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What happens when your media changes?

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mediachanges

Communication is changing. As a species we’re very focused on increasing the speed and breadth of our communications.

Pony express, telegraph, snail mail, email, smart phones, blogs, social sites…

As media changes one often replaces or re-prioritizes another. Social media has even impacted the way we watch (and now interact) with the evening news. People want to communicate and interact with Realtors differently today, too.

I’m feeling contemplative today so…

How do you shift your business when media changes? How can you foresee the changes?

What does an industry do when radical change is upon them?

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Matthew Rathbun

    May 4, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Mark,

    I guess I don’t see radical change in the industry, perhaps just how communication has changed. People typically remain the same, with the same basic needs. We don’t wish to be a number, we aren’t interested in words, as much as we are in deeds and we like to know that we can trust those who say they will help us.

    I may be naive in this regard. I think this industry will continue to evolve in the tools we use to communicate; but no the fundamentals of human interaction.

    Maybe I misunderstood your question?

  2. Mark Eckenrode

    May 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    @matt: absolutely correct in that the fundamentals of human interaction are pretty much constant. the radical change lies in how we’re choosing to apply those fundamentals.

    perhaps the better question is “how do you shift your business when your consumers leave behind old media and choose to interact through new media?” (and by “new media” i don’t necessarily mean social media)

    individuals can shift with the market far more quickly, they’re a smaller and faster ship. an industry on the other hand is pretty much at the tail end.

    there’s no right answer here… like i said, i’m just pondering out loud and looking at how in tune an agent may or may not be with consumer interests.

    i started thinking about this because of the “Oprah’s here. And that’s the end of Twitter.” style comments that have popped up in social media. that gripe may not be relevant to agents (it’s actually a good thing, IMO). but, considering the loss of so many newspapers and print media (which were a real estate advertising staple for ages) it’s important to keep an eye on how media changes the way we choose to communicate … and the importance of being there.

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    May 4, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Ok, I’m right there with you.

    Swanepoel’s report in 2008 said that the majority of brokers were concerned about serving consumers that were more educated.

    Agents needs to get out of the mindset of being the gateway to MLS and lockboxes and beef up on relevant and current knowledge. It is challenging… It means that agents have to adapt to making order of chaos with a world of information overload.

    My concern is that with all the emphasis on social media, that we are going to not necessarily see the “next big thing” in the early stages.

    There is some point in most agents careers when they stop pursuing new information… I just hope that I don’t fall into that trap.

  4. Lani Rosales

    May 4, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    The question applies to all industries- how do you prepare, how do you cope when what you knew worked well no longer holds true. I think there’s value in being an early adopter, but the learning curve and risk is much higher- the safe ground is not being on the cutting edge but to teeter just behind while the cutters expend capital and energy on what works.

    That’s the SAFE way. We all know I am personally more of a risk taker, but that’s my personality; I think most businesses should avoid the cutting edge and stand in line just behind the cutters.

    But when radical change comes to fruition, companies first and foremost must be observant of the changes- the biggest trap is to ignore change. It’s hard, most companies don’t like change but it’s real and executives must be aware of the changes to best choose what direction to steer the ship.

  5. Mark Eckenrode

    May 4, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    @matt: i think you’re solid and won’t have any problem staying away from that trap.

    @lani: gosh, you sound, like, smart and all 😉 and yeah, cutting edge isn’t where companies should be. in fact, it’s a dangerous place for them. it is important that the cutting edge be monitored because the other danger companies fall into is resting change. let’s face it, companies basically exist to maintain their status quo – change threatens that. but by resisting change, they run the risk of becoming irrelevant.

  6. Thomas Johnson

    May 4, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    If you are Advertising Age watching your relevance go down the tubes, you blame the Pope.

  7. Jim Rake

    May 5, 2009 at 7:06 am

    “What does an industry do when radical change is upon them?”

    Ideally, we’ll heed Kipling’s words:

    “If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs, and blaming you. . . . The world will be yours and everything in it…”

    Good points made. Hopefully, we can use the rarest of tools, “good judgement”. Finding what’s useful & valuable vs. what’s “noise”.

    What makes me more effective, and makes it easier to achieve my objective (revenue?, relationships?, transparency?).

    Yes, how flexible & adaptive are you?

    In another discussion Eric, Blackwell, SEO guru extraordinaire, commented on his Broker/Owner’s willingness to put the mission ahead of profit, and in doing so, taking risks that leverage 2.0 capabilities, that is leading his company to greater success and mission effectiveness. Taking smart risks, and the adaptive behavior that accompanies it, takes leadership, plain and simple.

  8. Louise Scoggins

    May 7, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Mark, It’s important to change your way of thinking along with the consumer, but it’s also important to do what works for YOU. Evaluate your business model and see what area brings in the most leads. If most of your business comes from a strong referral basis from your family and friends, then that’s what you should focus on, not necessarily all of the new SM outlets that everyone is jumping on board with. If your business model supports mostly internet leads, then ramping up your internet presence (with the help of SM) then that’s what you need to focus on. It’s all relevant based on each agent’s individual business models.

    Consecutively, once you have that client in hand (regardless of where they came from) how you communicate with them is also going to vary from client to client. I have clients who prefer text messages or Facebook posts, and some who don’t even own a computer. Don’t be afraid to ask your client what their preferred method of communication is. You may be surprised.

    Remember, it’s all about customer satisfaction, so adjust as needed along the way at each’s client’s discretion.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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nostalgia

Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

Here’s how one employer was able beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make perssonel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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