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128: Josh Cobb: Why Your Marketing Numbers Could Be Damaging Your Brand

By |October 6, 2017| No Comments

When you are not getting the results you want, it is tempting to throw out the marketing tactic you are using and jump to another.

You don’t need to look far for a real estate agent/agency website with a blog that hasn’t been updated in over two years or a social media page that hasn’t been posted to in months. Just because something isn’t driving new business right away, doesn’t mean it won’t later.

On this episode of Real Estate Pros, we discuss why cutting a marketing initiative short could have spelt long-term brand damage for one particular real estate business.

Real Estate Marketing

Lately, I’ve been reading the new book by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose titled ‘Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit’.

In the book, Joe and Robert argue that marketing today, in many organisations, is broken. The premise of the book is ultimately based on this question:

“What is everything we know about marketing was the thing holding our businesses back?”

While the book outlines several examples of businesses who have turned marketing upside down in their organisation, and are leaders in their respective industries as a result, it was one page at the very start of the book that really stood out for me, as a problem we see in the real estate industry all the time.

Joe and Robert talk about a research paper that was released in the 1970’s titled ‘Belief in the Law of Small Numbers’, by Israeli physiologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman.

Essentially, the research found that even professional academics mistook a very small part of their results when making decisions. To explain this, Joe and Robert use the example in the book of flipping a coin.

“Even though flipping a coin is always a 50/50 proposition, if a subject were to flip it 100 times, but the first two times turned up heads, the subject would believe that the majority of flips would turn up heads – at least higher than the true probability. This is also known as the “gamblers fallacy,” where in roulette we see red or black running hot, and we begin to think that red or black is more likely to occur, when statistically it’s not.” 

We were recently speaking with the principal of a large real estate office in Sydney who – with the help of their in-house marketing department – had started to invest in the creation of a weekly video to their local market about community news, events and quirky facts about the suburbs they cover. A little more than two months into this new initiative, at the time of our meeting, the principal was telling us that he was really disappointed with the results. After pressing him about what he meant by ‘results’, he said leads.

In his view, the business wasn’t  generating enough leads and he made the call to reduce the frequency of their videos from weekly to monthly. But it was then that the marketing manager in this business shared with us their engagement numbers around the new initiative.

Their weekly videos had increased their website traffic 20%. Their email subscriber list had grown by more than 200 new contacts – 100 new subscribers per month – and their email click-through rate was 15% from those who received their weekly videos.

No other marketing initiative, from their social media posts to property alerts, came close to what their weekly video was achieving from an engagement standpoint. Based on the growth of their email list and the click-through rate alone, people really liked their content – enough to hand over their first name and email address – and people looked forward to getting it each week. Something that can’t be said about a lot of marketing being done by real estate agents.

So had the business owner had his way and reduced the frequency of their video to monthly, based on the fact that it wasn’t generating enough leads, I would argue that he would have also reduced the likelihood that his audience would reward them with new business down the road.

The business owner assumed that because this new initiative wasn’t generating leads, it would never generate leads and thus he wanted to stop.

You don’t need to look far for a real estate agent/agency website with a blog that hasn’t been updated in over 2 years or a social media page that hasn’t been posted to in months. Just because something isn’t driving new business right now, doesn’t mean it won’t later.

And if you’re not driving leads as a result of your marketing, maybe you’re asking the wrong question in the first place. Maybe what you should be asking is, ‘how many more people am I talking to today compared to yesterday?’ Or, ‘how many people actually enjoy our marketing’?

Short-term results don’t always determine long-term success.


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