Zillow: The Creepy Factor
Last week I shared my vision for the small brokerage in my weekly Inman News column. Ten things I would do to rebuild the value proposition and create a compelling customer experience. That led me to think about what I might do if I ran a really big real estate company â€“ one of those sprawling, fragmented behemoths that own much of the business these days.
Here’s what we have so far:
Harness the youth: Along the lines of America’s Got Talent, I would launch a “Young Genius” contest in all my major markets. This contest would serve two purposes. 1) Engage consumers through my local branch offices in a new way, and 2) Identify 12 “geniuses” between 14 and 21 to form my new Generation Y Advisory Board. Each quarter, the corporate jet would fly them out to HQ for a couple days of intense brainstorming.
Create an in-house technology incubator: It’s become a lot cheaper to build and manage web applications over the past couple years. For the price I’d have to pay Bill Clinton to speak at my convention I could build a web app that just might save me from getting sucker-punched by some west-coast start-up.
End the disconnect between my ad agency and reality. I’d get rid of the ads that tell consumers not to use a discount firm and what technology can’t do for them. Rather, I would determine what it is my brand actually means, put some tangible benefits around it, push that that story and create massive incentives to inspire my agents to be the foot soldiers.
Create a membership program: Membership in America’s largest real estate company will have privileges. Dubbed the “Great Life” program, members would earn points based the volume of services used (e.g., did they use my mortgage company, my title agency, etc.). “Great Life” points would be exchanged for concierge services including travel arrangements, concert/sport tickets, home emergencies or planning a weekend get-away. This free service would be a clear differentiator for consumers and a killer recruiting tool.
Dig into the agent marketing mess: I would send a survey out to every single client in our database. Questions would get to the heart of what works and what doesn’t as far as agent marketing. I’m fed up with those who sell tri-fold brochures featuring my agents doing the Lambada with their spouses or throwing Frisbees to their dogs on the beach and If that stuff actually works. I want definitive proof. If not, I want these gurus out of my offices.
What would you do?
Marc Davison, Brian Boero
Smart industry takes and creative inspiration.