If you think it’s tough managing marketing as an individual agent or even at a brokerage level, try doing David Marine’s job — he’s the senior vice president of marketing for Coldwell Banker, overseeing an entire brand and the story it’s telling to agents and consumers alike.
Marine will be participating in a case-study panel discussion about taking an idea from a concept through execution; it’s happening at Inman Connect New York, January 29 through February 1 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square. We talked to Marine about how to stand out from the crowd and how he identifies (and executes) the ideas that really work.
Tell us a little more about your session. How will it address how the industry can embrace the shifting market?
I like the idea for this panel a lot because especially in a marketplace such as this one, with competitors on all sides and advancements at every turn, there’s a need as a brand, a company or even an agent to figure out what the best way is to act on a idea after it’s vetted. There’s a concept that new ideas are often the best one and that’s not often the case. An idea can come from anywhere — a competitor, your mother, a client. We like to take ideas and put them through a system to vet them, which ones are good and which ones aren’t.
We just implemented a “voice of customer” program to get ideas in from every customer we have and see which ones truly bubble up, which ones make the most sense, how can we compare them to other things we’re seeing from outside our industry, and then see which ones really deserve attention. We love shiny objects in this industry; what’s interesting is, I’m privileged to be in charge of a brand like Coldwell Banker, which has been around for more than 100 years, and we’ve seen a lot of shiny objects and have also been able to participate them as a first mover, when it becomes part of our brand. Smart homes, big data, machine learning — we’ve been doing that for years. So with shiny objects, the key is finding the right ones and then vetting the ideas behind them.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities to focus on in the real estate industry right now?
Data and being able to manage your data and use it to help you inform your decisions is critical if we’re looking at the agent level all the way through to a company or brand level. That’s why we’re continuing to invest in our CBX technology suite, which at its core is using data to predict where buyers are likely to come from, what’s the right way to price a property, to market a property, which trends are happening in this specific market that will help me figure out which households are likely to list in the next six to twelve months so I can be proactive about that. Consumer trust continues to be an issue, and there’s a blurring of lines — what does this agent do vs. this one, this company vs. this one, and why can’t I do this all online? The company that can use data to position themselves as an expert and use that, it will set them apart. Everyone’s saying “I’m going to market your property, have a fancy yard sign, have an open house,” but if you can come in and say “everything is pointing to this, so this is what we need to do,” you’ll have an advantage.
To stay competitive, agents, brokers and companies need to execute quickly. What do you feel are key areas where quick execution can vastly improve the customer experience?
It sounds simplistic but it really comes down to communication and setting expectations. The more you’re in touch with clients and they understand where you are in the process — that’s really what the buyer and seller wants. An agent’s ability to openly communicate in the way their client wants to be communicated with, whether it’s email or text or whatever it might be, is one of the foundational elements of any relationship. That’s what will lead to repeat customers.
What are your hopes for the next 12 months, and what will you be working on?
Other than peace on earth and goodwill toward men, I’ll say that in the next year we’re looking for ways to tell the Coldwell Banker story, a unique way. When we look at the landscape of what’s going on out there, there’s a lot of attention on the different aspects of our business. With what we have to offer and our brand differentiators, we are as competitive today as we ever were before. So we want to make sure our agents see the value and are able to tell our story as well. In general, in marketing, I’ve come up with the three Vs of marketing trends — looking at voice, and how we are using these new voice devices to communicate and making sure our experiences through voice are the right ones; this idea of visual search on social, and how you get people to stop and look and have something catch their eye, whether that’s through advertising or our listings. And then video, which seems passe at this point, but video has to be a core element in every single thing that we produce for marketing, whether it’s in internal communications, a recruiting element or consumer focus. The fact that we have an in-house video team makes it easy for us to easily and quickly create video content that works with sound on and sound off, and it has to be a compelling piece of marketing.
Discover the opportunities in a changing market at Inman Connect New York, January 29 – February 1. Jumpstart 2019 with tactical takeaways, unlimited networking and thought-provoking speakers. Learn more.
Thinking about bringing your team? You may qualify for special group perks! Contact us to learn more.