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11 December 2014

Marketing to Multiple Stakeholders

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Who ever said real estate was easy? There’s no product. The transaction lacks the big “gimme” that makes marketing a bit easier: frequency. And, to make matters more challenging, we all have to be cognizant of marketing to multiple stakeholders and various audiences.

At the brand level, my stakeholders are equally brokers, agents and end consumers.  At the broker level, it’s making sure you are effectively serving agents and end consumers.  And at the agent level, the stakeholders further break down into current and prospective customers. No matter which arena you are fighting in, we all share the same challenges:

  • How to effectively prioritize resources (time, capital, and effort)
  • How to consistently deliver value
  • How to differentiate

I’ll take you through how we begin to make sense of all of this. It starts rather simply. What is our reason for existence? For Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, our reason for living revolves around four key tenets:

  1. Brokers must be better with us than without us
  2. Agents must receive tangible value to their business thanks to their affiliation
  3. We must continue to innovate our value proposition to attract new like-minded brokers and agents
  4. Consumers must feel more empowered, supported and educated before, during and after the transaction

How to begin? We approach these imperatives using the following practices:

Build the right infrastructure of assets

We have created a suite of tools and resources for brokers and agents that we believe provide the right air and ground cover for them, so they can get to the business of selling real estate.

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We have marketing programs for luxury, urban, commercial, waterfront and ranch and resort listings. By providing a full suite of marketing materials, we have provided a brand that is flexible without breaking.

We have a brand intranet site that is “mission control” for our brokers and agents, providing a print and digital marketing center, CRM, campaigning capabilities, a learning management system, document repository and many other resources.

We also provide a comprehensive online infrastructure including a brand website, luxury website, career website, and paid search and lead generation programs.

These, among many other resources, enable us to have a strong core to our offering. They allow us to prioritize and still have room for innovation. This type of approach—building from the inside out—is something we recommend to our brokers, and a philosophy we recommend to anyone in real estate.

As a real estate professional, ensure you have a strong shelf of core resources.  Build your strategy around those, and then radiate out from the center with other marketing campaigns that complement that foundation.

Everything must have multiple uses

When we issue a national study that we use for brand-level public relations—such as for the luxury, baby boomer, millennial and most recently, the Gen Z teen market—we ensure that we provide our brokers with the assets to make that same study apply to their local market. These include social media posts, template press releases, videos and a sales presentation.

Our brand-level social media strategy becomes the social media strategy for our brokers and agents who want to re-use and re-purpose our content for their own use. We provide content—both licensed and original—for our brokers and agents to use for prospecting and client relationship building.  As a steward of our brokers’ national marketing funds, we have to invest in channels and strategies that work in multiple arenas.

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When you consider your own marketing investment, ask yourself if you can apply your work to multiple uses.  Can they be applied to talent attraction as well as consumer marketing by making a few tweaks? Can they be used for current as well as prospective clients?  Save yourself time and money by considering all of your stakeholders for your campaigns.

Impactful consumer marketing benefits all

We create platforms such as the first consumer-only blog for real estate, The BHGRE Life, which serves as a channel for direct consumer relationships. Our consumer social strategy is focused only on the end customer, freeing the content to be more focused and value-centric.

We run several consumer social and multi-media promotions each year which drives more fans and followers to the brand, which in turn fuels our lead generation strategy. We have created brand-level national marketing programs, such as a first-time homebuyer mini-series, Home First Home, which we air on TV and online, as well as a groundbreaking Hispanic content endeavor in partnership with VME, whose distribution relationships put this content into 78% of Hispanic households in America.

As brokers, marketing to agents is of paramount importance, but don’t forget the end consumer.  By warming the hearts of consumers, you warm the hearts of agents.  As an agent, remember the “what’s in it for me?” for the consumer. Make sure your messages are relevant, useful and empowering.

Here’s the good news: taking the above advice will, in the long run, save you time and money. It’s within your power to architect your marketing strategy from the inside out. As long as you keep your stakeholders in mind, and stay committed to delivering value to them, you can create a great marketing system that works hard for you long after you have set it into motion.

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