In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.

One of the first indicators of a market or economic shift comes from the response you’re seeing (or not seeing) to your marketing. Sometimes, what’s always worked suddenly stops working. Sometimes, a new initiative just never takes off. Over time, a slowdown in your marketing shows up in your pipeline and begins to affect everything about your business.


When that happens, it’s important to switch gears and figure out what adjustments you need to make. Then you need to figure out how you’ll refocus your marketing efforts and how much time and money you’ll put into them.

We asked (and you answered): When it’s time to rethink everything, how do you brainstorm new marketing ideas? Do you check out your competitors and see what they’re up to? Do you look to your favorite online experts? Do you throw a lot of marketing ideas at the wall and see what sticks? Do you call on a mentor or marketing guru for their best advice? Here’s your best advice.

  • I brainstorm by looking at influencers.
  • Love getting on Instagram Reels and just scrolling for awhile. I almost always see something new when it comes to marketing. Even if it’s not an agent or a brokerage, there are always cool new ideas.
  • Sometimes one gets lucky. The brand with which I am affiliated launched a refined brand identity this month, so in the lead-up to this, I was thinking a lot more about my marketing than usual and trying to think of new ways to refresh the visuals I use when communicating messages in my newsletters, social media, press mentions etc. This year I feel as if I am in spring cleaning mode: Take everything, blow pieces of it up, and either put it back together again or start entirely from scratch.
  • Take a quick look back on the source of your last 10 sales — where did they come from? How did I connect with them? For example, if they were a referral, think about new ways to reach out to your past client base to ask for additional referrals. If they were from a vendor, do a special mailing just for your vendors — or offer to send out a coupon or special offer to your clients from them.
  • Ask questions of the community I serve to figure out what matters most to them and then curate my marketing for that quarter around those very needs.
  • We begin brainstorming new marketing ideas by assessing our marketing from a macro scale, as a whole. Once we produce a direction, we implement on a micro-scale.
  • When rethinking my real estate plan, I always start by analyzing my current marketing strategies and identify what I want to achieve, who my target audience is and my main overall message. This way I can stay focused and develop ideas that are aligned and consistent with my objectives.
  • I pay attention to what I produce that gets comments or contact from a client or consumer. My company marketing director is very creative and good with curating new content messaging so we meet frequently to ensure I am always putting out relevant, substantial pieces that look better than anybody else. A good mix of print, digital, sponsorships and in-person events is a sweet spot.
  • I draw inspiration from other industries in what they are doing across a variety of mediums from social media, commercials and video as well as in print. I also look at what agents in other markets are doing to see how they are positioning and packaging what they do. I keep a running list on my computer, so if I get an idea from something I’ve come across, I write it down along with what the inspiration is. Talking it through with a trusted mentor also helps in determining the viability of the idea and how it can be brought to life.
  • I love talking with real estate professionals and industry experts across the board to hear what they’re doing that’s really working in today’s unique market. My other favorite place to brainstorm ideas is over at ChatGPT4. While it doesn’t always get things right, it’s a whiz at cranking out long lists of great ideas that can help Realtors with their businesses. Ask it to be creative and funny; it’s even better.
  • Ready, fire, aim! The best way to brainstorm new ideas is to realize that your ideas don’t need to be perfect. You want to get your ideas out there in order to test them. One of the smartest marketing people I know says, “Let’s just get it out there and follow the data!” Most marketing doesn’t work, so it’s a numbers game to test as many ideas as you can to find the gold that you keep.
  • I watch fashion and tech trendsetters closely on social media [ex: Vogue]. If the new idea works well in their arena for ninety days, I will test it in my market for six months.

Now we want to hear from you. Share your brainstorming tips in the comments below.

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