Get noticed, get business. It’s a maxim that seems obvious and inherent to the business of selling and leasing real estate, yet traditional real estate portfolios lack the capabilities to get noticed in today’s media-driven sales environment.
For example, when brokers or property owners showcase a home or office to a potential buyer or tenant, the preparation – scheduling the appointment, confirming the logistics, and dressing up the unit for the prospect – takes far more time than the tour itself. This is especially problematic for real estate professionals who want to spend more hours strategizing and fewer going from one appointment to the next, and potential customers often don’t want to invest a chunk of their time just to get a “first look” at a new office, condo, or investment property.
The real estate industry has begun to adopt technological tools like sharp collateral blasted over e-mail and animation-driven web sites, albeit slower than other professional fields. These tools, while important as individual elements, represent only the cusp of what’s next for real estate professionals’ marketing and advertising programs: fully integrated campaigns that use technology to its fullest extent.
Soon, portfolio companies will find enormous value in mediums like online video, sophisticated e-mail marketing, animation, and social networks. The industry is already observing apartment brokers using low-quality video footage that’s easily captured on a PDA, uploaded to a computer, and published online. So instead of meeting that broker to discuss apartment features, prospective tenants can see it for themselves. This indicates a demand for video and more-technological marketing in what has traditionally been a handshake business.
Internal marketing department at large-enough firms, design and advertising agencies, branding firms, and other service providers will soon join the fray of tech-driven real estate marketing. In sourcing this work, it’s important to combine industry experience with technological know-how to maximize the return on marketing dollars.
There are also barriers. Measurability will become important as different web- and new-media strategies surface, and solutions that ignore the need to evaluate their own performance won’t cut it. Many in the industry may also carry the misconception that newer technologies are capable of replacing sound investments and sales strategies that have worked for decades; this won’t happen. The better use of technology will drive attention to the best offerings and deals available in the marketplace, not create them.