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RISMEDIA, Oct. 25, 2008-If there’s one thing smart brokers have learned over the course of the economic and housing market downturn it’s that they still need to spend-but smartly. Spending in the right places is key, say many Power Brokers, specifically in the realm of online marketing and advertising. Good investments in technology are still readily available. The problem is figuring out what the right spend is for your company. For the past few weeks, three industry power players agreed on one thing-the technology that brings information to the consumer is number one. In this concluding part of our Viewpoints series, Robb Murry, chief marketing officer, The Personal Marketing Company, says that in today’s market “technology tools must deliver a two-fold return on your investment. First, they must drive sales in the door and second, they must increase the efficiency of your current business.”

Use the Tools that Help Build Relationships

Robb Murry
Chief Marketing Officer
The Personal Marketing Company

For every function of the real estate business, there is a tool that promises to automate it. In today’s market, technology tools must deliver a two-fold return on your investment. First, they must drive sales in the door and second, they must increase the efficiency of your current business.

Putting an integrated marketing system in place to consistently stay in contact with prospects and clients is the best investment to attract a steady stream of business. Technology that empowers an agent to manage their contacts, create and implement a multi-channel marketing program and monitor their budget is a sound investment today-and the foundation for long-term success.

To reach consumers today requires a change in the mindset of marketing-from old-school strategies and target audiences promoted with campaigns and blasts, to a one-to-one relationship-building marketing program.

Most consumers today live rich, busy and unique lives with full mailboxes and spam folders filled with automated messages designed to make agent marketing effortless but with little regard for who the consumer is and their interests. Consumers are drowning in marketing messages, but very few of these reinforce a relationship.

The marketing systems available are as varied as each agent’s business. Consider five key factors when choosing the right solution for your specific needs.

1. Three channels, one goal. Marketing systems are tools for empowering agents to build personal contact. No amount of direct mail or e-marketing will ever be more powerful than personal contact. An effective marketing system should include all three.

2. Differentiate. Break the perception that all real estate agents are the same. Use a system that provides a selection of unique creative materials that set your marketing message and you apart from other agents.

3. One-to-one communication. Consumers respond to messages that relate to them and their interests specifically. Choose a system that provides the opportunity to focus your marketing. Clients are individuals and shouldn’t all be treated the same.

4. The message and the medium. Direct mail and e-marketing are very different mediums and consumers respond differently to them. Repackaging the same old, tired letters in an e-mail format is simply ineffective. Because you send it, doesn’t mean they get it when it comes to e-mail marketing. When it comes to direct-mail marketing, because you mail it, doesn’t mean they read it.

5. More isn’t always better. Shop for the features you need and understand. Choosing a system with too many bells and whistles can increase the learning curve and then, you’re not likely to use it. When it comes to technology solutions, too many options can paralyze. Get what you need and will use.

The biggest mistake an agent can make implementing new marketing technology is to allow it to insulate them from the core of their business-the relationship. The benefits can be huge for putting systems in place to achieve consistent results with their marketing.

The key question when determining the suitability of technology for your marketing is to ask, “How will a consumer benefit from this?” Technology tools for marketing exist so the agent can spend more time doing what they do best-building relationships.