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Women earn only a fraction of venture capital…what’s the deal?

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) If you thought gender bias was a thing of the past, you haven’t been looking hard enough. It’s new hiding spot is in venture capital investments.

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woman getting venture capital

A 2018 study shows that only 3% of US venture capital went towards female CEOs. Is the news annoying? Yes. Surprising? Not really.

Chances are you’ve heard the tale of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s blind auditions. Essentially, the story goes that the Boston Symphony Orchestra started to hold blind auditions in an attempt to achieve better gender parity…but the numbers of women in the ranks did not increase much. It wasn’t until they realized that the sound of high heels could be heard that the judges realized there was likely still unintentional bias in their rankings. When carpet was put down to muffle the heels, the number of women performers selected increased.

The gender bias is real. For instance, studies have been done where male and female names are applied to the exact same resume and – you guessed it – the resumes with men’s names are much more likely to be selected for an interview. They’re even offered better pay.

Race is also a factor: women of color were assumed to have less education than men, even with the exact same resume.

So, how is the venture capital scene failing women? Harvard Business Review points to the pitching process.

Part of the problem ties into implicit gender bias. In a 2014 study by the Harvard Kennedy School, researchers found that pitches with the exact same script were better received when presented by a man. In fact, even female investors were more likely to choose the pitch headed up by a man.

If at this point you’re thinking we should try to make a pitch anonymous, that’s a good start…but it might not solve all the problems. Women tend to write different styles of pitches, ones that value quantitative proof of concept, rather than grandiose claims of what the company could become.

Women often have to work harder than men to earn their positions, so it’s not surprising that many feel like they need to spend time in their pitches proving why they should even be in the room. Unfortunately, it shows in their pitches, putting them at a disadvantage in the pitching process.

And these are likely just a few of the reasons why it can be more difficult for women to earn capital for their businesses. We’ve only scratched the surface of what women are capable of accomplishing; we need to do better.

Brittany is a Staff Writer for The American Genius with a Master's in Media Studies under her belt. When she's not writing or analyzing the educational potential of video games, she's probably baking.

Real Estate Marketing

Using the right colors in your marketing can make all the difference

(MARKETING) Simplistic assumptions about colors aren’t necessarily true when it comes to choosing a color for your brand, website, or marketing campaign.

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Woman with colored nails typing representing colors used in marketing.

You may have heard that red is the color of passion, that yellow is a happy color, and that orange makes people hungry. But a detailed analysis of the available research on colors and marketing, compiled by Gregory Ciotti, reveals that these simplistic assumptions about color aren’t necessarily true or useful when it comes to choosing a color for your brand, website, or marketing campaign.

How important is color, anyway?

The way that different people respond to colors can’t be dumbed down to simple associations. Our personal experiences, likes and dislikes, the culture we were raised in, and the context in which we see the colors all influence how we respond. These factors are complicated and ever-shifting, so don’t trust any kitschy infographics that tell you that pink means cute and white means pure. It’s just more complicated than that.

But is there any research to help marketers make smart choices when it comes to color? Of course. Most of the studies show that color makes a big impact when it comes to marketing.

In fact, one study showed that 90% of first impressions of a brand were based on color alone.

Studies have also shown that people respond more strongly to brands whose logos are immediately recognizable, and color plays a big part in that recognition.

It’s more complicated than you think

But it’s not as simple as certain colors evoking certain feelings. It has a lot more to do with whether or not the color seems to “fit” the product. You’ll sell yourself short if you choose a color based on some arbitrary notion that it evokes a certain emotion. Instead, choose a color that reflects your brand’s personality.

Also, be sure to choose a color that differentiates you from other brands. If your color scheme looks too much like your competitor’s, you won’t stand out.

There is some research indicating some gender differentiation when it comes to color preferences – but remember, gender is highly specific to place and culture, so these broad generalizations apply to the Western world, but could change easily over time and may not apply in other countries. However, generally speaking, Western men and women both like blue. While women like purple, men generally don’t. Men are more likely to select products in their favorite colors, while women are more open-minded to a wide range of colors, and to lighter shades of their favorite colors.

Tips you can bank on

For marketing materials and websites, keep in mind that contrast can make a huge difference. One study showed a 21 percent increase in conversions after a website changed the color of its “get started now” button from green to red. But the increase isn’t because red in and of itself is so powerful – conversions likely increased because the rest of the website was green, making the red button stand out more than ever.

For websites, it’s a good idea to have a base color, then a contrasting accent color that draws attention to actionable items.

Finally, studies have found that consumers prefer descriptive names for colors to plain ones. “Sky blue” will sell better than “light blue,” and people prefer “mocha” to “brown,” even when the color itself looks exactly the same.

In a nutshell, when it comes to color, don’t rely on simplistic stereotypes. Think about your brand’s personality, and choose colors that will help you stand out.

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Real Estate Marketing

Vanity metrics exist everywhere, even real estate

(MARKETING) It is often easy to fall for vanity metrics, everyone does it. But “being number one” is so stupidly subjective, don’t cave.

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Man working on laptop representing vanity metrics in real estate.

How many times have you seen or heard “#1 in sales,” “x number of satisfied clients,” or “highest-grossing broker?” Probably more than once. What do these phrases mean? Are they even really measurable? More likely than not, phrases like these come under the heading of “vanity metrics.”

Vanity metrics are things and data sets that are easily manipulated. For tech, it can include things like the number of downloads, page views, and registered users; rather than components that are truly important, such as profits and customer retention.

Vanity Metrics in Real Estate

Real estate, like any other field, has its share of vanity metrics. “Being number one” is ridiculously subjective.

While some associates/brokers/offices have absolutely earned the right based on hard data, many have not.

“Being number one” could mean receiving an award from a random blogger friend, buying an award online, or just plain paying to have the title printed on business cards and in the newspaper; it really doesn’t mean there’s anything tangible or concrete behind the statement.

Nothing tangible

Take for example the person that might say, “over 2,000 satisfied clients.” Sure, that sounds great on the surface. They must be doing something right if they’ve made that many sales. Wait? Does that mean they’ve made over 2,000 sales, or does it simply mean they’ve met 2,000 people?

It doesn’t say, “I’ve successfully sold over 2,000 homes and I have the documentation to prove it.”

It’s also another vanity metric that is intensely subjective. You need more concrete information to make a judgment on the validity of blanket statements such as these.

Also, should you really choose a Realtor® based on something so subjective?

Show me a Realtor who has been in business for more than ten years with no marks on their record (ethical or otherwise) with their local association, and has the documentation to show they’ve successfully sold homes to “happy” customers (read: they come with many recommendations) and I’ll show you someone I’ll put my faith in.

What you can focus on instead

Every team is different. This isn’t to say that major (and minor) sales milestones shouldn’t be celebrated, because they should. Rather, this is meant to be a reminder to us all the vanity metrics are so easy to fall for; we’ve all fallen for these lines, likely more than once.

Instead of looking to data sets with no meaning, teams should focus on internal metrics.

How many clients do you have right now? How many of those clients have bought a home from you? How many showings have you done in comparison to sales? Are you getting positive recommendations and feedback? How much money are you making?

Things like this can tell you where you need to improve; it is concrete data (the recommendations might be a bit fuzzy, but you get the idea).

Listen to your team. Listen to your clients. Set attainable goals and reassess them as needed. Don’t worry about those catchy little phrases, because you know what you need to do to close your sale and keep everyone happy.

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Real Estate Marketing

Real estate pros, never use Facebook stories for this reason!

(MARKETING) Facebook Stories are a fantastic marketing tool, but open up a huge Pandora’s box – and it’s better to nix them.

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facebook stories on iphone

For over a decade, we’ve been touting the importance and merit of social media, educated the industry on best practices, pioneered the culture, and played a role in so many of your campaigns.

This may confuse some of you who are thinking we’re out of touch old folks, crapping on social today, but that’s not the case at all. We care about your rear end. Hear me out…

Last night, I saw an amazing Facebook Story (which disappears, just like Instagram Stories).

A Realtor friend of mine in Texas was sharing the interior of a new listing he had, and it was absolutely stunning.

But he made some mistakes.

Most of them were rookie mistakes that you know not to make (calling a neighborhood “safe” which is subjective and makes you legally vulnerable), but others were pretty serious. He noted that the listing was near a mosque, so it was perfect for his “fellow Muslim friends.” Can you say steering? Fair Housing violation?

I reached out to him to learn his process. What did he say?

“They’re gone in 24 hours, it doesn’t matter.”

Okay, but it could matter to the person who screenshot all of the Facebook Story whose calls you never returned, and because they’re Protestant, they now believe you’ve discriminated against them because they aren’t Muslim like you.

It matters to the person who watched and thought “my car was broken into on that street, it’s not safe,” and shares your Facebook Story, mocking it.

Of course this can happen on any social media platform, in any format. It can happen in email. Why are Facebook Stories so unique?

Because they aren’t archived (unlike Instagram Stories where you can turn archiving on).

In the practice of real estate, you are required to keep copies of all communications, files, and marketing for a specified length of time, depending on your location.

How can you keep record of something that disappears, leaving you completely vulnerable, especially if someone else has saved a copy of it? You’re saying “who cares if they saved a copy?!” but I’m saying that if someone else saved a copy and you didn’t, they can edit it any way they wish with no records to compare it to, and a judge may not see your side of the story.

Skip Facebook Stories altogether.

Do Instagram Stories and archive them, if you must, and if you’re ultra tricky, turn on archiving on Instagram Stories, then cross-post them to Facebook Stories. That way, there’s a record of you that proves whether or not you’re liable.

You already have Groups, Pages, and your personal News Feed to update – put Stories on the backburner, even if they’re a great promotional tool. Future You Being Sued will thank you. #cya

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