Moderator: Steve A. Brown, Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations, NAR
Panelists: Alex Milshteyn, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Rei Mesa, President/CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, Sunrise, Fla.
Robert Bailey, Owner/Broker, Bailey Properties, Aptos, Calif.
Steve A. Brown: Sometimes it pays to zig when everybody else is zagging. Going against the tide can pay off in unexpected ways. Take marketing, for starters, where the current wisdom is to cut back on print in favor of online and social media. That’s understandable counsel, given that the majority of people today are so electronically connected. On the other hand, who’s out there reading the newspapers? The older demographic, primarily. That’s some 30 percent of the population…established folks who frequently pay cash, who have good credit, and who still buy and sell real estate. Thirty percent…that’s significant. So is there an edge for today’s brokers who add print back into the mix? For the pros and cons, we’ve invited a panel with diverse views and strategies. Alex, you’re one of the industry’s younger and very successful brokers – a top producer named to NAR’s 30 Under 30 list in 2011. You grew up electronically connected. Yet the word on the street is you’re a big believer in the power of print. True?
Alex Milshteyn: Absolutely. I’m 31 now, but I started in real estate when I was 15 years old, and I’ve always believed in print media. I have a pretty big presence in our local paper, especially on Sundays. I do it more for branding, frankly, than I do to sell my listings, but for many people, that Sunday paper is still a great touch-and-feel experience. You can see me on Facebook and Twitter and the rest, but the fact is, many of the customers who come to me today tell me they saw me in the newspaper—even many who were sitting tight reading the paper during the downturn and now are getting back into the market.
Rei Mesa: Our preference is still online and mobile marketing and really has been since 2006. Florida real estate is a very fast-paced environment. As a high profile destination for national and international buyers, today’s consumers from all age groups understand that current real estate data and information is readily available online and through mobile platforms. We are very selective when it comes to print advertising. We primarily partner with the local newspapers that almost always have an online component which covers both traditional and online/mobile marketing. This includes our partner for our Luxury Collection marketing, The DuPont Registry, who has an online version, a virtual magazine, as well as traditional print editions. Our strategy is multi-channel marketing to maximize our seller’s properties exposure, highlighting our “Family of Services” and our sales professionals’ “Raving Fan” customer service.
Robert Bailey: Because of where we’re located, close to Monterey Bay, we too, have a many high-end clientele in the second home and vacation market—and we do get a lot of pull from our ads in the local papers. Of course we’re on top of our online marketing, but we advertise our open houses in the papers and we also do some display ads. There are two points I’d like to make here. The first is that newspapers themselves are moving more and more online in order to stay in business, and by being advertisers, we get the added benefit of that—a kind of “two-fer” bonus. And the second point is that most people get so much stuff coming at them electronically, it becomes almost like white noise. No matter how we aim for targeted marketing, it’s no wonder a lot of people are happy to back away from the screen and sit back and relax with the Sunday paper.
Steve A. Brown: That’s true. But what about all those Gen X and Yers, and millennials who’ve never read a paper in their life and do absolutely everything online?
Alex Milshteyn: Of course you need to reach them, and I’m always out there with the newest social media strategies. But I still believe in print. I even send out tons of postcards every month—and you know what? More and more, I find the world is catching up to me.
Robert Bailey: I think the market you’re in has everything to do with marketing strategy. If you know the demographics, and you know the market, you ought to be able to maximize the print media opportunities.
Rei Mesa: As part of our strategic print media marketing, we always direct the consumer to our website and mobile sites where they can view every property available in real time. The focus is to provide the consumer with what they want – a way to easily view all available properties, learn about the areas and communities, and connect with our sales professionals.
Steve A. Brown: You know what they say; if you build it, they will come. And it seems there’s more than one way to build it, when it comes to marketing.
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