SAN FRANCISCO – Using a combination of print and Internet advertising – with a dash of behavioral marketing thrown in – were innovative real estate marketing strategies advocated by a panel at the Real Estate Connect 2005 conference Wednesday.

“A multimedia platform is necessary,” said Ken Green, group director, sales for the New York Times, speaking at the Connect convention, which focuses on innovation and trends in the real estate industry. “If you just stay in your core area, it’s not going to work.”

Anthony Marsella, vice president of classified advertising for Morris Publishing Group, said, “We do not create products for print unless they have an online component.” Marsella’s company owns 26 daily newspapers and 35 radio stations.

Calling his newspaper “the leading real estate newspaper for the last 50 years,” Green said the Times has more than 16 million unique visitors to its Web site every month. “We give 20,000 clicks to our key real estate clients’ Web sites every month. Even the smaller clients get about 500 clicks per month.”

Online advertising extends print newspapers’ reach, Marsella said. “For example, we own the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla, which reaches 62 percent of the home-buying marketplace., the newspaper’s Web site, reaches an additional 11 percent of the home-buying market that doesn’t read print.”

The VP of classified advertising said the fastest-growing part of his publishing group’s real estate advertising is online ads.

Citing an April 2005 study by Deutsch Bank. “The study focused on 40 newspapers around the U.S. and found that their reach gained 36 percent, mostly because of newspaper Web sites,” he said.

Marsella emphasized, however, that print advertising is alive and well. “The business is local, the homes are local. The newspaper has credibility.

“People sell print ads short now because they’re old, like me. But it works,” Marsella said, drawing laughter and applause from the audience.

“I joined the Newspaper Publishing Association in 1981 when Ted Turner stood up and said in ten years there would be no more newspapers. He was wrong, and print still isn’t dead,” Marsella said.

Green said the type of property being marketed, the geographical area and a number of other factors should be taken into consideration when deciding what type of advertising to use.

“If you’re selling what in New York would be lower-end co-ops in the $800,000 range, you might want to market online only,” Green commented. “But for luxury homes, we would use our print magazine as well as other formats.”

Behavioral targeting is another technique that can help an advertiser stand out. When a reader visits the New York Times site, it’s possible to track which section of the site the user visits. Based on how many times they visit the real estate section, it’s reasonable to think they’re planning a purchase, and serve targeted real estate ads to the user, Green explained.

Another approach is to put real estate ads in sections that aren’t directly related to real estate, such as the theater section. “There are sophisticated readers there with high incomes,” Green pointed out, “and your ad will stand out.”

In another unusual strategy, Morris Publishing created a customer self-service product at one of its properties, Texas site “Coldwell Banker created its own double-truck ad on the site,” Marsella said.

The panel drew frequent laughter and applause from the audience. After the presentation, Darcy Patch, senior vice president of marketing for Fidelity National Financial, said, “I liked the humor and the creative ideas, like advertising real estate in the theater section. I thought they made a compelling case for the fact that print is still a compelling venue.”


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