Thinking horizontal in our vertical

John Battelle posted this gem the other day. It captures so neatly the challenges and opportunities facing many in online and “traditional” real estate these days.

Consider this point:

“Every customer interaction is marketing. Every partnership is marketing. Every employee is a marketer.

And all your data, well, that’s marketing too.”

And, further:

“Joining the conversation economy … means taking your core assets – the data that drives value and knowledge inside your enterprise – and offering it as fuel for the collective intelligence of all your partners – your channel, your vendors, and, ultimately, your customers.”

His thinking here is placed in the context of a discussion with Oren Michaels, CEO of Mashery. Mashery provides a managed solution for companies that want to create APIs. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) allow publishers (e.g. Trulia) to share their data with others.

Lie down

We’ve been telling broker clients for some time that their conception of marketing must be obliterated if they intend to survive. That means empowering everyone — including the executive team — to become part of the “marketing department.” The person formerly known as the marketing director needs to become the managing editor — and work with IT, sales (i.e. agents), and management to coordinate the extraction and broadcasting of data and knowledge into the marketplace.

For MLSs … well, we’ve beaten this dead horse to a pulp, but I’ll take one more swing: Stop protecting and start broadcasting. With great care of course. And with the goal of putting information to work for broker and agent subscribers. But, man, unlock the value!

Break glass in case of emergency

There’s so much inside most real estate organizations: Data, personality, knowledge. But it sits behind glass, that smudgy barrier of plastic marketing – and, frankly, bullshit – that has stood between real estate and its customer for too long.

It’s time to break the glass and create a glorious mess.

Get horizontal as Battelle says. Reach outward. Forget about an API is that makes no sense for you. There are a hundred ways to take the larger point and run with it.

Brian Boero