Marketing with Integrity.

by David Stewart (other articles by David Stewart)

In the real estate world, marketing is a funny animal. We are one of the few industries that markets a product on behalf of a third person with the ability to smother that marketing in our own branding. In most cases in Australia that marketing cost is substantially, if not fully, covered by our clients. This puts us in a somewhat tricky situation. It stands to reason the more marketing we can sell to our clients on the premise of covering all the available buyers, the more exposure we are also able to generate for ourselves as a by-product.

So where to draw the line? When do we, as agents, cross the line from purely looking after our Vendors interests to spending their money for our own gain?


I would like to think that the majority of agents in the market place spend their clients’ money in the most cost effective manner with no regards to the benefit they, themselves, receive from that spend. Unfortunately that is not the case. Our industry is built on fear. Fear that another agency is doing something you are not, fear that the competitor around the corner will be seen by more prospective Vendors than you will and this fear drives many agents to spend more and more of their clients’ money on the pretence that they are covering all the bases.

This shotgun or blanket saturation method has very little to do with true marketing and more to do with looking after number one. Any true marketing expert will tell you that the key to effective promotion of a product is to laser target your key demographic and place the majority of your spend in the direction that is likely to come to the attention of and engage those prospective buyers.

If someone clicks through to a link on a website, does that make them a qualified buyer of your client’s product? Sadly, no, it’s doesn’t. It is merely someone on the other end of internet connected device who has a passing interest in looking at your product, in our case, houses. They could well be the agent in the next office, your client themselves or the thousands of people who look at houses online to merely dream of what could be. This where the biggest disconnect arises - online marketing. The price for listing with online portals is continuing to increase an astounding rate and the industry is currently grappling with the right way to address this.

So what’s the answer? The answer lies simply in greater education on where your buyers come from. What engages them to pick up a phone or send an email requesting more information? In most cases a true buyer will be quite dedicated in their search for the perfect house. They will spend hours online scanning all the available sites, do many kilometres attending opens and they will certainly make lots of phone calls and email enquiries.

It is rare indeed for a buyer to wake up one morning to a brochure deposited in their inbox and without any prior thought on the subject decide then and there that today is a good day to buy a house. We wish it were true and some Vendors are told that it happens but the reality is very different. Buying a home is a lengthy and drawn out exercise that takes planning and many hours of consideration.

So whatever marketing you decide to promote to your Vendors ask yourself one simple question. Am I spending my Vendors’ money for their benefit or am I simply feathering my own nest? Does the Vendor stand to realistically enhance their sale and price prospects from these activities or am I spending this money because I’m scared that if I don’t my competitors will?

Ultimately we are meant to be professionals and we are relied upon to give informed advice to our clients, just make sure this advice is truly in the best interest of those you represent.

17th June, 2014

Notify me of replies to my comment.

Beth Richards - June 19, 2014 at 11:41am

great article