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Does It Suck or Shine? A Self Quiz.


It’s been raining gloom and drops of attitude acid for some time.  We can stoop, wait and see if the stimulus sun will begin to burn peep holes through the malaise and hang over haze, or WE can take matters into our own capable hands.

In this post I’m sharing  action ideas.  Embrace these idea embers and burn through your barriers. 

Let’s begin with 3 questions.  

1.  What is “Marketing?”

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2.  Does it Suck or Shine?

3.  What are you going to do about it?

1. What is Marketing?

In the real estate business, everything is a marketing message. Everything we see, hear, feel, touch, sense and smell is marketing.  Our marketing Attracts (Yea!), Repels (Ut-Oh) or Does Nothing (Double Ut-Oh). 

Sadly, I’m going bald.   Some would say I’m already bald.   Choosing to cut my hair short, choosing a comb over or choosing a hair hat, all are marketing messages. Enough said?

If my shoes are un-shined and my heels worn, that’s marketing – the clueless kind.

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The perfume you wear is marketing.  So are your earrings and eyeshadow. Scent and sight are signals.

Responsibly returning calls is marketing.  I care, I’m too important to care or I’m an unreliable dufus.

The words I choose when writing my blog posts is marketing.  Word selection matters.  Seriously, watch this video – The Story Of A Sign.  It’s 5 minutes long and worth every second.  Go ahead, I’ll wait for you.

My bio and picture at the bottom of this page and in all our on-line bio pages is marketing.  

Telling people you’re not very tech savvy, that’s a mental midget marketing message.

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The colors we wear screams, whimpers or whispers a marketing message.  See us, pity us or trust us.

The crew we hang with, that’s marketing too.  Birds of a feather and all…quack, waddle, quack or soaring eagle?

The print quality of our fliers is marketing.  I’m a PRO, I’m an amateur or I’m brain dead.

Showing up on time is marketing.  Showing up late is rude and marketing too.

Egoism, ill temper, impatience, intolerance, small mindedness = Misfit Marketing Message.  

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Our eMail signature is marketing.  Are we including links for Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, Linkedn and our blog?  Why not?  If we do and others don’t, is that good, sad or bad?

When chatting or on appointments, do you interrupt your conversation to take calls?  That’s Marketing Fail 101.

Spitting excuses is marketing.  Nobody I know likes to be spit on.  How about you?

Smiling and encouraging others is positive marketing.  Engaging in destructive gossip is negative marketing.  

A disheveled desk, dress or attitude is dullard marketing. 

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In most markets, sellers and buyers can choose from 100’s of agents, maybe 1,000’s.  People choose to pay handsome fees to attractive people, not attractive as in good looking, attractive as in positive, enthusiastic and savvy.   People they like and people they trust.  Ask yourself, “Self, do my marketing messages SUCK or SHINE?”

Here’s a Q & A  ”Does it Suck or Shine” checklist.

2. Does It Suck or Shine?

Marketing sucks when a business card photo is all glammed up and was taken years ago.  Be real, it’s better.

Marketing sucks if you don’t wear a name badge during working hours.  If you will, it makes you magnetically approachable.  Something unexpectedly fantastic can happen.  If you won’t, it can’t.

Marketing sucks if you’re not on Facebook.  There are 175 million people on facebook.  NAR sez there are around 1.2 million card carrying REALTORS.  What percentage of the 1.2 million is on Facebook?  Let’s be wildly optomistic, let’s say 10%.  That would be 102 thousand REALTORS connecting and networking with 174.88 million civilians.  Run don’t walk.  Let’s be FB friends?  Let’s be Twitter friends?

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Marketing sucks if your MLS pictures don’t sparkle and inspire, as in ” Wow!  I’m going to call the listing agent to get more information.”  Listen, we know more pictures and better pictures attract more views and caffeinate lead generation.  I’d refer you to the statistical studies, but that’s a waste of our time.  It’s common sense.  This is important. Do it right, do it well.  Pay someone if you have too.

Marketing sucks if you don’t send handwritten notes after conversations with friends, past clients, suspects or prospects.  How many hunks of junk mail cram your mail box in a week?  How many lovely handwritten note cards do you receive in a week?  Handwritten notes are remarkable.  ”Remarkable” is the indelible ink that tattoos your Top Of Mind Awareness onto memories.   Your Mom, Tom Peters, Seth Godin, Scott Geinsberg, Brian Buffani and Your Intuition and all recommend this, why don’t we do it?  Let’s get to it!

Marketing sucks if you send direct mail and you don’t follow-up with personal contact.  When’s the last time you gave a stranger $27,000 because they sent you a lame post card?  They don’t and you wouldn’t either.  ”Direct Mail” should be renamed  ”Reason To Call Mail”.  People pay handsome fees to people they know personally, not direct mail strangers. I have three words for you:  Send, Call, See.  Not: Send, hope, pray.

Marketing sucks if your MLS property descriptions, advertising, marketing and promotional copy is tarted up with lame ass ad speak or bloated with cottage-cheese-cliche cellulite. You gotta make “magic” not “monotone”.  Here’s an example of crap copy and great copy.

Marketing sucks if your Voice Mail message drips drone.  Here’s some “Voice Mail Hell” be gone,  How To Vodoo.

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Marketing sucks if you’re burning cash money on marketing and you don’t know what your financial returns are.  Stop, evaluate, reallocate.  Don’t spend more.  Maybe taking a gaggle of friends to a movie would shine more fun, deepen relationships and yippee your referral business. Try it.

What Are We Going To Do About It?

See anything here you can implement post haste?  Again, embracing these ideas is damn near free.   You can stoop, wait and hope for natural sunlight and rescue or you can generate your own brand of blazing Serendipity Sunshine. 

If you have some idea embers you would recommend to others, let’s share them in comments below.  I know we’d all appreciate hearing from you.

Shine on you crazy diamonds.


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“Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.” 
– Tom Robbins

Written By

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.



  1. Christ Borden

    March 6, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Great insight into the power of good and bad marketing. I have spent a lot of money initially in my marketing materials (at a time when most agents are hesitant) but I knew it would pay off and I understand that as the owner of my business, I must invest in that business. This strategy has paid off and I am often amazed at how short-sighted others in our profession are when it comes to investing in their business. Cheap does not cut it with today’s savvy consumer. Thank you again for your missive on marketing.

  2. Matt Thomson

    March 6, 2009 at 9:56 am

    You’re right, that was worth the 5 minutes. Great reminder.

  3. Erion Shehaj

    March 6, 2009 at 11:47 am


    You sound like you’ve been doing this awhile or something 🙂 This is true gold, brother. The only negative is that I’m running out of wall space to hang your posts.

    Keep up your dazzle

  4. Jonathan Phan

    March 6, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Marketing isn’t too bad. haha

  5. Agentjason

    March 6, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Great post and love the cartoon to start off with!

    PS. I’ve only been practicing our craft for 5475 days. 🙁

  6. Ken Brand

    March 6, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Christ – That’s some name you have there:-) I’m with you, people looking for a handout, not willing to invest, makes no sense. The only positive is there is one, they make the achiever look even more magnificent. amen.

    Matt – Thanks – yeah, it’s a powerful video and a great example don’t you think? Of course you do, you said that. Cheers.

    Erion – Thanks, if it goes right, your wall space is gonna look like that dude’s garage in the movie a Beautiful Mind. Ha, ha. Be well.

    Jonathan – Ha, ha indeed….all the way to big bank. Thanks.

    AgentJason – 5K+ is killer. What’s his name, the Outliers guy sez that 10,000 hours make you a master. You’re a freaking Master-Master. Rock on.

  7. Christi Borden

    March 6, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Oops, slip of the fingers. I promise I do not have a god complex. I look forward to seeing you at the PGG Awards Breakfast. Will you be heading to Vegas for the convention? See you soon.

  8. Neil Kearney

    March 6, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Ken, Thanks – Great stuff! You are absolutely right, half way in marketing gets you nowhere. The smart and targeted thrive while the “try this” and then “try another” crowd spins their wheels.

  9. Russell Shaw

    March 6, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Christ, it’s Christi!

    Really nice article, Ken. 🙂

  10. Lisa Sanderson

    March 8, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Ken, I am becoming a huge fan of yours. Love this. Will share!

  11. Barry Wolfert

    March 9, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    This is a great post. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that this market has worn me down. I’m working harder than ever and not making money doing it. The harder it gets, the more resigned I’ve become and that has allowed me to lose my edge.

    You’re absolutely right – everything sends a message and every message is marketing. No one wants to hire someone who is resigned and off their game.

    Your post has re-energized me. I don’t know when this market will turn but I’m not going to be at the end of the line when it does. Starting tomorrow, things get polished, the day starts earlier and I’m going to the front of the line.

    When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Thank you master!

  12. Ken Brand

    March 9, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Christi – Ha, ha….of course. I was thinking that if it really was “Christ”, I’d imagine that many people simply couldn’t say NO. They’d be compelled to say yes. Yep, I’ll be heading to Vegas for the convention. Can’t wait, hope to see you there.

    Neil – Correct sir, gotta burn the boats and build bridges. amen.

    Russell – Thanks. I’m seriously enjoy the electric undercurrent your style pulses with.

    Thanks Lisa, you’re kind and I appreciate your support:-)

    Barry – I feel you brother, at times it’s feels like a forced march on “The Trail of Tears”. I’m glad that you’ve found some inspiration, it helps me to stay on track by writing it. As for student and teacher, I believe we all learn from each other, one day we learn, the next we teach, it’s all about the sharing. You’ve inspired me to share all I can. Thanks.

  13. David Tapper

    March 10, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Good stuff, Ken. A friend just told me about your site.

    My marketing plan is very effective, but I need to throw some stuff out that’s not turning results.

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