What do Betty Crocker, Kraft Foods, Monopoly and Target not have in common with many real estate brands?

They have created iPhone apps.

These longstanding brands have plunged down the rabbit hole and into a wonderland where they have found a newer, cheaper, smarter way to connect and serve a generation of "king" and "queen" consumers — your consumers — while you are not.

What do Betty Crocker, Kraft Foods, Monopoly and Target not have in common with many real estate brands?

They have created iPhone apps.

These longstanding brands have plunged down the rabbit hole and into a wonderland where they have found a newer, cheaper, smarter way to connect and serve a generation of "king" and "queen" consumers — your consumers — while you are not.

Feed your head

Last week at Real Trends’ "Gathering of Eagles" event in Dallas, a prominent association executive attempted to show me his organization’s new app for the BlackBerry.

His presentation began with the statement, "I know it would look and work so much better on an iPhone, but …" and concluded with an apology regarding its clunky, unattractive and rudimentary interface. "We had to make this for the BlackBerry" he said. "Our industry has yet to adapt to the iPhone."

Lame.

Talk about surreal. Just moments earlier, Zillow’s Spencer Rascoff pulled me aside and offered these facts about their new iPhone app:

  • The app had 150,000 downloads after only eight days.
  • It now ranks as the No. 14 free app in the iTunes App Store.
  • 25 percent of all searches last week on Zillow came from the app.

If real estate hasn’t adopted the iPhone, then where did all this hoopla come from?

It must be consumers. Your consumers. Doing exactly what they did three years ago when Zillow offered them a view through real estate’s comparative market analysis (CMA) looking glass. So unless I am smoking caterpillar, how many times is history going to repeat itself before real estate decides to head down the rabbit hole and get with the program? …CONTINUED

Need some incentive? Check out this 35-page study of iPhone users conducted by Rubicon Consulting:

  • Half are under 30.
  • Half consider themselves very technology-savvy.
  • 13 percent of them traded in their BlackBerrys for iPhones.

These people are not just consumers. They are real estate’s future cash cow. So what is your game plan for connecting with them?

A blog?

Better think again.

That’s very 2007.

Go ask Alice

If you ever wondered how others outside this space so easily wedged themselves between traditional real estate companies and their customers, the answer is obvious. Traditional real estate is always a day late on understanding its customer and a dollar short in shifting quickly to meet their needs.

As long as multiple listing services, associations, brokers and vendors continue to cater to the stagnant inclinations of their constituents — agents — rather than pushing them forward into new mediums, others outside the industry will.

Marc Davison is a founding partner of 1000Watt Consulting and national speaker. He can be reached at marc@1000wattconsulting.com.

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