Real estate marketing's emperor has no clothes

 April 1, 1999.

After signing up to “receive my newsletter” on countless agent Websites throughout March, my inbox was filled to the brim on April 1st.

Each email contained a Realty Times Newsletter.

Each included the same exact content.

The content was irrelevant. Not location-specific. And completely impersonal. All the things great marketing isn’t.

But the agents who bought this newsletter product weren’t told this. They were sold on the idea that…

Touching people with anything is better than nothing

You won’t find that verse in any marketing bible. Yet it rolls off the tongues of people pitching agents as if it were inarguably true.

Marketing isn’t just the act of communicating. Marketing is research that precedes the message. It’s the act of discerning what is relevant to a specific audience or person.

Marketing divines needs. Unearths desires. Aligns interests. And stimulates action.

Facebook tickles our need for self-expression. Google responds to our intent. Amazon matches the desires of others with our own. These companies are mind-bogglingly smart about how and what they present to us.

But in real estate, smart is rare. Easy is preferred. Blast the newsletter, drop the postcard, tweet your lunch.

This is nuts.

The result: before, during and after a most sacred transaction, people are carpet-bombed with crazy shit that pertains to nothing.

90% of consumers say they love their agent at the close of the transaction.

Only 11% use the same agent again.

Ever wonder if maybe agents “market” themselves right out of their next transaction?

I do.

Marketing stink bombs

Had any one of those agents from whom I received a newsletter on April 1, 1999 followed up after dropping their stink bomb, they would have learned a few things about brand perception.

But no one followed up.

If an agent can’t take a few minutes out of their entire month to write something personal, something demonstrative of expertise, something useful to me, how much do they really want my business?

Amidst the grand menagerie of real estate marketing products, this question is seldom asked.

That wasn’t OK with me when I entered this industry in 1998. And it’s not OK with me now. Agents deserve better. And so do their customers.

Real estate’s marketing emperor has “new” clothes?

Read this sample email from a “new generation” real estate marketing product built for agents.

Agent marketing email

The pitch for this product describes it as an “easy and effective way to stay top-of-mind with clients, grow your referral business – and more important – get results,” because “old clichéd marketing messages fail with today’s tech-savvy, information overloaded clientele.”

Those are some bold claims.

And while they might be true, can messages containing bizarro factoids written by people you don’t know, for people they don’t know (your clients and prospects) be better?

It’s not.

It’s just here. In real estate. Preying off agent vanity and laziness.

Imagine receiving messages like the one above from your Obstetrician. Or your Pastor. Or your Lawyer.

If you can’t, then why are they OK coming from you?

He’s wearing nothing at all

The Emperor cringes.

Suspecting the assertion is true.

But he holds himself up proudly and continues the procession.

You need not follow.