conducive to success in business.

Furthermore, the problems of the traditional real estate business model is that today’s consumer is becoming increasingly “sales resistant”. They don’t want the knock on the door. They don’t want the phone call. They want service. They want to do business with people they have given permission to market to them.

Are you delivering a message that will entice a consumer to contact you? Since most real estate searches begin online are you providing the consumer with a way to contact you directly online? When they are ready to act upon the marketing message you delivered are you ready to respond in timely fashion to convert them?

This may be hard for some agents and this article is not meant for all. It’s intent is to speak to those agents who desire to reach top-producer level.

In speaking to top producing agents across the Country we are finding that to enlarge your business from 10 or less sides per year to 100 to 200 or more sides per year, you have to begin transitioning from being a sales only real estate agent to an agent that has the capacity to differentiate themselves competitively with the design, development, implementation and investment in a comprehensive marketing operational process.

It is irrefutable that the real estate industry is in a state of flux. The ability for the average agent to survive the current state of the business is going to be directly proportional to their ability to reach the consumer with a well thought out message and for the consumer to respond affirmatively to that message.

Realtors who are resistant to change shall succumb to it. The overall marketing process is not just about providing superior customer service. It’s not about what you have done in the past or even what you are doing now. It’s not about how great your blog or website is. It’s not about how many family, friends or associates know what you do for a living.

Ask yourself today, do you have a message about yourself or product (inventory)?

How will you convey your message to your specific target audience in a way that differentiates you from your competition? do you expect the consumer to respond, and what you will do when they do respond?

Marketing is about developing a pertinent message to your target audience in a manner that compels them to take notice so that you can convert the respondent into a sale.

Top producing real estate agents know this.

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  • A custom weblog can be your home’s 24-hour real estate salesperson on the world-wide web


    8 Comments so far

    1. Rogan McGillis March 30th, 2008 10:35 am

      We are in a transition period there is not doubt about that. This is really good information, not just for real estate agents but for LO’s as well. Thanks!

    2. [...] Are you a Marketer, Advertiser or a Salesperson?, by Barry Cunningham. [...]

    3. [...] Archives There’s always something to howl about « Are you a Marketer, Advertiser or a Salesperson? [...]

    4. Kevin Tomlinson April 1st, 2008 7:34 am

      Spot on, Barry!

    5. Dave Weiss April 1st, 2008 8:32 am

      Hey Barry.

      I posted a comment a couple of days ago, but it seems to have been lost in the ether.

      From our conversations on Real Estate Radio USA, you know what I say about differentiation and thinking in big, bold new ways about everything you do.

      There is no better business building method than being unique. People can buy into differentiation. Look at all the great brands out there – Apple, Mercedes, Nordstrom, Trump, Coach (which is really Sara Lee!) the list is endless. They all produce or sell things in a different way than everyone else, which is why they are successful.

      These brands also carry premium on price. So while there is downward pressure on commissions, there is no way to justify a premium commission unless you market yourself and your clients’ properties in unique and different ways.

      BTW, we just sat down for a chat with some interesting people here in Chicago, and we are formulating how we take Curb Cut Media in an even bigger and better direction.

      Stay tuned.

    6. Barry Cunningham April 1st, 2008 10:31 am

      Kevin: Thanks and great interview yesterday. We’ll have to get together and do lunch on SoBe.

      Dave: Branding and being special is such a simple copncept but so overlooked. You guys have it down with the video presentations!

    7. Kevin Tomlinson April 1st, 2008 3:29 pm

      I was told I said “like” alot.

      I had a good time. Thanks for having me.

    8. Kevin Tomlinson April 1st, 2008 7:13 pm

      I was told I said “like” a lot.

      I had a good time. Thanks for having me.