I started my career in advertising as a project manager for the market research department of the advertising agency Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods in Little Rock, Arkansas in the mid 80's under the current CEO, David Martin. Because it was vital that I fully understood each project to manage it through the process, I was involved in every step from conception to the final conclusions and reporting. I learned a lot not only about research methodologies and analysis, but also about consumer behavior and the various industries and topics we researched. It was a fascinating job and hooked me on research.
Today, amidst changing media trends and the shifting real estate market, research and fact based decisions are even more important. We've typically conducted yearly customer satisfaction surveys and meticulously tracked leads. Last year, we commissioned an independent survey of top agents to determine their marketing practices. (Just how DO they make the big bucks?) We published those conclusions in "The 7 Really Smart Habits of Top Agents" white paper.
This year, we've expanded our efforts.
Recently, we began a series of research projects examining the habits of home buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals. We started with an independent survey of home buyers' shopping trends - everything from how they chose an agent, their satisfaction levels, and the actions they take and media they use all along the path to home ownership.
These were our objectives.
First, to understand and predict the behavior patterns of the "information empowered" home buyer. How are they different? In what ways do they use the abundance of data available? How does this data influence their decisions? And, what expectations do they have of their real estate professional as a result?
Secondly, we wanted to compare our findings to the assumptions real estate professionals make. Do they really know what today's home buyers want? Are they reaching and interacting with them effectively?
And, of course, we wanted to examine our product offering in relation. Are we effectively connecting the home shopper to our advertiser in a way that delivers the best value available in real estate advertising today?
Last week, the management team of The Real Estate Book began to pour over the results. Some confirmed our suspicions while others overturned them. Quite frankly, it was a lively and spirited conversation that went on for hours (and so it will continue to do so).
Soon, we will begin to release our findings and discussions on this blog site. We hope you will return and join in. How will your suspicions stack up to the facts? Stay tuned . . . .