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What a Cute Shirt! Will it Be a Collector’s Item?

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As I was breaking my two-week-old rule of not working past 9 p.m. (something I can’t even blame on daylight savings time, since the clocks in Arizona don’t move) I ran across a post from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on start-ups.

Here’s item number 10 from his list of rules for a start-up:

10. NEVER EVER EVER buy swag. A sure sign of failure for a startup is when someone sends me logo polo shirts. If your people are at shows and in public, its ok to buy for your own folks, but if you really think someone is going to wear your Yobaby.com polo you sent them in public, you are mistaken and have no idea how to spend your money

When I switched from Century 21 to RE/MAX at the beginning of January, I was following in the footsteps of a co-worker who had moved the week prior. I’d give the full litany of Century 21 logo merchandise he owned but I’m not sure I saw it all. Here’s a partial:

  • Phone number on back window of car
  • License plate rim
  • Jacket with both Century 21 logo and his website on the sleeve
  • Multiple polo shirts
  • Business cards
  • Magnet calendars
  • An actual Gold Jacket

His first several days were spent re-ordering everything he’d had before, this time with the RE/MAX balloon in place of the Century 21 logo.

Not so with me. I spent about two hours changing logos on all my websites and adjusting as many of the web profiles as I could remember. I ordered new business cards. I decided not to order my own for sale signs, at least for now, and stick with the name riders I already had with Tobey and my picture and the website. I did not buy any open house signs.

TANGENT: Speaking of which we’d like to congratulate this weekend’s big winner, Sarah Cooper, for writing an actual offer for actual buyers at an actual open house in Hurricane, West Virginia. (Sounds like the announcement of who won Powerball, don’t it? Especially the part about it being someone in West Virginia? Lottery odds are better. Please sit open houses responsibly. Thank you, thank you. Try the veal.)

FOOTNOTE TO TANGENT: Universal reaction from agents on Twitter after Sarah had announced what she did … WHAT?!?!?

Where the hell was I …  oh yeah. Swag.

Some folks I know went into this business and started spending cash left and right with no discernible return. Fortunately, I’ve never had this luxury. So I’ve been judicious in what I have spent, preferring to focus my dollars on marketing my sellers’ homes.

I realize I’m losing possible business by not wearing a name tag (or even owning one with a balloon on it, for that matter.) I realize I’m not going to receive calls from people driving down the road who get the urge to sell, who aren’t pissed that I just cut them off and who don’t call one of the other eight agents on the same road.

It’s a risk I’m willing to take, at least until I’m convinced the ROI justifies the change.

Mark Cuban agrees with me. So I’ve got that going for me.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Benjamin Bach

    March 10, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Repeat after me… it’s the Realtor, not the Brokerage that people do business with. Every single time. (unless its a silly relo thing)

    Add me to the list (with Mark Cuban) of people agreeing with you. Brand Dalton. Or Tobey. Or DaltonsAZHomes. But not remax (or c21, or Keller Williams or ERA).

    Unless your firm wants to pay your marketing budget, dont put their logo on more things than you have to

    BenjaminBach.com

  2. Rob Aubrey

    March 10, 2008 at 6:38 am

    I do not brand the company I brand myself. When I switched brokers over 4 years agao, the material switch was fairly easy. My business cards look the same, my branding and the compay along the bottom in text. Unless the company is paying, their logo doesn’t appear.

    “Real Estate is a local business run by local agents and their centers of influence”
    Gary Keller

  3. Jim

    March 10, 2008 at 7:53 am

    I brand my company only as much as the law requires. I’m running my own business independent of the brokerage.

  4. Jim

    March 10, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Oh, and I do offer my own swag.. 🙂

  5. Toby & Saide

    March 10, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Jim – I just ordered one of everything.

    Here is the issue, at least in Ohio, the real estate laws are written to protect who? The consumer? A little. The agent? Right, we aren’t even considered worthy of handling a contract. The broker? Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner!

    So what does that mean? While I may want to market Toby as the agent of choice, every piece of marketing must also contain what? My brokerage – in the same size font as my name. So I do “car placards” and if I were to change, that has to be changed.

    I agree 100 percent with Benjamin. People are buying and selling real estate from me not Disbennett Real Estate or whatever other company is holding my license and taking their cut of my cash. But to protect the public it is very hard to not at least do a little bit of cross-branding with your company.

  6. Jonathan Dalton

    March 10, 2008 at 9:37 am

    One of the interesting things I discovered when I made the switch is the number of people who didn’t notice for a couple of weeks. They just looked at the site one day and realized there was a different logo there all of a sudden.

  7. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra

    March 10, 2008 at 10:04 am

    I don’t do name tags. Personally, I think of them like cattle-brands.

    When we worked for a brokerage, we hated every minute of having to advertise the brokerage brand. Now that we have our own brokerage, the individual brands and the brokerage brand are one and the same. That is one of the benefits to working the way we do.

    I do have to disagree with Mark just a little bit. His assessment is only accurate given the nature of the particular start-up, the people to whom the swag is sent, and the reason for sending it. Me sending a t-shirt to Mark Cuban might not make a whole lot of sense. Me sending t-shirts to past clients after a successful transaction, on the other hand. . .

  8. Benn Rosales

    March 10, 2008 at 10:34 am

    A Vote for Jonathan is like voting for terrorists. They’ll be dancing in the streets if J wins.

  9. Jonathan Dalton

    March 10, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Rooting for Agent Genius is like rooting for the New York Yankees. Corporate, monolithic, arrogant …

  10. Jim

    March 10, 2008 at 10:39 am

    But voting for Jim Duncan/RealCentralVA.com is like spreading sunshine, flowers and bundles of money to all your friends. Trust me. Vote for me and see. 🙂

  11. Benn Rosales

    March 10, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Voting for Agent Genius is a vote for family values- we won’t be blogging at 3am!

  12. Sarah Cooper

    March 10, 2008 at 11:24 am

    LOL!! Now if only the offer will be accepted!!! :D!

  13. Jonathan Dalton

    March 10, 2008 at 11:32 am

    I really wanted to sell the whole lottery thing with some added quotes … “I was heading home and I don’t normally do an open house but I decided what the heck …”

  14. Jonathan Dalton

    March 10, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Vote for Dalton’s Arizona Homes – I’m asleep at 3 a.m. as any well-respected person should be!

  15. Jay Thompson

    March 10, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    What really matters in this whole Blog Brawl is voting for the proper entity in “Zone 2”.

    That would be Phoenix Real Estate Guy. Who has ever heard of my competitor, some blog called “Rain City Guide”??

  16. Jonathan Dalton

    March 10, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Another elitist collection of talent! Fight the Man! Vote for Jay and me!

  17. Mariana

    March 10, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    I am offering free coffee if I win.

  18. Kelley Koehler

    March 10, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Hold on a second there Jay – proper zone 2 voting includes MyTucsonBlog.com as well. /eyeballs phoenixreguy…

  19. Linda Davis

    March 10, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Jonathan – As your press agent I almost agree with you gut go for the name badge – I really do get business from it. Ok, it’s a sentimental thing with me – I got my very very first listing in 1977 because of wearing my name badge in a toy store on the Submarine Base in Groton CT. OH WAIT – silly me. How archaic!!! Buyers and sellers don’t look at name badges anymore because they are looking at their IPhones instead. Crap, I’m old.

  20. Jay Thompson

    March 10, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I got out of a traffic ticket once thanks to sign magnets on my car. That’s a pretty good ROI….

    Just a week or so ago I got into a conversation with a guy at a gas station because of the URL on my tire cover. He’s now got a business card and is on auto-listings.

    And I’ve finally found something not on eBay — a C21 Gold Jacket….

    @Kelley – how crass of me not to mention MTB in Zone 2!

  21. Ines

    March 10, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    I just came to say that I thought I had it bad going against The “T” herself at the brawl – then I saw Mariana against The Zebra but when I saw you against Agent Genius…..we……I spit my coffee and ruined a perfectly good page of my calendar.

  22. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    March 10, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    @Ines uhhh, it sounds like AG contributors kind of have the Brawl on lock…. i’m just sayin’….

  23. Ines

    March 11, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Lani – I think you got that one right!

  24. Garden Gates

    June 7, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Ines – Yeah! Lani pretty much hit the nail on the head.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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