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What skills will help real estate marketers survive the AI takeover?

(MARKETING) Quality marketers are constantly evolving, but getting your head around artificial intelligence can be a challenge – let’s boil it down to the most relevant skills you’ll need.

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AI and marketing

When Facebook and Twitter were born, a new era of social media was ushered in, opening the gates for new areas of expertise that hadn’t existed before. At first, we all grappled to establish the culture together, but fast forward a decade and it is literally a science with thousands of supporting technology companies.

So as Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes over marketing, doesn’t that mean it will replace marketers? If you can ask your smart speaker in your office what your engagement growth increase was for your Facebook Page, and ask for recommendations of growth, how do marketing professionals survive?

Marketers will survive the same way they did as social media was introduced – the practice will evolve and new niches will be born.

There are 7 skills marketers will need to adapt in order to evolve. None of these are done overnight, but quality professionals are constantly grooming their skills, so this won’t be stressful to the successful among us. And the truth is that it won’t be in our lifetime that AI can quite process the exact same way a human brain does, even with the advent of quantum computing, so let’s focus on AI’s weaknesses and where marketers can perform where artificial intelligence cannot.

1. Use the data your new AI buddies generate.

In the 70s, the infamous Ted Bundy murders yielded the first case that utilized computing. The lead investigator had heard about computers and asked a specialist to dig through all of their data points to find similarities – a task that was taking months for the investigative team. After inputting the data, within minutes, they had narrowed their list of suspects from several hundred to only 10.

We’re not dealing with murderers here in the marketing world (…right, guys?), but the theory that algorithms can speed up our existing jobs is a golden lesson. As more AI tools are added to the marketplace to enhance your job, experiment with them! Get to know them! And continue to seek them out to empower you.

Atomic Reach studies your content and finds ways to enhance what you’re delivering. CaliberMind augments B2B sales, Stackla hunts down user-generated content that matches your brand efforts, Nudge analyzes deal risk and measures user account health, and Market Brew digs up tons of data for your SEO strategy.

See? Independently, these all sound like amazing tools, but call them “AI tools” and people lose their minds. Please.

Your job as a marketer is to do what AI cannot. Together, you can automate, do segmentation and automation, beef up your analytics, but no machine can replicate your innate interest in your customers, your compassion, and your ability to understand human emotions and predict outcomes effectively (because you have a lot more practice at being a human than the lil’ robots do).

2. Take advantage of AI’s primary weakness.

As noted, you have emotions and processes that are extremely complex and cannot be understood by artificial intelligence yet. Use those.

How? Compile all of the data that AI offers and then strategize. Duh. AI can offer recommendations, but it cannot (yet) suggest an entire brand strategy. That’s where you come in.

And more importantly, it cannot explain or defend any such strategy. One of the core problems with AI is that if you ask Alexa a question, you cannot ask how it came up with that information or why. This trust problem is the primary reason marketers are in no danger of being replaced by technology.

3. Obsess over data.

AI tools are young and evolving, so right now is the time to start obsessing over data. What I mean by that is not to use every single AI tool to compile mountains of useless data, but to start studying the data you already have.

The problem with new tools is that marketers are naturally inquisitive, so we try them out and then forget they exist if they didn’t immediately prove to be a golden egg.

Knowing your current marketing data inside and out will help you to learn alongside AI. If you aren’t intimately familiar, you won’t know if the recommendations made through AI are useful, and you could end up going down the wrong path because something shiny told you to.

Obsess over data not by knowing every single customers’ names, but be ready to identify which data sets are relevant for the results you’re seeking. A data scientist friend of mine recently pointed out that if you flip a coin five times and it happens to land on tails every time, AI would analyze that data and predict with 100% certainty that the sixth flip will be tails, but you and I have life experience and know better.

Staying on top of your data, even when you’re utilizing artificial intelligence tools will keep you the most valuable asset, not the robots. #winning

4. Don’t run away from math (no wait, come back!)

One of the appeals of marketing is that math is hard and you don’t need it in a creative field. But if you want to stay ahead of the robots, you’ll have to focus on your math skills.

You don’t have to go back to school for data science, but if you can’t read the basic reports that these endless AI tools can create, you’re already behind. At least spend a few hours this month on some “Intro to Data Science” courses on Udemy or Coursera.

5. Content is God.

We’ve all said for years that content is king and that feeding the search engines was a top way to reach consumers. You’ve already refined your skills in creating appealing content, and you already know that it costs less than many traditional lead generating efforts and spending on content is way up.

Content can be blogging, video, audio, or social media posts. Artificial intelligence will step in to skyrocket those efforts, if only you accept that content was once king, but is now God. What is changing is how customized content can be. For example, some companies are using AI tools to create dozens of different Facebook ads for different demographics, which would have taken weeks of human effort to do in the past.

Because content is what feeds all of these new smart devices, feeding your brand content effectively and utilizing AI tools to augment your efforts will keep you more relevant than ever.

6. Get ahead of privacy problems

Consumers now understand what website cookies are, and know when they’ve opted in (or opted out) of an email newsletter, but to this point, humans have made the decisions of how these data choices are made. Our teams have continually edited Terms of Service (ToS), all done not just with liability in mind, but to offer consumers the protections that they want and have come to expect.

But AI today doesn’t have morals, and consumer comfort is not a factor unless humans program that into said AI devices. But it still isn’t a creature of ethics like humans are. Ethical challenges going forward will be something to stay ahead of as you tap into the AI world. Making sure that you know the ToS of any tool you’re using to mine data is critical so that you don’t put the company in a bad position by violating basic human trust.

The takeaway

You’re smart, so you already knew that the robots aren’t taking your job, rather augmenting it, but adding AI into your marketing mix to stay ahead comes with risk and a learning curve. But seeing artificial intelligence for what it really is – a tool – will keep your focus on the big picture and save your job.

Real Estate Marketing

2020: Housing costs will rise, despite stellar employment and interest rates

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING)The housing market is always shifting, economists are optomistic about 2020 regardless of high housing costs because unemplyment and interest rates are low

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Housing hands

As unemployment and interest rates continue to drop, the cost of homes is on the rise! From increased prices to a growing interest in dog parks, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has offered a few projected trends for the 2020 housing market:

1. Low interest rates

Fun fact: according to Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the NAR, mortgage rates have been decreasing thanks to considerations made by the Federal Reserve. That’s right, the Federal Reserve is helping make change simply by talking about policy! The result has been historically low interest rates for mortgages.

While these will continue to stay low for the time being, Yun does predict that mortgage rates will start to rise as inflation picks up.

2. Higher housing prices

When it comes to housing prices, we don’t have to look much further than the basics of supply and demand. Over the last several years, building has slowed and housing tenure (how long an individual remains in a specific house) has increased. The lower supply of houses increases the demand for each individual home.

Between the increasingly competitive market and the growing accessibility of mortgages, Yun projects a “baseline growth rate of 1.5% for 2020.”

3. Foreign buyers

Although there has been growth in the United States economy when it comes to employment, that isn’t the case everywhere. In fact, according to Gay Cororaton, director of housing and commercial research at NAR, “Foreign buyer purchases have declined sharply since 2017.”

While some of this decrease comes from financial pressure – the Chinese yuan, for example, has been losing value – some of the loss of foreign buyers comes from strained international relations between the U.S. and other countries. There might be growth in the housing market, but it isn’t coming from foreign buyers anymore.

4. Dog parks

Okay, so what’s the deal with dog parks? Well, it has to do with birth rates. According to Dr. Jessica Lautz, VP of demographics and behavioral insights at NAR, as the birth rates have dropped, it’s lead to a decrease in households with children.

In the past, a neighborhood near a good school might have been key for a young family, but that’s no longer a selling point for childless couples. That doesn’t mean people don’t want the best for their family, it just means instead of a child, there might be a dog instead. As such, there’s an increase in demand for housing areas close to dog parks and similar outdoor spaces.

The housing market might be shifting in 2020, but experts are optimistic about the prospects.

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Real Estate Marketing

Turning real estate disruption into opportunities for Realtors

(MARKETING) VR and AR are usually thought of as gaming avenues and not worth the money, but they are becoming cheaper more useful in the housing market. Watch as threats become gold mines.

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VR housing

Ever walked into a home and wondered what it would look like with some remodels? With growing technological trends, you might not have to rely on your imagination anymore! Technology like augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR, respectively) are bringing these sorts of visualizations to screen.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg with technological trends in real estate. During the 2019 Realtor® Conference & Expo, Realtors® from across the nation met to discuss the future of real estate and top trends. The verdict? Real estate is heading into 2020 in style, with blockchain, AR and VR growing in popularity.

Blockchain

Blockchain isn’t just for your tech friends anymore – as it grows in popularity, it’s actually become a great tool for real estate. Notably, blockchain has become a useful way to keep transactions private, which is especially valuable when the transaction in question is no small purchase. Blockchain will offer clients increased security and is only projected to become more prevalent in 2020.

Augmented Reality

Probably one of the most well known examples of AR is Pokémon Go, which overlays images of fictional creatures over actual camera views in real time. Sure, hunting for little monsters in potential homes is one way to pass the time, but the Directors of Emerging Technology for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) – Dan Weisman and David Conroy – have other ideas.

For instance, Weisman and Conroy argue that potential buyers could use AR to scope out how a home might look with renovations, furniture configurations and/or decorations. Agents who understand how to harness AR might have a better shot at enticing buyers, especially from younger demographics.

Virtual Reality

Can’t visit a house in person? No problem. As VR grows in scope, more buyers are able to immerse themselves in digital walkthroughs of homes. This is already supported by platforms like Matterport and Immoviewer and is only projected to grow in popularity and accessibility.

Mixed reality, which combines features from AR and VR, is also becoming more and more common in the real estate industry. Along with the power of artificial intelligence (AI), Realtors® have a growing digital toolbox at their disposal.

When it comes to adapting to new trends, Bob Goldberg, CEO of the National Association of Realtors® is optimistic about the prospects: “About 25 years ago, the real estate industry was at a crossroads, and we as an industry had to decide if we were going to adopt these new technologies for ourselves or fight to maintain the status quo, but we took that potential disruption and turned it into an opportunity.”

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Real Estate Marketing

Off-market properties crack down by NAR

(MARKETING) Off-market properties have benefitted some, but not the people who need help so NAR takes steps to insure everyone has the same information.

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off-market properties

Off-market properties are (usually) investment properties that don’t get advertised or listed in the real estate market. In some ways, it’s a strategy that offers some benefits for sellers. For example, the seller wants the transaction to remain private. It also reduces the “days on market,” which can put off other investors when a property is listed too long on the market.

But, there are also critics of off-market properties. Buyers who don’t have access to off-market properties are disadvantaged. It can really hurt minorities who don’t have the inside track, which in turn affects the housing market. In some areas, real estate is at a premium because there isn’t enough supply to meet demand.

Many buyers don’t have access to all the listings. Now, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is doing something to make sure that buyers have more information.

The NAR’s board of directors (comprised of members) voted to ban “pocket listings,” a form of off-market properties. Properties must now be listed in the MLC within one business day of marketing. Properties can no longer be listed “coming soon” to test the market.

Brokers and Realtors cannot offer exclusive properties that have limited marketing but aren’t on the MLS. It’s hoped that this policy will make more properties available for all consumers.

There is an exception for high-profile sellers, who want to remain private. The sellers must sign a waiver for this exception. Realtors cannot advertise the property through any public medium, including social media, broker websites or signs. The property must be in-house exclusive to receive this exception.

The NAR calls this policy “crucial protection for consumers.”

It passed by a vote of 729-70 at the annual meeting in San Francisco. Although it becomes effective on January 1, 2020, NAR is offering an implementation policy until May 1, 2020 for education and technology changes.

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