I'm pitching, in the bottom of the ninth, at Bloggers Connect. It ain't gonna be easy; I'm facing Dustin Luther, one of the ten people to watch in 2008 (picked by Inman). Dustin should be no stranger to most of you. He is, without a doubt, one of the few "tech guys" that truly understands what you and I, practitioners, really do.
Dustin hosted the Relevance on The Internet seminars, sponsored by his old employer, last year. It was the beginning of a formal workshop about RealEstate2.0 and blogging for business. His post, Linkation, Linkation, Linkation is the one post every real estate or mortgage practitioner should read before she starts blogging for business.
Oh... I think I just said a nasty word.
You see, that's going to be the focus of what I'll be talking about, with Dustin, at Bloggers Connect; business. Here's another nasty word from the tech community;
I want to see you make gobs of it. I want to see that because I think you deserve it. Certainly, the tech guys want to make it, too. If they didn't, they wouldn't be doing what they do. The relationship between our business and the tech business didn't start off as cozy as it is today. It started off with the tech crew realizing that our businesses are inefficient and that the margins are big.
They wanted to disintermediate you and make a boatload full of bucks along the way.
Guess what they found out? Real estate markets, by their very granular nature, are inefficient markets. Until the country turns into a slew of 2500 sq. ft, tract homes, the markets will remain inefficient, by their standards. After they discovered what you and I have known, for decades, what did the tech guys do to recover their investment?
They sold you leads and "enhanced" listings on the very site you built; Realtor.com. That worked for a while as the weak marketers transferred their dependency from brokers to lead generators. Shame on your brokers and MLS providers for providing the very content they dangled in front of the consumer as lead bait. You worked your collective asses off to secure those listings, released it to the lead gen sites, to have buyers sold back to you.
When the lead gen model died, the tech crew migrated to Web 2.0 or interactive marketing as a way to build up more dependence. Zillow wants your listings, Trulia wants you to give away free advice, Active Rain wants your expert commentary, and your old buddies, Realtor.com got into the blogging craze..on YOUR backs.
That's all well and good. My question is...where's the quid pro quo? Please don't start talking about the "sense of community" to me; that and a good magazine ad will get you listings. The question is this...
How can YOU profit off interactive marketing?
The answer is simple; bridging the digital divide. That's what I'm going to talk about- making e-contacts become real connections, that turn into dollars and SENSE.
If that's "hard sell", so be it. I've been on the practitioner's side from day one; I ain't gonna change now.