Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Practice of Advertising by Norman Hart - part 2

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Chapter 10 has some interesting points to make with regards setting up any advertising campaign. It outlines common mistakes and dangers when deciding on the campaign objective. Dangers include-

Being imprecise in your campaign. This related to setting a goal for the campaign that hasn't been thought through thoroughly. Try saying that after a few pints! It is talking about getting detailed in why you want to as advertise and what you want to achieve. If your goal is to increase sales, then why aren't your sales at the level you require? Who isn't buying? What will persuade them to buy? Where do they experience advertising? How will you reach them?

This chapter also discusses the different media available to advertise in, and how you should think about splitting your resources over these different media. I'd say that in the years since this book was written, the advent of corporate presence on social media has probably broken a lot of these rules, especially for estate agents. If you have your own website, subscriptions to property portals and social media accounts then you probably have most bases covered when looking at ways to market your properties for sale and your services to today's world.

The most interesting part of the chapter for me relates to evaluating and changing your marketing campaign if necessary. You may have put resources into creating a marketing campaign but if it hasn't having the desired effect then you need to review and adapt. It may be more successful in one media than another, may have unexpected side-effects or just not work at all. Advertising is an ongoing process where you need to keep evaluating, adapting and improving what you do.

There is a large an often in-depth chapter about market research. It seems like a great way to determine what parts of your business to emphasise, where to do this and at what time. The fact that research can tell you that 70% of your target market visits Facebook at least once a fortnight, for example, is useful information. If research then tells you that they usually visit after 8pm on weekdays, then you have more information on which to base your marketing campaign. Beware, though that what people tell you they do via market research does not always match what they actually do-

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There is an entire chapter dedicated to what the author calls "services advertising" and estate agency would come under this category. The start of the chapter outlines what this advertising needs to be-

Relevant
Credible
Distinctive
Memorable
Consistent

It also states an interesting observation that whilst most advertising relies on the product to live up to the marketing hype, services need the people of the organisation to live up to the marketing hype. Even in financial services, the advertiser is reliant on the people delivering the financial products of bank accounts and mortgages to deliver at least as much as the bank accounts and mortgages themselves. I believe that this is amplified in today's property market. Owner occupiers are increasingly aware of the cost of moving and the decision to move is rarely taken lightly. In light of this, it takes a great service to make the estate agent role in the process memorable and recommend-able. You can get lost alongside the trials and tribulations of moving, the solicitors and financial advisers. A really good estate agent will stand out at the top of the pile as the person who kept everything together - especially in a tough market.

With mortgages in mind, the author states that the object of financial services marketing "is to increase the disposition towards one brand over its competitors by increasing it's like ability." And he states this because of the infrequency of purchase. The same goes for estate agency advertising - you simply don't know who your customers are until they decide to put their house on the market. Until that point, you are blanket marketing to the general population in the hope that they are looking to move in the near future and remember you. The only two exceptions to this that I see are-

People who are already on the market with another agent

Or

Investors that are regularly buying property

The first one is a market for vendors, where you are looking to exploit another agents poor service or inability to sell the property. The advertising messages here should be self-evident. We provide better service or we sell homes faster and/or for more money.

The second is a market for buyers and really the USP that interests these investors is buying at a good price and getting to see property before anyone else. The marketing messages here are on a far more personal level but can be just as effective. The nature of the marketing to investors is quick and exclusive so a telephone call is more often than not the right way to go about this.




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