At least they don’t always tell the entire story.
I can say that. I’m a marketer. At the risk of sounding Machiavellian, it’s our job to present information that helps to communicate a message. Good marketers take great pride in pursuing a non-duplicitous practice to maintain brand integrity, particularly in the spirit of transparency. But, that could also mean information that could cause one to question the message is not presented.
Last week, Trulia shared a video taken on the floor of Connect that was conceptually FANTASTIC. In deference to the blind taste test a la Pepsi Challenge in years past, they showed folks a side by side chart listing various services and functions of two online real estate advertisers asking them to choose which they prefer.
The side by side comparisons shouting FREE, FREE, FREE, minimal costs and added functionality when comparing Trulia side by side to Realtor.com made Trulia a no-brainer choice. But is it?
If it’s free, do you get what you pay for?
Critical thinker that I am, here’s my dilemma: What do you get? While Trulia does have very impressive traffic numbers, particularly being relatively new, how much of that traffic is potential business vs. agents accessing the awesome Voices area?
More data please!
In addition to the side-by-side comparison chart, I’d ask for data to determine exactly what I get for the money I do spend with them. At minimum, I would ask to see:
- Monthly traffic numbers
- Traffic originating from my geographic area
- The number of viable leads agents get (not how many leads close, that’s not Trulia’s job)
- Agent traffic vs. consumer traffic (although this is difficult to quantify)
- Survey data that drills down beyond that “86% of buyers begin their search online” and names Trulia as one of the top go-to sites for buyers/sellers
Then I’d check it out.
According to the chart, while traffic is impressive, they do trail Realtor.com. **note: data from Compete.com can be questionable – but it’s a benchmark.
Why choose just one?
At the end of the day, you need to spend your ad dollars and get return. Ideally you use a combination of mediums – online and offline – whatever you know works. (Read: KNOW – test, measure, refine and re-launch.)
Sometimes – albeit not all the time – but sometimes the most expensive player is priced according to the value they bring.
Net net: Your best choice may or may not be the cheapest place. Instead it should be the pond with the greatest number of, and most relevant, fish. You don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
**p.s. I’m not taking aim at Trulia. I like Trulia. I think they offer a fresh way for agents to post listings, get leads and communicate with buyers while providing important demographic and other information.