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Business Marketing

Numbers DO Lie!



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 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  **note: data from 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. 


photo credit


Brandie is an unapologetically candid marketing professional who was recently mentioned on BusinessWeek as a Top Young Female Entrepreneur. She recently co-founded consulting firm MarketingTBD. She's held senior level positions with GE and Fidelity, as well as with entrepreneurial start-ups. Raised by a real estate Broker, Brandie is passionate about real estate and is an avid investor. Follow her on Twitter.

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  1. Trace

    February 5, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I will see your assertion and raise you one data source. 🙂

  2. sheilabragg

    February 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Numbers DO Lie!: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PROMISE that the ShamWow guy won\’t po..

  3. Mark Eibner

    February 5, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    we’re at it again Numbers DO Lie!: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PRO..

  4. Elaine Reese

    February 5, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Good assessment and I appreciate the challenge questioning. So often I read about people talking about traffic, traffic, traffic … especially for blogging. Yet, when I check those same blogs for any sign that they have any business, there is a big void. While it may be nice to have agents visit, consumers/clients are the only real visitor that matters.

  5. Rob Hahn

    February 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    I just love how you rock the boulevard, treat it like a seminar. 🙂

    For what it’s worth, I like the list of questions/data points you’d want from anyone who wants your ad dollars.

    Two additional things I’d be curious about if I were in the realtor marketing biz:

    * # of searches –> traffic != listing searches. Correlate that to listing views and you might get an idea of how easy/difficult it is for customers to actually FIND whatever it is that they’re searching for.

    * Lead conversion rate

    While you’re right that how many leads actually close is not Trulia’s (or anyone’s) job, it is their job to send along actionable leads. So whether it’s through a survey or some other means, I’d like to know out of 100 Trulia leads sent, how many led to revenues.

    At a minimum, that would help me set expectations as to how high to prioritize a Trulia (or anyone) lead.


  6. Brandie Young

    February 6, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Elaine – Good to hear from you. Yes, as whole, traffic doesn’t tell the entire story. I would only disagree with “consumers/clients are the only real visitor that matters”. There is some value in peers viewing content from a recognition standpoint.

    Robert – it’s always such an honor to hear from you … I’m such a R.O.B. fan.

    Good catch: # of relevant searches is indeed valuable info. Regarding conversion – would love to hear your thoughts on lead scoring, or other process to identify the common criteria that leads to a more qualified lead and close.

  7. Bob

    February 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Anything Trulia posts about traffic, particularly if you want to talk about relevant searches, is worthless. Their numbers are beyond skewed.

  8. Brandie Young

    February 8, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Bob – Ouch. Sounds like you have a history there, with a less than happy ending. Thanks for sharing. And, if you have any good experiences would love to hear those as well. Cheers. p.s. I San Diego and lived there for several years.

  9. Rudy

    February 9, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Brandie!

    Quality traffic is important. What’s really exciting is hearing the success our partners have with Trulia. In an independent study by Threewide’s Listhub, Trulia was named the top generator of leads.

    See here for the details:

    Just to showcase some success stories from those using Trulia, here’s a link to our testimonials page on Trulia Blog:

    Sorry for the multiple links Benn and Lani…

    Social Media Guru at Trulia

  10. Mark Eckenrode

    February 10, 2009 at 10:40 am

    “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.)”

    lovin’ it.

  11. Brandie Young

    February 11, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Hi Rudy – The Threewide Listhub study is great news – and something potential clients would love to see. Congrats!

    Mark – (smile)

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Business Marketing

Gloves that translate sign language in real time

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.



Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.

This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.

This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.

The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.

The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.

According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.

“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”

What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!

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Business Marketing

Stand out with video as part of your resume (but be careful)

(MARKETING) This new tool helps you stand out in the job market, as video now dominates – so it’s possible to use this to your advantage (with caution).



job market video

In the midst of a pandemic, people are finding themselves thrust back into the job market sooner than expected due to mass company layoffs or underemployment as a freelancer. Fields are oversaturated and jobs are sparse so it can be hard to stand out in today’s job market.

Although standing out in the job market is hardly a new problem, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some new and creative solutions. One company, VCV.ME has designed a tool to help you get creative and stand out from your competition.

VCV.ME turns your traditional resume into a video à la Instagram stories.

The process is simple. You answer a few questions and upload a video of yourself then the tool will provide you with a sharable link.

VCV Founder and CEO, Arik Akverdian, believes that video is the future saying, “Video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021 according to Cisco, and according to eMarketer 94.1% of millennial internet users were streaming digital video in 2019. With growing demand for video social media such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram stories, and others, we’re bringing the short video format to the job market.”

There are some obvious limitations to using this tool in your job hunt.

First, not all employers will take videos as part of an application both for technical and legal reasons.

On the technical side, many automated tracking systems are not designed to filter that kind of file, so there may not even be an opportunity to showcase it. That’s not to say there aren’t some work-arounds. Many job applications will have a place for applicants to link to their portfolio or websites. An alternate option for this tool could be to place the video introduction on your website.

Another problem with the tool is how it exposes candidates and hiring managers to bias.

As more companies work to remove bias from their hiring practices and hire more diverse candidates, a video intro just won’t fly. Some companies have removed names and even alma maters from their applicants in order to make more unbiased hiring decisions. A video introduction would expose many characteristics that people have conscious and subconscious biases towards such as race, gender, age, and ethnicity.

Although VCV.ME’s intentions are to help candidates stand out in the job market, it’s worth questioning whether they would be standing out for the right reasons, so tread carefully.

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Business Marketing

Why should you take Facebook’s ‘Summer of Support’ courses

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Every company can use a little marketing advice, well Facebook has partnered with big companies to give you some free digital marketing courses.



marketing courses

Our world has turned into a place of upheaval and unrest and we are continuously surrounded by more and more evidence of it. One thing that the majority of us are constantly seeing is announcements from companies. Some of those are about closing hours, but others are more helpful. As they all attempt to get used to this new world that COVID-19 has created we begin to see some different tactics. Some are only politically motivated, but others are more focused on helping out their communities.

Earlier this week Facebook announced that they will be putting on a six-week digital marketing education series. This series will be an extensive collection of videos with a full in depth set of courses that will cover a large amount of topics. The company has put together a cast of renowned entrepreneurs for the presenters as well.

The topics will be done in themed weeks starting on June 24th, and running through the month of July. They include categories such “The Changing World” & “Resilience”. Focusing primarily on the world that is here and now, with recommendations on how to adapt to it. With this world in a constant state of flux the push for adapting to change and staying in front of the tide is crucial for a small business.

The next two courses will be going forward with discussing “Reinvention” & “Re-Emergence”. Encouraging struggling companies to take a serious look at their potential for moving forward, or changing the things that they can to stay more on top of their client base. They also plan on attacking the confusing world that we will have when things get closer to normal.

The last two weeks are focused on community and customer care, which is actually their names as well: “Customers & Commerce” & “Community”. These will help develop a sense of how your business affects your community and the impact you have on it. Keeping that in mind you can then develop a plan for how you want your community to see you and shape things within it.

These courses are all set up for free and open to anyone. With a completely online set up with their new “Summer of Support” mini-site they are prepped to reach millions of people. They’ve organized this with a range of partners as well: Dell, PayPal, American Express, & Small Business Roundtable. A helping hand for people who wouldn’t currently be able to source things like this.

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