The reason for this eponymously titled post is that I had the opportunity to attend the Portland Communicators Conference this morning. The conference was hosted by the local chapter of the PRSA and by OCIABC, and was focused on getting back to basics in all of our marketing, communications and public relations efforts.

I was most interested in a session led by Mason Cole of Snapnames.com on "Marketing in the Trust Economy", which tackled the issue of how to present your message in an increasingly segmented information environment. Unfortunately Mason's talk was a bit rushed, due to the time constraints imposed by the session, but he capably covered a lot of ground. I really felt like a topic such as this could have merited an entire day devoted to it however.

Mason summed up, far more comprehensively than I could, what I feel are many of the challenges facing marketers today. That is, that consumers are becoming more and more empowered with information and that is fundamentally changing the way we all do business. In the real estate world, sites like Zillow.com and AgentLine (among others) are slowly breaking down the information walls that have thus far protected our industry. New players are entering our business daily and challenging traditional business models. Getting to the root of these challenges is going to require going back to basics – in marketing, the biggest hurdle is going to be how to communicate your worth in a non-intrusive, yet genuine, fashion.

On the other hand, in many ways, I think the rest of the business world is waking up to the reality that those in the real estate industry have known all alone (but that, in some cases, may not have been particularly good at executing on). That is, a straightforward, honest dialogue with customers generates positive word of mouth, a good reputation and results in repeat business. The opposite being also quite true.

All in all, it was an interesting morning and certainly has my mind spinning in a number of new directions.

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