Is this marketing technology worth my time and money? 3 things to consider

Services for Real Estate Pros with VIO Media Group/

marketing tech

Attending last week’s RISMedia Leadership Conference in New York gave me a much better understanding of the difficult position agents and brokers are in regarding making decisions on their marketing spend.  New technology, although proving effective, has added increased complexity to the decision making process.  How does an agent/broker know if a technology is worth the money and (sometimes more importantly) time investment in a new marketing technology?

The unfortunate thing is there really is no formula for determining whether a technology is going to be worth your while.  As someone who has been in digital marketing for about 15 years I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes and think that I’ve learned from them.
Here are some very simple things to keep in mind when considering how to spend your time and money with marketing technology.

1.    Get over the WOW factor – Many of us have that inner geek just waiting to grab on to the next coolest thing.  It’s very easy to get enamored by a fancy technology that looks cool and does something that you’ve never seen before.  But ask yourself these questions:

  • Are my customers using this type of technology today?
  • Will my customers find this useful?
  • Will this help me better reach my customers on a level that they are comfortable?

2.    If it sounds too good to be true it probably is – At the conference last week I spoke with a few technology company owners (and sat in a session that was literally just a poor sales pitch for one) that had products or services with all of the answers.   Yes, technology can create a better user experience which can equal deeper engagement with your customers, but it’s rarely the panacea to a poor overall message.

  • If you are considering a technology that promises to turn your business around with little work on your end be skeptical.
  • Ensure that your overall marketing strategy and message is sound and can stand on it’s own.  Use technology to amplify   this message, not change it.

3.    KIS  (keep it simple) – This is probably the most important.  I’ve seen countless over-developed, over-funded and over-priced technology products that are simply way too complex to be effective.  The vicious cycle that I see in terms of this is that technology companies receive an infusion of investment capital and feel pressure to invest all of it in their product.  As a result they over-develop and end up selling on the first two rules that I stated above.
I sat in a session at the RIS Media show  (the sales pitch that I mentioned) where after 1.5 hours of talking about a product the audience (and myself) barely understood it.  This is a definitely a red flag and a great example of what I’m talking about.  Consider the following:

  • Will my audience be able to use this technology and figure it out easily?
  • Is the technology trying to accomplish more than what's needed, and is my message being clouded as a result?  (example – if a buyer wants information on a specific property and dials an 800 number for the info, would it be a good idea to offer them them a search on the entire MLS for the area?  Is this noise, clouding your message and the specific information requested? YES!  Will a unanticipated complex phone system likely confuse the inquirer?  YES!)
  • Social Networks are simple, use them.  It’s a serious time investment but is simple person to person communication.

In technology… simple works.  Example – Google, arguably the most successful technology company today, started with just search.  By internet standards search is very basic and simple.  They understood their customer, mastered their product/message and delivered what was expected without clouding the customer experience.

There are more things to consider when choosing to move work with a new marketing technology but I tend to use these three rules in my initial approach.


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Tina Merritt
Nest Realty - Blacksburg, VA
Virginia Real Estate

KIS - keep it simple!  love it!  may I add on?  KISS - keep it simple syndication!

Tina in Virginia

Sep 13, 2008 01:27 PM #27
J Huddleston - Fort Worth, TX

Great post!  My tip is to search out technology that improves upon what you are already doing.  Start with what you know works and look for things that can leverage it further.

Feb 02, 2009 03:33 AM #28
Dawn Workman
Veracity Real Estate Group, LLC - Camas, WA
Camas Real Estate Expert, MBA, 480-540-8100

I will only admit this here, since my husband is not a member to see it, but UGH I have learned the hard way that expensive technology is not always the best. 

Feb 10, 2009 04:41 PM #29
Jessica Wallace
Coldwell Banker - Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz Realtor (831) 419-9345

I get a lot of calls about upgrading my website, buying this gadget or that and I have learned to say no.  For the most part :)  We don't need all that but we do need some so you have to find the balance, I am working on that.

Feb 14, 2009 04:28 AM #30
Ken Kelly
Benchmark Mortgage - Chesterfield, VA

I agree with Jessica, all of this new technology can be overwhelming and pretty soon you start losing focus of your real #1 priority - Selling Homes!

Mar 18, 2009 01:02 AM #31
Bettina Settles
Greenwood, IN
Your Indiana Connection

Great post Michael, and you are so right!

Mar 27, 2009 04:47 AM #32
Debra Cernick
DeShazer Ryan Realty - Libby, MT

Michael, you are right on! It is difficult to know which is necessary- helpful or not cost effective.

Mar 31, 2009 03:34 AM #33
Suma Kakani
Northern IL Realtor - Keller Williams Success Realty - Prairie View, IL

I thought I commented on this blog. but looks like not. may be I found some similar blog with KIS. But you have great point Michael. I'm trying to figure out what is necessary and what is cost effective.

Apr 15, 2009 07:53 AM #34
Lawrence Vecchio
VRI HOMES - Middletown, NJ

thanks michael

this technology works for us


 We believe there will never be a lead system that will please agents, so we built this Internet Marketing System that agents can brand and promote. If you were only agent in your market with these sites would you increase your business.


Apr 19, 2009 11:29 AM #35
Scott Carlton
San Diego, CA


You are right on the mark here.

Technology is just the vehicle, business is the answer. What good does it do to have the thing that goes "bing!" if you don't have a strategy in place to make it produce results.

Is this tool going to provide my potential clients with what they want?

Is there a strategy with this tool to help me engage prospects?

Is this tool going to help with traffic?

Is this tool going to assist me in functions to save time?

Knowing what you want to accomplish and having a strategy to get there with the tool is what makes magic happen.

It isn't the hammer, it is the carpenter.

Jun 23, 2009 03:40 AM #36
Claudia Williams
Blue Ribbon Properties - Durango, CO
Claudia in Durango

Thanks for the post. I love technology, however, it's always important to pick and choose. Enough is enough.


Jul 14, 2009 01:22 PM #37
Dara Jacobs
MarketHouseLI - East Northport, NY

I think the market is so bad right now that agents are looking to grab onto anything that will help selll their listings - and who can blame them. But, there seems to be a new site you just "have to join" every week. As owner of MarketHouseLI I have been fortuante to be able to find what boosts ratings and traffic for real. Almost all of them are free which is why I only charge for my time which ends up being very inexpensive for the Realtor. In my experience I have not found that expensive is better. We are getting incredible results all for free. So thank you for technology I don't know where we would be without it - but as was stated previously - you have to pick and choose and decide what will work for you specifically.



Aug 19, 2009 01:18 AM #38
Douglas Fischer
East Oahu Realty - Selling Honolulu, Hawaii Condos - Honolulu, HI

Remember, all this social networking, blogging, linking in and sharing isn't just about meeting a buyer or a seller online.  I find it very educational and fun as well.  And from a pure marketing standpoint, my website optimization, or search engine placement, has improved greatly in a very short period of time.  We all should realize that blogging and networking increases and enhances our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for our website.  You do have a website don't you?

Aug 24, 2009 08:18 AM #39
Dominick Dina, MA, REALTOR®
Christian Realty San Antonio - San Antonio, TX
GRI, e-PRO, TAHS, SFR, Notary Public


You are sooooo correct.  Too much technology makes no dollars and sense because of the acceptance curve.  If the majority of the audience does not accept (or use) a new technology then you are wasting your resource$.

Early adaptors take the most risk with new technology and sometimes reap the greatest benefits.  Trying to keep up with Agent Jones is not really in anyone's best interestes.

Sep 04, 2009 09:47 AM #40
Janice Zaltman
United Realty Group - Boca Raton, FL
South Florida Residential Real Estate

What did we do before technology? It is taking over our lives! So little time and so much to learn.

May 02, 2013 01:33 PM #41
Brad MacKenzie
Brad MacKenzie - Duxbury, MA
Turning Houses into Homes on the South Shore

This is still true today. The promises about technology need to be rinsed through users and their reality first.

Jun 15, 2013 12:10 AM #42
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Does it work for me and in my real estate market....there is what you should or should not do, spend time on. Video is one super show and tell option that rocks for SEO for a win win situation.

Aug 17, 2013 11:35 PM #43
John Jonas
ReplaceMyself - Virtual Assistants - Highland, UT
John Jonas

Keep it simple is the best. I saw this tool that's not out in the market yet. It promises to turn your facebook fanpage into an app. I think it's simple and brilliant at the same time, and your post just reminded me of it.

Oct 17, 2013 06:46 PM #44
Bryan Beckstead, KOmKards, Care-Connect-Communicate, on auto pilot, 24/7.
Start MAXIMIZING the Internet.... - Priceville, ON
Become a KOmKard owner today,

Excellent post.

We have to walk the line between using technology to build and grow but at the same time, not to lose what i consider the most important technology ever invented, working with and dealing with the people that are most important to us, face to face.

We are losing that personal touch and approach and I believe we are all poorer for that loss. 

Apr 13, 2014 02:19 AM #45
Janice Zaltman
United Realty Group - Boca Raton, FL
South Florida Residential Real Estate

Thanks for your post. It is important to consider our market. Many of my clients don't use e-mail. Yes, they do exist here in Florida. They still like the postal service and mailers.

Jun 11, 2014 01:23 PM #46
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