Kick off the fall with Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. We’re going deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, realtor.com and more. Top marketing executives drop by to share their newest tactics, too. It’s all you need to take your branding and marketing game to the next level.
Megan Meyer Toolson got her feet wet in the professional world at a number of consulting, startup and media-related companies. But Toolson found her niche once she arrived at Opendoor, serving as a jack-of-all-trades for a company she believed in. In her years at Opendoor, Toolson has been involved in nearly everything, from tech to pricing to product to sales and more.
In January 2021 she was named the company’s first-ever Chief Customer Officer, where she puts the company’s customers at the forefront of all she does. Inman recently caught up with Toolson via email about her role at Opendoor and where the company will be directing its marketing efforts in upcoming months. Here’s what she had to say.
You’ve been at Opendoor for over six years now. What first made you interested in the company, and what has kept you there?
When I was younger, my family and I moved quite a bit. I saw firsthand how stressful and cumbersome the buying and selling process can be. So when I had the opportunity to join Opendoor back in 2015, I was drawn to the impact we could have on families, communities and economies across the country by empowering a seamless move.
For me, it didn’t matter the particular work I was focused on (it changes all the time anyway at a startup). It was and still is the mission behind the work — something I can dedicate countless hours to and be proud of at the end of each day. That’s what drew me to Opendoor and has kept me here to this day.
What does a typical day look like for you at work?
My day-to-day changes all the time. It’s been that way from day one. Over the years, I’ve worn a series of different hats and assumed a myriad of responsibilities across different parts of the business.
At the beginning of 2021, I was promoted to Chief Customer Officer. Now, I oversee all go-to-market efforts across marketing, sales and support, in-market operations and expansion. So I like to think of my day-to-day life as if I’m conducting an orchestra — figuring out how all the pieces (of the business) work together, at scale, to create a beautiful and seamless operation.
What kind of work went into launching Opendoor’s first national campaign? How was that different from other more local campaigns the company has run before?
First, we recognized that we were in enough markets to justify a national campaign. So in some ways the national ad campaign started with our efforts around market expansion.
But as for the campaign itself, the team spent a lot of time understanding the current market and consumer sentiment around buying and selling. The reality is that we’re seeing a secular shift in consumer behavior from offline to online in real estate. Just like we’ve seen in other sectors, consumers are demanding digital-first, on-demand services. So the campaign is very much representative of this inflection point for the industry.
We also know two-thirds of sellers are buying, so the idea of having the option to sell with certainty and on your terms resonates, especially in this market. Consumers want to know what their purchase power is, as well as have the confidence that they can shop for their next home without contingency.
What main goals or strategies do you hope to implement in 2022?
In 2022, we’re excited to continue telling the Opendoor story to more sellers, buyers, agents and brokers, especially in the 23 new markets we launched this year.
We believe we can support and accelerate the industry’s transition to a new, tech-driven model that can be as seamless and easy as ordering groceries online. Consumers today are demanding that level of simplicity and digitization as an option — as well they should — and we want to share with them that it’s already a reality with Opendoor.
Anything else exciting on the horizon for Opendoor and its marketing/branding?
We’re growing the team in support of our continued expansion. Opendoor is still a nascent brand relative to the other established players in real estate. So we need to continue to tell the story of Opendoor and ensure consumers are aware of us as an option to move.
Opendoor has the potential to create a dynamic shift in both consumer behavior and mindset when it comes to buying and selling, and we want our brand marketing to reflect that complicated but exciting change in a relatable way.
Our expansion into new markets will certainly play a role, but foundational to everything we do at Opendoor are our teams of people who care deeply about modernizing the consumer real estate experience.