The late comedian Mitch Hedburg once said, "I am tired of following my dreams. I am just going to find out where they are going and meet them there." Funny.
But . . . it does make me think - can you get ahead of yourself? Our world is evolving so quickly, it's easy to feel left behind and yet, sometimes we get so far ahead of ourselves that we lose touch with today.
Technology has certainly changed the real estate industry and we can be challenged by when to embrace the next new thing - now or later? You CAN do anything. The questions are - SHOULD you and WHEN should you?
When I started in the business 17 years ago (I was a child), the MLS was private and few agents had their own web presence. I was thrilled when my pager could recieve text messages. In 1999, when I joined The Real Estate Book, we launched one of the first websites on which consumers could search for properties - RealEstateBook.com. Listing syndication was the big thing and we were one of the first sites to push our advertisers' listings to Yahoo, Zillow, Trulia, Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Then, widgets and IDX feeds. Social media and mobile quickly followed. Today, QR codes are an example of a new technology with the potential to significantly impact real estate marketing.
I tried to find a statistic on the current number of consumers - who have smart phones + a QR reader + a current desire to buy or sell a home + who would actually USE the code to learn more about the home. Needless to say, this was not a readily available statistic. I am sure they exist and will increase over the next 18 months. The integration with print makes these especially interesting to us.
My point is - WHEN do you begin to invest money and time (which translates to money) into this technology? It's quite probable that at some point, you should. Just when?
As a self-confessed tech geek, I love all the new pretty shiny things and want to play with them. As a marketer with an eye on ROI and ROE (Return on Effort), I watch where my current traffic and leads are coming from, how they are converting, and what other benefits, such as existing customer engagement or brand building, that we reap from a particular campaign or media channel. When the time is right, we incorporate a new channel, test, adjust, evaluate and potentially launch.
Not every pretty shiny new technology that sounded so cool makes the cut. Sometimes they fizzle or are replaced by something more advanced before they gain enough momentum to be worthy. Sometimes, the return is just not enough to justify the investment.
So, while investing in the future is smart, timing is still everthing.
Want to watch future trends? Here are just a few places I watch.