How Big Data is Affecting Direct Mail Marketing for Real Estate Brokerages
C2ER is happy to welcome guest writer, Tony Gilbert with The REALFX Group
The world of modern real estate marketing is infinitely more targeted, personalized and sophisticated than it used to be, due largely to the ability to obtain and analyze data. Big data, easily collected in the digital world, has opened myriad possibilities and streamlined efforts across the real estate sales and marketing universe to make them more effective.
New Terms for New Times
There are many benefits, among them a more targeted approach to marketing, the ability to personalize and enrich the sales journey, and the power to integrate several small bits of information into a cohesive, planned campaign. Big data has been termed revolutionary for real estate for good reason. In a way, it simulates a return to the individualized customer experience of bygone days.
Mom and Pop stores knew their customers wants and preferences and responded to those needs. The rise of big box stores and internet shopping took the individual out of the equation. Direct mail marketing grew out of the belief that a “shotgun approach” would yield a positive return. If the sample were large enough, even a small percentage of response was deemed a win.
Big data removes much of the guesswork and improves response percentages dramatically, which works wonders for a real estate brokerage’s conversion rates and overall bottom line. But it must be used correctly and employed in conjunction with other effective strategies.
Enter the World of Big Data
As with most “tools” in modern business, it is sometimes difficult to grasp the dynamics of altered methods and procedures. Big data, however, is unique among marketing tools for real estate because it offers information about consumers and consumer habits within a well-defined context. The sheer bulk of data that can be collected offers powerful insights, but it is best used when there is ample additional data to draw upon.
For instance, a real estate agent can use local sales and pricing information to tailor direct mail campaigns to first-time buyers, soon to retire sellers, or move-up prospects interested in a specific school district. Big data tracks the customer journey by breaking down even small, unrelated and seemingly inconsequential actions into measurable steps, allowing marketers to better target specific points in the journey. The insight to be gained is enormous and it can be overwhelming.
Using Big Data to Your Advantage
Progressive companies report that they use big data in predictive ways as well as to identify customer “pain points” and to respond to consumer demands
In a sense, big data helps to drive trends as well as to identify them. Insights pulled from big data can be used to excite clients and can also serve to build loyalty to a brand or service provider.
In an industry such as real estate, where agents strive to stand out to help clients choose them, the advantage lies in building an informed, responsive network. For savvy real estate agents, the creative use of big data can result in a cadre of informed investors or a corporate community of potential buyers, sellers and renters.
The predictive nature of big data, coupled with local real estate expertise, offers a prime example. Direct mail marketing campaigns might encourage potential sellers to list homes for sale in advance of a corporate relocation. Conversely, an agent with appropriate inventory could direct marketing efforts solely to new corporate employees, providing needed personalized service, saving money, assuring a receptive audience and boosting response rates all at the same time.
How to Integrate Big Data
While the world of big data offers enormous advantages, it can also be simply a “scattershot” of information with little effective value if not assessed and analyzed effectively. Learning how to use the insights gained from big data collection is one of the continuing challenges for today’s real estate brokerages.
Real estate marketing has always been about building long-term relationships. Today, big data helps to cement those relationships in ever more innovative ways. Relevant information is there for the taking; it is the best use of all that data that presents real opportunities for the future.