Few things better symbolize the challenges of effective marketing for real estate professionals than a Sunday open house: Hours of solitude spent messaging colleagues, reading emails, making calls, and, in a high-tech version of a cargo cult where signage bombards major cross-streets and boulevards, a realty executive awaits the arrival of qualified, interested buyers.
The problem with that tactic, along with the wasteful sums spent on radio and TV commercials, billboards, print inserts, online advertising and other promotional efforts, is that there is no direct way to motivate -- and then gauge the success of -- these campaigns. Thus, our stoic real estate professional sits or stands -- alone -- watching the secondhand of his or her wristwatch sweep the minutes and hours away, in an increasingly desperate wish that the Gods of Marketing answer his or her petitionary prayers for clients.
In the absence of these requests, real estate agents can transform an open house into a fun house of business engagement, networking and discussion with top prospects. By using the ultimate incentive, which appeals to people of all interests, there exists the ultimate catalyst to attract and retain the ultimate leads: Free money.
By positioning caches of digital cash throughout a 50-kilometer radius, an exclusive domain in which a real estate professional may create, reproduce, change and observe the efficacy of this fun house approach to running an open house, science displaces the cargo cult; the phrase coined -- and memorialized in a 1974 Caltech commencement address by the late Richard Feynman -- as a reminder of our collective temptation to ascribe explicable events to numinous forces of luck, divination and intervention by the universe on our behalf.
I write these words from experience because, as the Founder of The SpareCash application for Android and iOS, I understand the many ways mobile technology can eliminate the trial-and-error of conventional marketing and introduce a much-needed element of control into this dynamic.
Put another way, it is science, in all its quantifiable and reproducible glory, that can make the real estate profession a model of intelligent branding; an example of how to husband resources, direct people to particular points of interest (as a way to expose individuals to valuable but otherwise overlooked sections of a property), and as a means of tabulating the outcome of various scenarios, based on the positioning of these caches.
Welcome, in other words, to the world of scientific marketing, which forgoes the expensive, pseudo-scientific practices of traditional outreach; a wholly reactive mixture of focus groups, questionnaires, telephone surveys and emotive responses, as displayed by a series of colored graphics -- a crest-and-trough chart of a person's use of a dial attached to some device that allegedly yields crucial data -- all of this, recorded to uncover the most granular of details, is, in a word, useless.
Marketing-as-an-Adventure: The Practical Benefits for Real Estate Professionals
This emphasis on marketing-as-an-adventure, where a real estate agent can customize a map (with designated spots of digital cash) and gather real-time intelligence about when (and for how long) or why visitors go to one area over another, is also a subtle -- and successful -- means of emphasizing everything of importance associated with a property, including: An acclaimed public school system, parks and nearby attractions, and the civic life of a community in its entirety, from independent bookstores and pharmacies to the small-town, olfactory machines of bakers and chefs that evoke a bygone era.
This use of science for the betterment of business is the overriding theme to this discussion. It empowers individual professionals, and it can recast marketing as a fun and exciting scientific enterprise.
The materials produced as a result of this strategy will make real estate professionals more communicative and successful. Those strengths are a snapshot of the future of this industry, a preview of the power of technology and the fulfillment of the human desire for adventure.
|Dale Scott Marion is an entrepreneur, and the recipient of various design and technology development awards. His latest venture, SpareCash (http://www.sparecashapp.com), introduces new forms of marketing and advertising for a diverse array of businesses, from startups to Fortune 500 corporations worldwide.|