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Who moved my cheese?

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I am sure that as Genius Buddies, you have been asked to talk about blogging at local offices. Only 4% of real estate agents are blogging!! I find that absolutely bizarre and at the same time awesome…..more for us.Trick Question

Now, without sounding conceited or cocky (there is not a single ounce of that in my body…..although I have absolutely no lack of self-esteem), we have something here that a lot of others don’t. Some of us have not been blogging long but are taking full advantage of it for as long as it lasts and as my fellow genius Teresa Boardman said “There are marketing techniques that were never even dreamt of in the 80’s and I do my best to exploit them.”

So what am I getting at here? We use blogging to show what value we bring to the table, by blogging and sharing with each other we have become blogging experts. Our industry is looking to us to help them out and teach them to blog. Here’s the kicker…….if most agents are not even taking the time to read blogs, why would they even start blogging?

When I was asked 6 months ago to give a blogging class in the same market area I was honored but at the same time thought “what’s in it for me?”. Just last week I was asked by another broker to give a blogging class in my direct competing market.

……I’ll repeat that sentence to make a point…….

I was asked by another broker to give a blogging class in my direct competing market.

So I was supposed to jump for joy and share all my blood and tears with those same agents that stab me in the back share my farm area (not all are bad by the way…..just a couple). I politely declined.

Then I had a conversation with dear blogging friends and we discussed how we now have an added value to our services. This added value is that we blog, we are doing it and successfully. We COULD give it away (heck we do it at AG all day long), or we can actually get paid for it. Hmmmmm…..now that’s a concept.

So the purpose of this drawn out post was to make you think. Next time your local board, or another broker asks you to share your thoughts on blogging……will you say No, yes or how much?

***BONUS – whoever counts the correct number of times the word “blog, blogging or blogger” was written in the above post will get that delicious piece of Swiss Cheese***

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Ricardo Bueno

    November 27, 2007 at 4:13 am

    Ines,

    I’d count the words to win the bonus but I’m afraid that by the time you mail the cheese it will have spoiled 🙁

    Speaking of blogging, Kathy McGraw and I held a class in Banning, CA. I suppose it was easier for me to host it given that I’m a Lender and not a Realtor so I wasn’t amongst competition. However, other Brokers in the local area were upset that we were giving away the “trade secrets.”

    In any case, to those that ARE blogging…blog on! Relationships are all about conversations. And a blog is after all just that, a conversation. One that we can use 24/7 to manage and generate new relationships!

    Great to see you here Ines.

  2. Jim Duncan

    November 27, 2007 at 8:42 am

    I actually do these infrequently in my market, but don’t look at it necessarily as competition.

    Eventually, they’re going to do it anyway, and I’d rather they do it right (or more right) from the start.

    Helping others set the bar higher from the start benefits us all – bloggers and Realtors. And hopefully, I’ll be able to dissuade some from even starting (it’s a lot of work!)

  3. ines

    November 27, 2007 at 8:47 am

    Ricardo – glad to see YOU here as well. I think for the lending industry is a bit different because you are not only targeting the consumer but other real estate agents as well. Look at what Brian Brady is doing….he’s all over the place and we love him for it.

    Jim – I wrote this post to spark conversation because I agree with you. I don’t mind sharing at all and I constantly give it away and go out of my way to teach.
    My question though, since we have been doing it longer and have learned a great deal along the way, is whether our “blogging knowledge” is worth something, monetarily speaking.

  4. ines

    November 27, 2007 at 8:47 am

    Ricardo – it’s virtual cheese….never goes bad! : )

  5. Jonathan Dalton

    November 27, 2007 at 9:25 am

    The same thought’s been on my mind for a bit … I have a title company who’d like me to teach a short version. I’m debating putting together a credit-hour version of a blogging class.

    But for that, CTC will be in play.

  6. Ines

    November 27, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Jonathan – a credit-hour version sounds like a great idea without a doubt. What’s CTC?

  7. Benn Rosales

    November 27, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    agentgenius lends to your cred. which is why you’re here- you’re in the top tier. I’m so glad to read that you’re getting it.

  8. Ines

    November 27, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Benn – I appreciate that – I think more of us are getting it every day.

  9. Jay Thompson

    November 27, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    One of the sadder facts of life is you can stand in front of 100 agents, GIVING AWAY the “secrets” and you’ll be lucky if 3 of them do anything with it.

  10. Lani Anglin

    November 27, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    15 references to the word blog, 18 if you count the bonus instructions, now where’s my chiiz? 🙂

  11. Ines

    November 27, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    [SIGH] @ Jay! you are right…but like I said….more for us!

    Lani – the CHEESE QUEEN!! (I can’t believe you actually counted them)

  12. mariana

    November 27, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    Ugh. I go back and forth with this.
    First and foremost I agree w/ Jay. I train for our local offices and it is a rare time that I teach something and anything I say goes past, “Wow. Great idea.” which leads me to believe that I could pull money out of my armpit with the word “BLOG” all over it and I would not have anymore competition than I do now.

  13. Ines

    November 27, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    Mariana – then why waste your time teaching?
    I think we wear our hearts on our sleeves when we blog and anyone interested needs to at least start reading.

  14. Benn Rosales

    November 27, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    … and commenting.

  15. Mariana

    November 28, 2007 at 9:43 am

    I *heart* teaching. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy – even if no one listens (or almost no one). I feel like at least I have made an attempt to educate the agents of today … but I have yet to discuss blogging at any length. …still on teh fence…

  16. Ines

    November 28, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    didn’t mean to ignore you Mariana – as long as you are teaching for you own reasons……although you SHOULD be getting paid IMHO.

  17. Mariana

    November 28, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    I DO get paid, so it is all good!

  18. Ines

    November 28, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    AHA!! So you make my point! It’s ALL Good!

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.

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Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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