This ends now

I get no kick from Foursquare.

Cheerleading Facebook doesn’t give me a thrill.

The app du jour bores me terrifically, too.

Real estate thrives on yesterday’s news. People nuzzle up to those who evangelize it.

Products and apps launch and become mainstream. Then start fading. That’s about when real estate picks them up, fascinates upon them for a half a year, and moves on. Think blogging, social, video, QR codes.

This is not a sustainable strategy. It’s digital dilettantism, a mode of distraction that keeps companies from moving forward.

I want to take you on a different journey.

Into the future

On March 21, 2013, Apple warned its developers: Apps not optimized for the iPhone 5 or Retina displays will be rejected from the app store.

Apple could care less about its developer partners’ issues. Apple cares about progress. Change is inevitable. To be a part of Apple’s future, developers need to be present in the here and now.

What if this were the mantra for real estate brokerages? Imagine issuing your sedentary technology partners a similar edict: Update your products to 2013 standards. 

Or else.

I get the obvious Apples-and-oranges objection. And I know the land mines you’d set off if you unplugged the bandaged, hackneyed software your vendor refers to as a solution.

But your alternative seems even drearier. Walking into the future with solutions created years ago cripples you. It costs you connections, leads, conversions, time and money. It costs you business.

You can’t progress forward when your best offering to agents and their customers is a tangled mess of old ideas.

It’s time for ultimatums

Seriously. I know that sounds dramatic. But how else can you guarantee that the experience you offer consumers will be commensurate to their expectations?

Consider the potential struggles users will experience browsing your site in 2015 if it’s built to 2008 sensibilities. Suddenly, your stacked content elements, links stuffed tight between gobs of copy, lack of images and video are more than just annoying to visitors – they’ve rendered your site impossible to use.

Your site will look about as unusable and antiquated as this site does today. Unless you do something.

Here are three things that are perfectly reasonable to demand from a digital vendor in 2013:

1. Mobile competency

At least half of your website traffic this year will be from users on a tablet or other mobile device. The days of thinking about “mobile” separately from your website are over.

Your mobile user experiences need to be every bit as usable as your desktop experiences. Responsive, adaptive, web, native – there are many means – but the end is the thing. It’s got to be excellent.

2. Speed

Did you know a one second delay in load times will decrease your conversions by 7%? There are hundreds of studies that dish up tidbits like that. The bottom line: slow kills.

Too many real estate tech vendors sit on Clinton-era code bases. Or they’re skimping on infrastructure because that’s something clients will never see.

Pay attention. Test. And demand that that SLA isn’t just about uptime.

3. Real-time publishing

If your website vendor can’t provide a real-time, SEO-friendly content management solution that enables you to publish content as you wish, then it’s time to have a talk. Every company in 2013 needs the ability to publish their own content on their own terms whenever they see fit. This is a reality of modern-day business.

There are more, of course. But these come up all the time in our work with brokerage companies. There’s a lot of work to be done here.

The state of things to come

The days of a brokerage’s life are mired in business issues. Recruitment. Revenue. Profitability. An ever-growing ad spend. Training. Wrapping your heads around marketing in this new age.

Your bandwidth is limited – tied up grappling with the realities of your current platforms that were built on the past.

I get it. But nothing in your world will change if you remain anchored in yesterday’s technology or today’s shiniest freebie.

I feel your pain, but sympathy is a wasted emotion. Dealing with advances years after they trend is a never-ending cycle of scrambling that creates opportunities for others outside the business to compete with you.

It’s time to put your foot down, Apple-style.