Friday, October 05, 2007

 

What do I really think?

In mid-October, I'll be the guest for an teleseminar put together by Donna Kozik of My Big Business Card (www.MyBigBusinessCard.com).

Donna read Move the Mouse & Make Millions and asked me to share more ideas about online marketing—and using a book as a big business card—with her Silver Mastermind Circle.

On the call Donna and I will be discussing how to:

· Generate thousands more in cash flow
· Cost-effectively market a business
· Drive more traffic to Web sites
· And, much more

The call will be on October 18 and although you have to be a member of the My Big Business Card Silver Circle to listen in and ask questions, membership is free for the first two months.

Find out more about joining--and getting in on the call--here. http://www.mybigbusinesscard.com/products/silver_circle.html

 

Argue with me!

Dissent is a powerful business tool, especially within an organization that encourages healthy debate and innovation. Active disagreement among high-ranking executives is a sign of a healthy, productive company. Passionate debate is a hallmark of successful teams.

Sound contradictory? Not at all. In fact, in addition to the evidence and research that directly links companies that foster dissent in decision-making with success, there's plenty of research and evidence demonstrating that companies and executive teams that don't engage in healthy debate are in fact hurting the companies they're trying to protect and grow.

Garry Emmons wrote about this in the latest issue of Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge newsletter. Executive teams that don't trust each other, or simply don't respect one another, will particularly struggle with this.

But teams, and in particular chief executives, that encourage and reward such cultures will notice greater innovation, smarter real-time business decisions, and happier employees.

Read more here.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

 

Management and Leadership

They're two different things, aren't they?

Management can be quite tactical. It can be primarily about execution, and about managing things.

But leadership is about having vision. It transcends managing things, and becomes about managing people. Not just managing, but motivating and inspiring people. That's leadership.

Too often, we think about management and leadership as the same thing. But they're quite different. Great managers aren't always great leaders. Great leaders aren't always great managers.

Each of our businesses need both.

Which are you? Are you one or the other? Are you both? Are you either?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

 

Conversation cause and effect

Conversational marketing is everywhere - at least that's what you'd believe if you're reading the marketing trade rags lately. Online and offline, even Madison Avenue is focused on getting customers to talk to each other.

But when you think about it, the conversation isn't really our goal as marketers. What's important is what happens after the conversation.

We assume that if something is buzzworthy enough, and people talk about it, that this will drive action - clicks, consideration, purchases, sign-ups. But that correlation isn't automatic, and can't be taken for granted.

The conversation is just a medium. It's a means of communicating a message. But that media must generate a response. The response is what we're looking for.

Yes, conversational marketing is urgently important for all marketers to understand and harness for their products, brands and businesses. But the conversation is merely the cause.

Focus on the effect.

 

Marketing real estate ain't easy

Despite a softening of the real estate market across the country, millions of consumers will buy and sell homes this year. Nearly 1.2 million Realtors will help them do it.

Managing the real estate ecosystem, and marketing to buyers, sellers and real estate professionals alike is no small task. Just ask Hugh Siler, a marketing professional who has spent most of his career working for some of the leading companies deeply engaged in the residential real estate industry - including Coldwell Banker, GMAC Real Estate, Microsoft and HouseValues.

We recently sat down with Hugh to talk about marketing real estate, and real estate-related products, in a challenging market.

How is marketing to real estate agents different from traditional B2B marketing?
It’s different in that the overwhelming majority of agents are independent contractors. So from a marketing and sales aspect, this makes it especially hard since there isn’t typically ONE decision maker whose purchase decision will impact 10, 100 or 1,000 agents. Sales are typically one to one.

How have your strategies changed in a slower real estate market?
Although some agents are having great years, by and large the last 18 months have been trying times for the real estate industry. When it comes to marketing, advertising and PR, studies show that companies that stay the course with their marketing are the best prepared to take advantage of things when markets rebound. My clients’ strategies haven’t changed much because they are well established firms that have been through down markets before. They know the best way out of tough times is remember the basics: stay focused and execute you business plans while looking for strategic opportunities to grow.

The typical consumer changes residences every 7-8 years. Is that a process that marketing can impact or condense in any way? What is the primary objective in marketing to real estate consumers?
Marketing can absolutely impact the way consumers buy and sell homes. It wasn’t so long ago that the majority of information about homes for sales, recent sales information and home valuation statistics were closely held by real estate agents and not very accessible to consumers. The Internet and online marketing have forever changed all of this. In my opinion, the primary objective in marketing to real estate consumers is putting as much information as possible, at the fingertips of consumers to help them facilitate their decision about such things as where’s the best place to buy, when’s the best time to sell, etc.

Real estate is a complicated and oftentimes intimidating process for consumers. How can marketing break down those barriers, and make real estate more accessible?
The process becomes less intimidating as more information becomes accessible. If you ask someone who has bought or sold a home the past 5 years versus 15 years ago, most people would agree that the process is less intimidating (although there’s likely more paperwork and disclosures involved). Any time you have an emotional purchase combined with a dozen or so entities involved in a purchase or sale (real estate agents, appraiser, lender, title rep, settlement services professional, home inspector, etc), the process is going to feel intimidating. Part of the job of the marketer is to make this process less intimidating and more comfortable for consumers.

What do most marketing professionals get wrong when working in the real estate industry?
Simply put, they don’t understand that: 1) real estate is a relationship based business 2) there is no national real estate market – real estate is local and 3) brokers and agents are often micro-focused on “the today,” rather than the big picture of tomorrow. This is simply due to the nature and cycles of their business (i.e., once a home goes into escrow, they are acutely focused on making sure the deal closes and ultimately their commission is paid).


What advice would you give new marketers just getting started today?
Real estate is a fascinating profession with many, many areas of interest. My advice would be to determine which area of real estate that most interests you, then learn everything you can about it. A marketing professional might find that they enjoy the business to consumer marketing involved with promoting new technologies that make the process of buying and selling a home easier. Or they might find their interests are more aligned with one of the other areas of the real estate process, such as mortgage, title, online marketing etc. The beauty of the real estate industry is that there are so many facets of it and the technology is continuing to evolve in a way that no one could have imagined as little as 5 years ago.

If you have more questions for Hugh, just ask him directly! You can reach him at hugh@silerpr.com, or by visiting http://www.silerpr.com.

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