Connect with us

Business Marketing

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?”

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.

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.

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.  

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. 

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?

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.

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.


“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

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.

Continue Reading


  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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.



Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.



Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.



jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!