Like many of us in this business I have been awe struck by the rate of decline in almost everything related to the housing industry over the last three years; existing homes sold, new homes built and purchased, mortgages sold, real estate agent commissions and of course the one that most directly impacts me and my business, the significant drop in advertising and marketing spend. If this is any consolation, books will be written (some already have been) about this period in time and we'll all be able to say we witnessed it first hand.
There are plenty of people better qualified than I to predict how the 2011 American housing market will play out, so I won't try to second guess them. Their forecasts range from more of the same (4.8M to 5.0M existing homes sold) to slightly more aggressive numbers, closer to 5.5M existing homes sold. The consensus is the recovery in housing will be tepid in 2011.
But there is less consensus around real estate marketing media trends for 2011 and so I'd like to further that discussion with my own predictions for the Top 5 Media Trends we'll see develop in the coming year.
Top 5 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2011
1. Common sense will return to the media market. Top Agents and Brokers recognizing that real estate always has been and always will be a hyper-local business, will stop following the larger crowd and decide instead to find ways to stand out from the crowd in their very specific, very local market.
2. Local housing guides, especially color catalogs integrated with an online offering. like The Real Estate Book and its companion website http://www.realestatebook.com and other well executed products, will regain favor due to their hyper local characteristics and their ability to attract buyers and influence prospective sellers to list their home with a market leader.
3. Internet marketing will change radically. The idea that simply posting listings on large national sites is innovative marketing and that "if we post they will come" will be replaced with a smarter approach, better leveraging the real power of the internet. Large sites today like Realtor.com and other popular sites like Zillow.com and Trulia.com get anywhere from 5 to 10 million unique users every month, which is amazing considering the lackluster pace of home sales this year, but lead generation from those users is low at between 1 and 2% of traffic. These sites can be a great research tool, but for whatever reason the medium just doesn't engage people to take action, like send an email or make a phone call, to the same degree other mediums offer.
4. Content marketing solutions, like http://www.brokersherpa.com where Agents and Brokers are able to leverage their existing digital assets, like listing data mentioned above and integrate it in a more meaningful way to intersect and engage with buyers and sellers as they are online searching in any of the major search engines or social media sites, will be a major trend for 2011.
5. Cost and return on investment will continue to be major drivers to media and marketing decisions as the housing market recovers, but at a slow pace in 2011. Commission dollars will still be tight and very precious. Every decision should have a measurable and productive outcome and top Agents and brokers will insist that the vendors they choose to work with can back up their claims with concrete results and reporting.
That's my list for Top 5 MEDIA TRENDS for 2011. I''d love to hear your thoughts and invite you to let me know if you agree and if not, how you might modify the list.
Happy New Year!