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It wasn’t long ago that the highest expense a real estate brokerage operation incurred was newspaper marketing. Today, regardless of how you feel about the way in which large portals have inserted themselves between your firm, your agents and the consumer, you can at least thank them for reducing your marketing expenses in print.

This may sound like an odd tale coming from a company that delivers marketing automation software, but the truth is that marketing solutions today support all types of advertising, which are composed of print and digital. As brokers set their marketing goals for 2019, it’s a wise practice to investigate your marketing solutions provider as your firm sets its marketing strategy for the new year.

One of the biggest trends reported by brokers in 2017 and 2018 centers around the fact that marketing automation is a “must have” for any brokerage. Even today, the consensus is that marketing automation starts when an agent walks into the office with a listing agreement and the marketing department takes it from there. Both the recession and competitive pressures have forced brokers to cut marketing staff to survive, and firms have been looking at marketing automation to fill the void.

Today, a lot of that repetitive manual labor historically borne by the marketing department is being addressed by emerging technologies such as machine-to-machine learning, artificial intelligence and other platforms that make property marketing easier. Historically, once an agent gets a listing, it might take days (if not weeks) to prepare all of the collateral to start the marketing process—all predicated on the capacity of the marketing department, quality of the marketing tools available to them, and, if printing is necessary, the location of the printer and quality of the operation. When a listing is created, computers, tablets and software enhance the work of graphic designers that the firm has on staff by allowing them to be more creative, leaving the mundane, repetitive processes to the software platform.

Many of the leading providers of marketing automation software will create just about any type of marketing collateral imaginable by using a data feed. Within a matter of minutes of a new listing being added into the MLS database or the broker’s database, the agent receives an email with links to Just Listed postcards, open house announcements, single-listing websites, property flyers, virtual tours, sign riders, social media, etc., for review and approval. With some platforms, this approval can be executed from a traditional computer, but more likely from mobile devices such as tablets or cellphones. This is a tremendous advantage for owners of brokerages since they can enable marketing through inexpensive software in a matter of minutes versus weeks, and encourage agents to use and pay for what they need to do their job without a lot of involvement from the marketing department. Today’s solutions make ordering marketing collateral, such as business cards, T-shirts, yard signs and coffee mugs, as easy as ordering products from Amazon.

True marketing automation platforms not only make life easier for agents, but properly using them can also empower them to become more self-reliant and profitable. As you budget for 2019, consider solutions that optimize your performance.

Joe Martinez is the chairman and CEO of CREELiT. For more information, please visit