I was discussing the role of agents with someone who was adamant that of all the things agents do, marketing is of the least value and should be outsourced. It kind of surprised me. Isn’t the job of an agent to find willing buyers/tenants and sellers/landlords? How can you do that without marketing?
Many brokerages don’t even have a marketing department anyway. Even if they do, agents are often left to their own devices when it comes to marketing whether it be generating leads, marketing their properties or themselves. And they seem to like it that way. It’s the agent that knows the market, the building, the client and themselves.
Since most brokerage management are also sales people, too, they tend to agree. So they don’t think much about it. They don’t think about what they’re losing either. Consistent branding, the ability to measure marketing effectiveness or awareness of new channels and methods. And while it’s true that every building and every client is different, there are many aspects of the marketing process that are the same for them all.
When you look at a typical sales organizations marketing and sales are usually separate. Company websites, branded materials, social networking presence and measurements of effectiveness are just some of the things a marketing department creates and manages.
And there has to be a strategy. Management decides on the image they want to present. Salespeople provide customer insights and needs. Then that information is used to create materials, select the best ways to reach the target audiences and then choose the people or tools to do it.
But back to the conversation about whether agents should do their own marketing. After thinking about it, I have to agree only because I believe its the brokerage’s responsibility. They’re the ones who should be providing the branding guidelines and have a strategy in place to market the company and its “products.” Then, they choose the staff and/or tools to enforce both.
About the only thing I think agents should market is themselves. Most already do that the old school way – selling themselves in person. Others add online promotion into the mix, in which case the brokerage should provide guidelines for the use of the brokerage name, logo and any state requirements (i.e., in NY, you need to use the name as it appears on the license, the license held and sometimes your license number).
But self-marketing is in line with the point I think my friend was trying to make. It’s the agent who provides the value. Their ability to understand the market, evaluate a property, negotiate a deal. Brokerages should want their agents to spend their time on those things instead of tinkering with a flyer.