Wednesday, 28 March 2012

How has the age of information changed real estate marketing?

John Amardeil is the president of BAM Builder Advertising and Marketing.With an MBA from York University and an extensive background in the new home industry, John has, since 1984, established an outstanding track record with respect to the marketing and sale of new homes in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and beyond.

John has marketed and sold well over 20,000 new homes – a track record that would undoubtedly facilitate the expeditious marketing and sale of any new home project.

The age of information has significantly changed marketing in general and real estate marketing in particular.Where we used to rely exclusively on print ads, billboards, we now get more bang for our buck with Google ads. Where we once had static brochures, we now provide homebuyers with videos, images, faster customer service, and a wealth of frequently updated information on clients’ Facebook pages, interactive websites, blogs, and Twitter accounts.

Lastly, where we had presentation centres that showed a limited amount of features and finishes, we are now beginning to use touchscreens with interactive features that provide visitors with a virtual reproduction of their dream home.

To be sure, these new technologies haven’t replaced billboards or presentation centres. Maybe they never will.

One thing is clear, though: these technological changes have allowed homebuyers to do many things that seemed improbable not too long ago.

Today’s homebuyers can, for example, purchase a home from their living room, without ever having to set foot in the presentation centre. They can pose an uncomfortable question to a builder on a Facebook page wall for everyone to see (and expect a response pretty damn near immediately), or they can ask current homeowners for their feedback on the builder.

On the surface, these changes seem bad for us. For one thing, they’ve forced us to build killer websites in addition to building killer presentation centres. They have also forced us to create online ads and to establish a social media presence (which entails learning new skills and hiring the appropriate talent).

These consequences, however, pale in comparison with the loss of control we marketers have undergone in the last few years. We’re no longer engaged in a monologue — it’s a dialogue now, one in which our interlocutors are increasingly wary of our message.

Yet I (and I think I speak for most builders and marketers) not only embrace these changes — I welcome them. Why? Because informed buyers are more likely to make a decision they won’t regret.

Moreover, these technological changes have made it possible for us to advertise for less money. Google ads in particular allow us to get registrants at a fraction of the cost we have to pay to get registrants via print ads.

This is only possible because of the highly targeted nature of Google ads. They are aimed at people who searched for relevant keywords online, whereas print ads (although somewhat targeted), may still address many people who aren’t interest in your client’s community (or aren’t even looking to buy a home in the first place).

In the end, the age of information is changing marketing at a very fast pace, introducing some great things and others that may not seem so great. This will continue to happen, whether we like or not, at a pace that will only pick up. Those who fail to adapt will be left behind. Those who do — well, they’ll have to remain inventive and willing to learn.

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