TECHNOLOGY & MARKETING
Are you concerned about competition from virtual or tech-dependent firms?
Jim Linnane, Guaranteed Rate: The improvements in technology have been a huge win for the consumer and the industry. Those companies that invest in technology and merge those innovations into options for the consumer and the agent will differentiate themselves. We believe that putting state-of-the-art technology in the hands of the most seasoned loan officers in the industry makes for the best customer experience.
Mike Sato, Jameson Sotheby’s: There are various real estate business models in Chicago, but I have not seen one dominate the market. The companies that enjoy the most success are agent driven, while being supported by strong technology.
Our clients like technology, but they care about their agents’ experience and perspective on the market. Our clients want to relate to a person and work as a team on marketing and negotiations. That is especially evident when working with high-end buyers and sellers from our many experiences.
What are your thoughts on virtual reality in real estate? Do you see that becoming more common in 2017?
Rebecca Thomson, @properties: Virtual reality has an appeal but is still cost-prohibitive for most brokers. New construction seems like the most likely application – for now. It is a great option to help buyers experience a property from another place or to visualize what could be. In the interim, Matterport is an affordable alternative. Much like Google Street View, potential buyers can feel like they have walked the space from anywhere in the world.
Doug Carpenter, IR: VR is moving from tech fad to become more of a force in the business. Consumers are becoming more comfortable with the technology, and as the price point to obtain it decreases – as it almost certainly will – I think it will see wider adoption. Is 2017 the year where everyone suddenly gets into VR? Probably not. But I would expect interest to start trending upward.
Tripti Kasal, Baird & Warner: We will indeed see more use of virtual reality in the form of tools such as Matterport. The public will start to rely more on those types of tools, which allow them to look at fewer homes to make a buying decision. The traditional process of driving around and looking at many homes over a long period of time is inefficient for today’s consumer.
Patrick Ryan, Related Realty: Virtual reality is a great tool. I attended the Real Deal conference in May, and had the opportunity to demo technology that will be of real value to certain groups, such as foreign buyers who cannot visit a home to get a sense of interior space, or investors who are not as concerned with a home’s “feel.” I still believe that walking a property in person – to get the true feeling of the home – is irreplaceable. The actual light and sound of the space, and the neighborhood in which it is located, cannot be duplicated virtually.
Will the role technology plays in your marketing change in 2017? If yes, do you see technology playing a bigger or smaller role in your marketing strategy?
Dan Goodwin, The Inland Group: Online security will be a dominant issue in 2017, and likely for years to come. No matter the size of the business, you are going to have to make sure that your customers’ data is secure. Consumers will need assurance that you are doing your best to protect them, and that you are using IT professionals to keep up with the inside and outside threats to your system.
Jim Esperson, David Weekley Homes: We are utilizing video marketing as often as possible, and see the benefits of customer engagement with video marketing. That’s why we plan to utilize video, virtual reality and social media even more during 2017.
What trends in marketing do you expect to see in your field in 2017? What current marketing trends do you think will die out?
Catherine Terpstra, MORe: It seems to me that since the 2008 election cycle, we’ve seen an increase in technology and social media marketing, and it’s now rolling over into other fields. When you’re marketing a product, you’re always looking to be as innovative as possible. So at some point, I think the mass mailers that clog everyone’s mailbox will die out.
But like Brian Buffini, I continue to believe in the value of a handwritten note. It’s easier to send an email or a text, but a handwritten note always puts a smile on your face. In that pile of mail, that’s what you open first and hang on to. So believe it or not, that’s a trend that continues to increase in value!
Mike Sato, Jameson Sotheby’s: The use of social media and video to market real estate will continue to grow. Social media channels make it easy to distribute video and target the exact audience. And now, with the introduction of Facebook Live and Instagram Stories, real estate agents have an opportunity to integrate video into the marketing of their properties in really creative ways.
Matt Silver, CAR: I believe we’ll see an increase in the use of CRMs and geolocation applications. Video will continue to be huge – and with that, we’ll continue to see a rise in Snapchat, Instagram stories and Facebook Live.
Tripti Kasal, Baird & Warner: Agents are looking to be more effective in their marketing. The trend toward target marketing using retargeting ads, boosting social media, etc., will continue. Blanket marketing, like blasting a listing online, will decrease.
Rebecca Thomson, @properties: I definitely expect to see more Matterport, but I am also excited about what role beacon technology will play. The ability to send information to a buyer’s phone as they walk through a property could change the way we show properties, and the amount of information we can easily convey.