NEW YORK — In a world inundated with information, the role of the real estate professional is to provide consumers with usable knowledge in the most convenient way possible, according to speakers at Real Estate Connect Wednesday.

Information overload has been around since the advent of the printing press, but it has never been more available, said Bev Thorne, chief marketing officer for Century 21 Real Estate.

"It’s constant. Think about our consumers — it’s both terrific and it’s a huge problem. There’s an accessibility overload, if you will," she said.

That means real estate professionals shouldn’t worry so much about providing more content or data on real estate websites, but rather offering it in the most convenient, user-friendly way possible, Thorne said.

"(Consumers’) lives are frantic. When they reach out they want to accomplish something. They want information that’s usable, packageable, that gets something done for them. They want less to do in their lives rather than more data," she said.

"So the site or the tool or the app or the professional that works with the consumer to enable them to do something conveniently … is the (resource) that that consumer is going to choose."

That means real estate professionals should make it easy for consumers to find them and connect with them on all platforms, whether through search engine optimization, search engine marketing, blogging or social media, Thorne said.

They should also make it easy for consumers to find the information they want — neighborhood data, for instance — on industry websites, she added.

"Whatever they want, you want to have it there and you want it to be convenient," Thorne said.

Real estate professionals are "uniquely positioned" to fill consumers’ hunger for useful information, said Mark Allen, CEO of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors and its subsidiary 10K Research and Marketing. 10K specializes in real estate data visualization.

"Data is readily available, but it’s overly complex. Most consumers don’t speak data, don’t read data, most don’t even like data. (They want) to have that data simplified and translated into actionable knowledge" that will help them make informed decisions, Allen added.

Successful industry professionals will deliver information that is immediate, preferably automated, and has an intuitive user interface, Allen said.

"People want to read with their hands, not with their eyes. They want to be able to touch, swipe, pinch. We’re firm believers that interactive is the future of data," he said.

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