by Debra Pestrak
Advertising, marketing, and the media's assault on the consumer has lead to a change in consumer's expectations and tolerance levels. Real estate media?exposure led to increased consumer activity.
Tivo, Moxi, DVRs, "Do Not Call" lists, iPods, and spam filters are sending a message to the advertisers that consumers want the option of not hearing from them, and they are becoming more discriminate about what they listen to and watch.
N.A.R. states that 50% of all listings failed to meet the consumer's expectations. With 77% of consumers on-line, they have a lot more knowledge and therefore are expecting more from agents.
The consumer is wondering why agents are getting such a high fee.
We are in a transition period that requires both on-line and off-line advertising.
Unless, you have decided your target market are people who exclusively use either on-line or off-line for their buying decisions, there are not too many that fall into just one of those categories. This has made marketing, which most agents don't do very well, even more complicated. Marketing is being re-defined, which is leading to some new innovative ways to reach the consumer.
Many agents continue to use a 1990's model of marketing. This has caused their marketing to become less and less effective. More time and money is being spent in on-line advertising - up to 52% of the marketing budget. Signs, riders, marketing tools like voice response systems and "talking house" technology are becoming more and more important as consumers are looking for ways to get information without having to actually talk to an agent.
The bottom line is how do I reach my target market? Where are they, what do they want, and how can I deliver it to them in the most cost effective manner.
In one year, the fixation for on-line video and social networking created the most changes and opened up more new opportunities to the marketing world than anything else since the birth of the internet. As broadband abilities continue to grow, so will on-line video, which will lead to more content-on-demand opportunities. Change is accelerating, and new innovations are changing traditional rules overnight.
Existing brokers clinging to old business models will struggle in the future and find their market share eroding.
Gen Y's are turning 30-40 and represent 30% of the work force. They grew up with the internet, it plays a part in their day-to-day life, and they expect newer approaches and processes that are integrated into that technology. They are buying younger, and want something different, just like every other generation.
Internet buyers vs. traditional buyers - 77% of buyers are using the internet. According to C.A.R they use the internet: 75% to identify a specific home they want their agent to show them, 62% neighborhood information.
Google lists real estate as its top search category-2 billion searches a year. Static websites won't do it for much longer. People want interactivity, and almost expect it.
Consumers are demanding more and more information. Because most of the agents had no real, consistent marketing plans, many have found themselves with little business. With many agents only doing a few deals a year, they were not able or didn't stay up on the latest market trends and were not providing their clients with the best service or knowledge. This has had an impact on the buyers and sellers looking for and demanding better service and greater levels of knowledge.
In 2006, we expect to see an 8% growth in the number of Realtors and yet transactions declined by 8%. This has the Realtors scrambling for business and in some areas there can be 20 agents vying for business for one house sale. This requires the agents to work harder, be better positioned, and it makes it more important than ever to figure out how to differentiate yourself in the market. Unfortunately, some agents don't get it.
The market has had the third year in a row of record sales, the opportunities are there if you're looking for them. By having great market knowledge and having effective marketing you can clearly stand out from the rest.
Agents that are willing to make changes, get educated, and acquire the necessary skills will be the winners.
The key to keeping up is to embrace change because it is going to happen whether you like it or not. Stay on top of what is impacting this market, be willing to adapt new strategies, take advantage of the technologies that will simplify your business, and think about how you can do business with your clients for life.