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Business Marketing

Dr. Freud’s Take on Marketing and the Real Estate Consumer

Using motivation marketing in your real estate business, Freud style. Good sense or nonsense?



Sigmund_Freud_LIFESome of you may know, but for those who don’t, I study history.  Graduate-level Trans-Atlantic History of business and technology to be exact.  My undergraduate, long long ago, was international marketing, so when I decided to go the humanities route in graduate school, business and technology seem to be a good transition from my previous academic and real life careers to my new history pursuits.  “So, what’s in it for me?” you ask? Good question!
My current research is on an Austrian Psychologist, Dr. Ernest Dichter, who is considered to be the father of motivational research.  Dichter knew Freud in Europe and when he came to the US just prior to WW II, he brought with him Freud’s psychoanalytical approach and applied it to business.  Dichter is credited as being the mac-daddy pioneer of applying Freud’s theories to marketing and business.

In a nutshell, he took marketing from describing a product in its most transparent and practical way to evoking a primal need or desire, ala Freud. No longer did you market soup by saying “oh, it tastes great and has lots of vitamins”.  The new approach would be to sell soup so that it would take you back to sitting with mom in the kitchen as she cooked fresh soup on the stove, filling the home with luscious smells (I’ll leave out the mom-Freud thing for our discussion here).

Dichter’s career was prodigious both here and in Europe.  He created the phrase “Put a Tiger in the Tank” for Exxon, consulted on the original Barbie and literally 1,000s and 1,000s of other household products.  Seeing the Freud in Exxon’s slogan and Barbie is not a far stretch, nor in all the rest of Dichter’s work.

Mouth watering steak by Busy BrainHow then, would Dichter advise us to market real estate or real estate services?  He’d have us reach the deepest bottoms of our target clientele’s psyche.  Do they want to buy a 3 bedroom 2 bath house on Main Street or are they looking for something deeper?  Security? Prestige? Sex? What is it?  Here in Miami, the advertising firms for condos have motivational marketing down pat.  You don’t see much, if anything, of the actual condos on the billboards.  You see beautiful models at the spa, doing yoga, on the beach in the most stylish of teeny garments.  They are selling the DREAM, not the condo.  And it WORKS!  The sizzle, not the steak.

The next copy you write for a listing, or to reach your sellers, keep Dr. Freud and Dichter’s theories in mind.  Reach the client where they feel it, instinctively.  Not in their head, you can’t win much in the real estate game with just numbers and facts.  You have to evoke a compelling, irresistible offer that fulfills their innermost yearnings….

When I bought my first house in Coral Gables, the Realtor was offering a set of note cards with a hand-drawn rendering of the historic home on the front.  This SOLD me!  I was now going to live in a home that had such history that there were hand-drawn note cards!  It reached a deeper level in me than just being a beautiful home (which it is).  What is your client’s hand-drawn note card?  What do they seek or desire more than just a dwelling?  Figure that out and you’ll know a whole lot more about what they REALLY want!

Freud, magician, madman or genius?  What say you?

steak thanks to TheBusyBrain.  I apologize now to any vegetarians and vegans!

Janie has been in the development, construction and real estate industries for over 20 years. She began her career in commerical construction and has slowly worked into all of the related industries and added residential properties to her resume 7 years ago. She is currently the co-owner of sister companies, Papillon Real Estate and Papillon ReDevelopment (a construction and project management firm). Janie blogs for The Coral Gables Story. In her "free" time, she is a graduate student of Atlantic History with a focus on the history of business and technology. She is a lover of geo-anything. She loves the story.

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  1. Ken Montville

    December 30, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I was actually reading about our dear Dr. Dichter in another book – Shoptimism: Why the American Consumer Will Keep Buying No Matter What, by Lee Eisenberg – and it seems that, in addition to his many contributions to marketing, he suffered from what we might call “Tiger Woods Syndrome”, if you get my drift.

    I also understand he had a tendency to assign feminine and masculine characteristics to products that would cause a mass demonstration in today’s world. Nevertheless, I’ve always heard that people buy on emotion and justify with logic. It makes perfect sense to appeal to whatever yearning the home buyer may have to help them along with making a good choice. After all, if some deep emotional need is addressed by massaging the marketing, is that such a bad thing?

    Now, about my mother…..

  2. Janie Coffey

    December 30, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Ken, I didn’t know about Shoptimism, I will have to look it up for sure. He definitely applied characteristics to products which make me scratch my head and ask, huh? I have 6 months of heavy study ahead of me, my journey is just beginning…. BUT, you are right, there is quite a pull on the emotion, either conscious or subconscious when we buy. I mean, does a Louis Vittoun bag hold my stuff any better than a nice one from Sears? No, not really, but something (not logic) sure makes me want it….I will keep you posted on my more in depth findings….

  3. Bob Gibbs

    December 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Great article. I try to make my ads appealing but I will rethink what I am doing a bit. Thank you for the Advice!

  4. Tim O'Keefe Real Estate SEO

    December 30, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    This study would be remiss without a look into Freud’s nephew Edward L. Bernays. The father of public relations and propaganda. It is Bernays who really influenced much of our present day commercialism and Statism than any other individual.
    he made Steak and Eggs perceived as a hearty breakfast by conducting a survey of physicians and reported their recommendation that people eat heavy breakfasts. He sent the results of the survey to 5,000 physicians, along with publicity touting bacon and eggs as a heavy breakfast.

  5. Janie Coffey

    December 31, 2009 at 7:06 am


    You sure know your stuff! Bernays is definitely on my research radar. If fact, I mentioned what seemed to be an absence of more writing on him and the similarities to Dichter in my research proposal. It seems that where Dichter went more in the direction of marketing product, Bernays went to PR. I believe it was Bernays who actually got women to start smoking cigarettes for the tobacco industry by having a hoard of debutantes smoke at a parade where the press covered it!

    Very interesting stuff to say the least.

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Business Marketing

The advertising overload strategy needs to stop, here’s why

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.



Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report that claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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Business Marketing

SEO: The Unsung Hero of Digital Marketing Success

(MARKETING) Despite sexier emerging trends, the reality is that you can’t build out a successful online presence and marketing strategy without SEO.



SEO Analytics

If you want to win with digital marketing, you need to stop focusing all of your energy on TikTok and hot trends and instead emphasize some of the more foundational elements that make up successful marketing strategies. This includes search engine optimization (SEO).

Why SEO Matters in 2022 and Beyond

It’s easy to forget about SEO. It’s one of those staples of digital marketing and online business growth that’s been around for so long that we tend to lump it into the “has-been” bucket. But despite sexier emerging trends, the reality is that you can’t build out a successful online presence and marketing strategy without at least paying some attention to SEO.

Here are some specific reasons why it matters:

  • Organic search. Even in a world of paid traffic, organic search reigns supreme. It’s the traffic source that continues to give you clicks regardless of whether you’re footing the bill or not. It’s a free source of qualified traffic that’s interested in what you have to offer before they even click.
  • If a user continues to see your website and brand name pop up on Google, they’re going to assign a certain amount of authority and credibility to you. This can be leveraged to drive conversions.
  • Good UX. You can’t have good SEO without paying attention to intelligent UX and high-quality content. If you follow today’s SEO best practices, you’ll position your brand far ahead of your competitors.

We could list dozens of other reasons why SEO matters, but it basically comes down to these three things. If you can drive traffic, establish authority, and implement a compelling user experience that engages the right people at the right time with the right content, everything else is going to fall into place.


Tips for Mastering SEO

Understanding the importance of SEO is one thing. Now, how do you go about implementing a successful SEO strategy that propels your larger digital marketing efforts? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Establish These 3 Pillars

It’s easy to get sidetracked with your SEO efforts. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of different tactics and techniques you can implement. But if you don’t start with the basics, everything else will be a waste of your time, energy, and effort.

Chain Reaction, an SEO company in Dubai, is a firm believer in what they call the three SEO pillars:

  • Technical. This is the boring part of SEO, but it has to get done. This includes tasks like fixing technical errors, using the proper URL structure, setting up the right website hierarchy, managing page speed, etc.
  • Content. While more exciting and creative than technical SEO, content is time-consuming and expensive (if outsourced). Having said that, it’s the fuel to any good SEO strategy. Without it, you aren’t going anywhere.
  • Authority. You need to tap into the authority of other websites to set your brand apart. The more you align with other trustworthy sites, the faster you’ll grow.

If you can win in each of these areas, everything else has a way of falling into place.

  1. Go Local

Did you know that 46 percent of all Google searches have local intent? Or that 88 percent of people who perform a local search visit or call the company within 24 hours?

Google is no longer reserved for high-level research or answering simple questions. People go to Google when they want to find a specific product or service in their area. The companies that prioritize local SEO are the ones that pop up in the search results. Make sure that’s you!

  1. Invest in Backlinks

Few things move the SEO “needle” quite like backlinks. When acquired from highly authoritative and relevant sites in your niche, they can amplify your results and prove your credibility. While you can wait to “earn” backlinks, it’s generally recommended that you take a more aggressive approach through strategies like guest blogging. 

  1. Analyze and Iterate

There’s no perfect SEO strategy. The rules are constantly changing and, as a result, so are the best practices. By constantly analyzing the data and studying analytics, you can identify when and where to optimize. An iterative approach like this is the key to being successful.

Putting it All Together

SEO doesn’t get nearly the same buzz as the latest social media trends or web design tactics. However, it’s arguably more important. Make 2022 the year that you invest in SEO for your business. It’s a decision that you won’t regret!

SEO is the unsung hero of digital marketing

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Business Marketing

Pay employees for their time, not only their work

(MARKETING) Yes, you still must pay employees for their time even if they aren’t able to complete their work due to restrictions. Time = Money.



pay employees for their time

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a lot of insightful questions about things like our healthcare system, worldwide containment procedures, and about a billion other things that all deserve well-thought answers.

Unfortunately, it has also led to some of the dumbest questions of all time.

One such question comes courtesy of Comstock Mag, with the inquiry asking whether or not employees who show up on time can be deducted an hour’s pay if the manager shows up an hour later.

From a legal standpoint, Comstock Mag points out that employees participating in such activities are “engaged to wait”, meaning that – while they aren’t necessarily “working” – they are still on the clock and waiting for work to appear; in this case, the aforementioned “work” comes in the form of the manager or supervisor showing up.

In short: if the reason your employees aren’t working is that the precursor to completing the work for which you pay them is inaccessible, you still have to pay them for their time.

Morally, of course, the answer is much simpler: pay your employees for their time, especially if the reason they are unable to complete work is because you (or a subordinate) didn’t make it to work at the right time.

Certainly, you might be able to justify sending all of your employees home early if you run into something like a technology snag or a hiccup in the processes which make it possible for them to do their jobs – that would mean your employees were no longer engaged to wait, thus removing your legal obligation to continue paying them.

Then again, the moral question of whether or not cutting your employees’ hours comes into play here. It’s understandable that funds would be tight for the time being, but docking employees an hour of their work here or there due to problems that no one can control may cause them to resent you down the line when you need their support in return.

The real problem with this question is that, despite most people knowing that the answer should always be “pay them”, the sheer number of people working from home in the wake of worldwide closures and social distancing could muddy the water in terms of what constitutes the difference between being engaged to wait and simply burning time.

For example, an employee who is waiting for a meeting to start still fits the bill of “engaged to wait” even if the meeting software takes an extra half hour to kick in (or, worse yet, the meeting never happens), and docking them pay for timecard issues or other extenuating factors that keep them from their work is similarly disingenuous – and illegal.

There are a lot of unknowns these days, but basic human decency should never be up for debate – especially now.

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