Colonel Kenny Marketing

When I got home tonight, there was a letter from a local realty company telling me that if I was in the market to sell my house, they had a proven marketing plan to sell it.

First off, I don’t want to sell my house. So an immediate strike one, two and three.

But since there’s nothing on TV, let’s look at the marketing plan they use to sell themselves: They send unsolicited letters (snail spam) to my entire county’s property tax rolls in the hopes they might hook somebody. In addition, they used the full 39 cent postage instead of bulk mail rates, there were a couple of typos in the letter and it was off-center on the letterhead. Yeah. These people know how to market.

I’ve always been disturbed when real estate salespeople start beating their chest about their “marketing plan”…or “proven marketing plan”…or “exclusive marketing plan”…etc.

Most of these “plans” that I’ve seen in action involve lots of irrelevant ads directed to the masses who are unwilling or unmotivated to buy. For some reason, alot of these “plans” also involve a lot of facetime in the ad for the salesperson. It would be crazy to show a picture of a house…better to fill up half the billboard with a little self-ego inflation.

Some of the advanced salespeople have spent some of their marketing investment on “Guerilla Marketing for Dummies” and have exclusive methods such as keychains, pens, and stickers.

And like the letter I got tonight…they all love direct mail….but have no idea how to use it. The realtor we bought this house from 4 years ago (at auction!) still sends us postcards constantly every Groundhog Day, Columbus Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Festivus, and every other major/minor holiday reminding me that he has a “great marketing plan” to sell my house. My wife and I laugh and roll our eyes everytime we get one of the postcards…right before we trash it. Great marketing investment.

Why so much bad marketing in the real estate world? Several reasons. The biggest right now is that there’s a lot of get-rich-quick-schemers trying to capitalize on the bubble. They’re using everything they can to become established in the market. In addition, because of the bubble, there’s a lot of money available to “market” the real estate company. When a media salesperson comes in with a proposal, they are sold and don’t buy their marketing.

In all, it goes back to my basic stump speech. Business people know they need and they hire experts for business functions like accounting and HR. Sure, they can handle the basic day-to-day things, but for big things like audits…they hire someone…or at least have someone double check it.

But anybody can buy an ad. Right?

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