Connect the Speakers: Rivers Pearce on making sense of the data

BoomTown’s director of industry relations will share data tracking tools and tips at Inman Connect New York

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Rivers Pearce appears at Inman Connect New York (Jan. 22-26, 2018, Marriott Marquis Hotel, Times Square) presenting his marketing track talk “Five Best Tools for Measuring Marketing Results.”

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We’re really excited to have you joining us as a speaker for Inman Connect New York, but tell us a little more about yourself. How did you arrive in your current role?

I am currently the director of industry relations at BoomTown. I began working at BoomTown in early 2010, as employee 10 or 11, I believe, basically starting their digital marketing/lead generation department. Prior to that I was an ad agency guy, after being a guitar player before that! When I first arrived at BoomTown, we had about 70 clients and are now at over 2500, and the digital marketing team of one in 2010 is now over 20, plus ad tech engineers. I’ve also served as the director of client services, and director of digital marketing/strategy.

That all said, I guess you can say that I “arrived” at my current role after nearly eight years of conferences (including at least 10 Inman Connect’s), masterminds, client work, and a lot of late industry nights at all of the above.

I remember when we were a small scrappy tech company and how welcoming the industry was, and eager to share knowledge. I’ve truly loved bringing my digital marketing expertise to the industry, and having it infused with all of the subtle nuances (of which there are many) across the franchises, models and generally amazing people in real estate.

Tell us a little more about your session, what kinds of things will you be talking about in January?

I am going to be discussing various tools for tracking your marketing initiatives. I realize that there is a ton of technology out there nowadays, and it can be a bit overwhelming for most real estate professionals. That said, it’s 2018, and you simply cannot afford to remain in the dark about “which half of your marketing isn’t working.” The bottom line is that as a business owner in today’s digital world, you have the ability to know the impact of nearly every dollar and minute spent; and, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not meticulously tracking them as such.

However, before you implement any sort of tracking technology, you first have to understand which metrics you should be tracking. This is really the most important thing to understand, because it doesn’t matter which tool(s) you use, if you’re tracking something that isn’t making a real business impact.

I plan to outline what metrics make the most sense for a typical real estate broker or team to be monitoring (including, perhaps most importantly, agent accountability), as well as, the best “under the hood” tech/analytics stacks for measuring, tracking and monitoring results.

Tracking, reporting and analytics — and the subsequent decisions that are made from them — may not be sexy to most people. However, the people that are winning, and will continue to win in 2018 and beyond, are meticulously tracking everything. This leads to more streamlined operations, bigger margins and ultimately more money in everyone’s pockets (including their clients’). I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t think that’s sexy!

What does a typical day look like for you?

Well…that depends! If I’m not traveling, a typical day for me starts with getting up around 5:30, and getting the kids off to school. Then into the office, with a yoga session in there as much as possible.

I have a pretty flexible role at this point, as I am not running a team any more. I am usually speaking with clients, working on the next episode of our new series “Driven,” doing a webinar, or most recently several Facebook Live events with Inman. I am on the road about 40 percent of the time, though, either visiting clients or attending a conference, etc. (writing this from the Atlanta airport).

We’re currently knee-deep in Q1 planning for about 10 events where I’ll be speaking, presenting, moderating panels, and finally ending the quarter as the emcee for BoomTown Unite, where Brad Inman will be featured as one of our keynotes!

Additionally, as we are starting to open up our API, I serve as the liaison on the business side of the house for any vendors and/or partners that are interested integrating with BoomTown. It’s been a cool role to take on, as it blends my long history and knowledge of digital marketing and marketing technology, with all of the insights into real estate that I’ve gained over the past eight years. So I spend about half of my day talking to all sorts of folks, seeing demos, discussing business cases, etc.

What do you think the biggest challenges facing the real estate industry are at the moment?

There are a few…

Teams: simply put, they’re here to stay. Brokers are going to need to find a way to co-exist, or hopefully, find win-win situations with teams in 2018 and beyond. I know plenty of brokers that not only “make it work” with teams, but are quite profitable together.

Piggybacking off that, the brokerage model itself seems to be under a bit of attack. I did an episode of Driven with Rob Hahn a while back, and he and I were discussing how technology, per se, isn’t turning out to be the great disruptor in our space. It’s the various newer brokerage models, like HomeSmart and Redfin, and the iBuyer model, which are heavily fueled and supported by technology, that people need to be taking very seriously (not to mention that Compass has taken on over $500M in funding in the last month or so).

All of this is being pushed into hyper-drive by today’s “instant gratification obsessed” digital consumer. This is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the industry, in that, I still talk to agents/brokers all the time who simply don’t see what’s happening all around them.

The pervasiveness of mobile phones, and technology like voice powered devices (e.g. Alexa and Google Home), IBM’s Watson and augmented reality, have given the consumer unprecedented access to immediate information. We expect answers to our questions as soon as we think them, delivery of goods and services the same day we order them, and all of this is exponentially increasing consumer expectations. There aren’t a lot of direct impacts to the real estate industry — yet — but we all need to be very mindful of how consumers are changing. It will have an impact at some point, and it could be much sooner than you think!

2018’s shaping up to be a really exciting year, and as we look ahead, what are your hopes for the next twelve months, and what will you be working on?

2018 is definitely going to be an exciting year at BoomTown as we open up our API. We are very excited to give our clients an array of choice around how BoomTown fits into their business ecosystem. I think that it’s going to be very cool to see the various marketing and tech stacks that savvy agents and brokers create.

Referencing my comments above, it’s my hope that I don’t speak to any more rooms of real estate professionals that are still struggling to accept the fact that an intelligent CRM is no longer a nice to have! We have to all move into a mindset that if you want to succeed in 2018 and beyond, success will simply not be feasible without the technology that will allow you to deliver experiences for your clients that are commensurate with the expectations being shaped by the world around them. That’s not to say that traditional marketing is dead, not by any means. I just hope to see people begin to truly embrace omni-channel marketing strategies that are tied together via APIs, proper tracking and more three dimensional thinking overall.

Put simply: my hope is that more real estate professionals would just take a step back and think about how they operate in today’s digital economy, what they expect out of the people they do business with, and then apply that into the way that they operate their businesses and service their customers.

Want to connect with Rivers? You can find him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Email Matthew Shadbolt