How To Market During a Recession

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart Elite, Scottsdale AZ

Downward %I have a friend who is about as sharp as you can get in the field of marketing (Jim Copacino, co-founder of Copacino + Fujikado, a leading advertising agency in Seattle). He recently spoke at an insurance industry marketing and communication awards banquet, in which he essentially said that there is a silver lining to the various harsh effects of a recession, outlining seven ways to gain a marketing advantage during such times. I thought they were good enough to share with the AR community, and have adapted them to our industry.

Here they are, in order of least important (#1) to most important (#7):

  1. Stay human. Look at the issues facing your clients today and bring to them healthy, humanized solutions from the realities of today's marketplace. For example, explain that moving up in a distressed market, i.e., selling your home and replacing it with a more expensive home will work to your advantage. You may sell for less, but you will buy the new one for a lot less.
  2. Stretch your brain. Be true to your core values but be ready to be nimble and adopt new strategies. For example, hire a social media consultant to improve your performance in that important space.
  3. Recessions create vacuums -- fill them. Recessions change clients' perceptions of their needs. Determine what they want, especially emotionally, and give it to them in all aspects of your service.
  4. Leverage strategic partnerships. Use partner's money to promote your brand. In this way, one and one equals more than two. Don't have partnerships? Make some with the team of professionals you often use in your business (lenders, home inspectors, title companies, others you refer business to, etc.).
  5. Create value through innovation or re-packaging your services. What you offer doesn't have to be new, it can be what you always offer, just freshened up. Or, you can move into new areas, like increasing your expertise in, say, green homes.
  6. Adapt your business model to the times. A recession is a time of uncertainty, but the good news is that  people are much more willing to try new things. Adapt accordingly and profit from it.
  7. Don't retreat -- attack. Spend money on marketing because your competition is not. It's the greatest opportunity you can have to move ahead of them all.

Comments (7)

Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

These tips make a lot of sense.  I think it is a time to work hard while compeitors are asleep at the wheel.

Feb 11, 2010 02:17 PM
Steve Kantor
Best Agent Business - Virtual Assistance

Good post, Merrill.  There is always a lot of discussion on Active Rain about whether agents are going too far out of their lane by giving advice to homeowners in trouble. Some say agents risk practicing law without a license or being tax advisors without a CPA. You wisely point out that by being human, you can offer some sensible, reassuring advice! Buy an affordable home! Downsize if aren't making it where you are! If you're in trouble, here are the alternatives to help you make a smooth transition to stability!

None of that requires a license  - just common sense and compassion.

Feb 11, 2010 02:23 PM
Merrill Moss
HomeSmart Elite, Scottsdale AZ - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale AZ Homes For Sale

Joan Whitebrook -- Thanks for the kind words.

Steve Kantor -- I love it when people agree, don't you? Thanks for the nice and thoughtful comment.


Feb 11, 2010 02:29 PM
Mercedes E. Santana
Santana Property Group - New York, NY
Investment Properties

My favorite: "Don't retreat..spend money on marketing because your competition is not.  Not to mention in this economic downturn you will be able to get better rates and deals if you press. Thanks for posting this good advice.

Feb 11, 2010 02:45 PM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Nice list Merrill, and a list worth keeping in front of you!

Feb 11, 2010 04:55 PM
Merrill Moss
HomeSmart Elite, Scottsdale AZ - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale AZ Homes For Sale

Mercedes -- You add a great point that I wish I had included. Thanks for contributing.

Feb 12, 2010 02:18 AM
Betsy Schuman Dodek
Washington Fine Properties - Washington DC Area Real Estate - Potomac, MD

merrill - this is a great post and I plan to refer back to it!!!

Feb 14, 2010 06:27 AM