• My relationship with SmartZip, as was true with everyone else, used to be exclusive.
  • But now that they are open to all, there is less value in our relationship.
  • I would have appreciated more transparency along the way because that's not what I signed up for.

For six months, SmartZip and I were in an exclusive relationship. I wasn’t looking for other predictive marketing solutions, and it wasn’t offering multiple people access to the same farm.

I knew SmartZip had other interests, but I was comforted by the fact that all of those other liaisons were private. Everyone’s personal relationship with SmartZip was built on exclusivity.

I bragged about SmartZip and its prognosticative analytics and automated marketing. I even brought my rep into my office to tell my colleagues all about it.

Unfortunately, my adoration was misplaced because SmartZip was planning on leaving me for the masses. It would assure me though, that because I was a current customer, our relationship was exclusive for life.

In the depths of holiday vacation euphoria on December 29, 2015, I logged into my SmartZip account to approve my first mailing of 2016. However, when I did I was confronted with some interesting information I had never seen before.

Not only was my private product leaving me to pursue non-exclusive options, but they also were giving me just a few days notice to get my account in order. (This has since been rectified, giving all current SmartZip subscribers until February 29, 2016 to make adjustments to or expand their exclusive areas.)

At first I thought, what’s the big deal? I can still keep my territory exclusive — it’s the new adopters who will be wasting their money on shared farm areas. But then I got to thinking and questioning.

Is this new product still the product I signed up for?

I hit the SmartZip Hub private Facebook page for some answers and to vent my heartbreak that one of my favorite companies was going public. It turned out, others were just as confused as I was.

The answers we were getting to our outrage were not actually solutions. It was understood that we could maintain our exclusive farm.

But what SmartZip was missing in their responses was that this change from exclusive to non-exclusive farm areas dramatically shifted the focus and mission of their company. But my main contention remains.

When exclusive isn’t exclusive anymore

An exclusive segment of a non-exclusive product is not worth as much and is not what I signed up for.

  • Is this the same company that I fell in technological love with?
  • Can I be in an exclusive relationship when it’s only exclusive with me in my area?
  • Will non-exclusive farms drive the overall value of SmartZip down with multiple agents sending SmartZip branded, similar marketing materials inside the same farm?

I guess it remains to be seen and for their part, many employees at SmartZip have taken my criticisms and responded the best way they possibly could — with understanding.

Prior to this holiday mishap, I was a SmartZip groupie. I still love the predictive analytics it provides, and I understand that all companies have to make a decision at some point to stay exclusive or to branch out.

All I wanted was advance notice and complete transparency about why the focus of the company pivoted so abruptly. I also wanted an authentic Adrian Dantley jersey for Christmas every year growing up. I’m still on the hunt for that one, too.

SmartZip Analytics is still a national leader in predictive marketing solutions for the industry, but without exclusivity, you will have to asses its value for yourself.

Jonathan Greene is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Instagram

Email Jonathan Greene.

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