“I’m not as mobile as a real estate agent would be,” says Marci James. “I’m working from an office most of the time. But when I’m not in the office, I’m totally connected via iPhone and iPad. I’m definitely addicted.”

Inman is interviewing real estate professionals in every area of the field to talk about technology use. Here’s Marci James, the vice president of marketing at Obeo and an Inman contributor.

Is technology an asset or an annoyance? A hindrance or a hero?

Hero. I’d be lost without it. I feel I am much more productive and better organized.

What model phone do you use and why?

IPhone. I was an Android user for years. But I also love using the latest app, and I hated waiting for them to be released for Android. I manage all of Obeo’s social media and marketing. I have to be extremely connected when I’m on the go or traveling (which happens a lot!). The reliability of my iPhone, and the superior apps, has made me a convert. I love my iPhone.

What are your top three apps on your phone?

How do I choose only three? I’d be lost without OneNote. It literally organizes my world. I’ve tried numerous times, and I just cannot make the move to Evernote. I’m simply addicted to OneNote. So No. 1 is OneNote. No. 2 is my Tempo Calendar. No. 3 is Expensify.

How do you split your digital time: how much mobile, how much desktop?

I’m not as mobile as a real estate agent would be. I’m working from an office most of the time. But when I’m not in the office, I’m totally connected via iPhone and iPad. I’m definitely addicted. I’d give it a 55 percent to 45 percent ratio, with most of my time on desktop. But let me give everyone a warning – I’m not average. Mobile is taking over, so get ready.

Describe your job. What do you do every day? How does technology support (or not support) your daily job description?

I’m the vice president of marketing for Obeo. Even though Obeo is headquartered in Bountiful, Utah, I work out of my home in Denver most of the time (spending one week of every month in the Bountiful office). Technology makes it easy for me to be completely connected to my Bountiful colleagues at all times.

We use a variety of technologies and programs, including Skype phone and video, Skype messaging, text messages, VoIP phone service, GoToMeeting, Dropbox and more. We also do some group texting and have a private Facebook group. Finally, we use Basecamp and Teamwork for project management. These tools allow me to be “virtually connected” at all times, and I’m incredibly productive working from home.


Do you consider yourself an early adopter of technology? Or do you wait to see what’s working for other people?

I’m definitely an early adopter, although I’m not the one waiting in line on release day. I’ll give it a couple months. I love to sign up for beta groups and I love trying out new technologies and platforms.

I love new technologies and like trying them all. I do, however, still use pen and paper at times.

What’s the biggest technology-related challenge you face today? How do you solve it?

This one is tough. As the VP of marketing for Obeo, my biggest challenge is managing marketing campaigns. I recently started using an automated marketing platform as a CRM to create, schedule, segment and track my marketing campaigns.

What do you think is the biggest overall challenge facing the real estate industry? Will technology be able to address it?

Great question. I think there are a couple big challenges right now. The first one focusing on data. Data is available; every day new and existing companies are creating new ways to use it. A huge challenge for real estate right now is how to use the data in the best interest of the industry.

A second challenge is creating technologies that work together and speak to each other. Right now, agents are required to use too many different marketing and management tools that do not speak to each other or work together. This requires them to log into multiple back offices and make repetitive data entry. It is a huge time waste.

How do you feel technology is changing the real estate industry? Are these changes making the industry better or worse? Why?

Great question. The biggest technology change is mobile. Mobile is changing this industry very quickly. Consumers no longer sit at a desk and shop for homes on their PCs. They grab their phones and iPads and start driving around neighborhoods. Agents need to do everything they can to attract and capture these mobile consumers. Consumers also want more neighborhood information. Technology has made it easy to get information on listings and homes, but there isn’t enough good content on neighborhoods.

What email system(s) do you use? Which one is your favorite and why?

I use a system called eTrigue. It’s my automated marketing platform, and does a lot more than email. I love it. But I would recommend MailChimp to most real estate pros.

Which CMS do you use? What do you like about it, and what feature do you wish it would add in the future?

Again, I use eTrigue. But I’ve heard great things about Realvolve and Contactually.

Do you use a calendar app? Which one? What do you like about it?

I LOVE Tempo. It integrates data from multiple sources: Google maps, Facebook, LinkedIn, Contacts, messaging, email and more. When a meeting reminder pops up, it tells me how long it’s going to take to drive there. I can click to start navigating; I can click to send the person I’m meeting a quick message; I can click to see their Facebook or LinkedIn profile. It’s easy to use, it works really well, and it’s free!

Do you use digital documents, which one? Why?

I use Google Docs for collaborating on documents. I use Dropbox for storage.

Do you own a camera? What kind? What do you like about it?

Yes, but it’s not a DSLR and I would never dream of taking listing images with it!! I have a Nikon J and I love it for vacations and family photos.

What kind of laptop or tablet (or both) do you own?

Lenovo workhorse laptop attached to two large-screen monitors. It’s not unusual for me to have five or six programs running and 10 different Chrome tabs open at the same time. My Lenovo can handle it. I also use an iPad.

Do you have a Nest thermostat in your home?


Do you play games on any of your devices? Which ones?

Yes — Candy Crush, Trivia Crack, Words with Friends, Pyramid Solitare

Which websites do you visit every day? Why?

Google (I Google EVERYTHING). Amazon (because I buy EVERYTHING there). Facebook (I’m addicted). ETrigue (It’s where I manage my marketing campaigns). Commin.it (Twitter management). Feedly (my RSS reader). Other programs that I use daily, though I may not visit their sites, include Teamwork, Dropbox, Buffer.

Which social media app do you use the most on your phone? Your tablet? Your computer?

Phone: Instagram and Facebook; tablet: Facebook and Hootsuite; computer: Facebook and Commun.it.

What’s on your technology wish list — for yourself or for work?

An Apple Watch, a Wi-Fi-enabled camera, Amazon TV.

Where do you get most of your leads: portals or other sources?

Other sources.

What is your favorite technology, one you actually get joy out of using?

My iPad.

What is your favorite “unplugged” activity?

Hiking, backpacking, snow shoeing, skiing.

Read Marci James’s article: 7 ethical guidelines for real estate content curation

Would you like to participate in Inman’s technology profile series? Email amber@inman.com.

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