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A Different Take on Generational Marketing

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As Benn, Lani and I were discussing the propensity on AG to discuss Generation Y and I continued to rage against I know not what true to my Generation X roots, I happened to mentioned my Westbrook Village real estate site.”You should write about it,” they said. And so here I am.

History

Westbrook Village is an active adult community in Peoria, about a mile west of Arrowhead Ranch and less than a mile from Loop 101. When UDC started construction a quarter of a century ago it was on the edges of civilization; civilization since has sprung up around it.

Once upon a time there was one dominant real estate company – Westbrook Real Estate. That brokerage was later bought out by Russ Lyon and to this day, Russ Lyon has the (dare I say it) lion’s share of the market. But once you get beyond Russ Lyon, it’s fairly wide open.

Let’s Talk About Me

Here’s where I enter the story. About 18 months ago my then-branch manager suggested in a sales meeting that someone start working in Westbrook Village. A small group of us guaranteed. Money was tight for marketing so we used door hangers from one of the local title companies, sent letters, etc.

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I started the website – I’m a one-trick pony and this is my trick.

Even as we discussed how to market I was told that you can’t market an active adult community via the Internet. Never mind that Westbrook Village now is open to residents 40 years of age or older – the vast majority of folks aren’t tech-savvy enough to ever know the website’s around.

I pushed ahead. The group came apart when none of the “traditional” marketing methods proved effective. Westbrook Village Real Estate.com, meanwhile, became a category killer and a lead machine.

Some of those who contact me are looking for themselves. Others are looking for their parents. But they’re looking online – they want to see photos, they want to see floor plans, they want to see the newest listings to the market and they want to see all of the listings without having to register to see them.

It’s Not Really About Me

It’s about the fallacies we fall into when we market ourselves and our services. It’s about making incorrect assumptions about how a certain generation may behave and how they search for services. My 67-year-old mother has a computer and almost knows how to use Google. It’s something I’ve never forgotten and refuse to overlook.

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It’s paid off.

Written By

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Colorado Mortgage Broker

    February 20, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Even if the current generation of retirees aren’t web savvy, the next generation will be. Because the age of domain and age of links counts in the SERPs, old sites (like yours will be) are more likely to rank in the future. I think it’s a fabulous idea. You get some business now, perhaps a lot of business later. I am mulling over the same idea regarding reverse mortgages. There aren’t that many searches for “reverse mortgage Denver,” for example, but it won’t always be that way. The other great thing about throwing up a site is that it just doesn’t cost that much and the maintenance isn’t that much either.

  2. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    February 20, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Wade, that is an excellent point!

    Dalton- thank you for bringing people HOPE that the retirement communities can be marketed online. Your business will boom because you refuse to forget that mom knows how to use Google!

  3. kathy Drewien

    February 23, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Oh dear! Didn’t realize that my clients and I have been dismissed as not tech-savvy!

    My 72 year old client who just relocated from Maryland met me through my online marketing.Fran wanted an active adult community. So, I set up an email listing alert for her. Long story short:Fran bought the property after researching online the area crime rate, libraries, and gyms.

    At age 57 I am a card carrying techie. My GenY clients love that I text.

    Baby Boomers (my peers) are online all the time finding resources for our aging parents. An “active adult” community without an online presence is invisible.

  4. Ginger Wilcox

    February 24, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    My 79 year old grandmother spends a ton of time on the internet. She is more likely to email me than call me. Online extends past specific ages, most people just haven’t figured that out!

  5. Colorado Mortgage Broker

    February 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Ginger-
    I think your grandmother is unusual. I spoke to a retired woman the other day who told me that she gave her credit card information to her daughter so that she could book a plane ticket for her online because she is uncomfortable on the web. I think that’s more the norm. My parents, for example, are passable on the web, but they prefer to do things the old fashioned way, if possible. Between my wife and I we have three living grandparents — and not a one of them even owns a computer. Two are self-employed and one is an intellectual, so they are most assuredly capable. Most of the old folks just aren’t embracing technology. When I walk by the Apple store at the mall, I don’t see many old folks milling about. I doubt too many ipod adds are placed in the AARP magazine. Times they are a changin’, though.

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