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It Started Last Year

In February 2008, I had the honor of chairing the Short Sale Working Group appointed by President Dick Gaylord. A group of REALTORS from all over the country, representing a number of standing committees met to address the issues created by the mounting number of short sales.
I just got an email from one of the Work Group Members, J.T. Tsighis, who wrote the following;

Remember this thank you we received from our esteemed chairman on the important work we performed last year on that chilly day in Chicago February 20, 2008?

Well now, just a little over one year later, with our informative Short Sale Work Flow Process document in circulation for months and copies of our report to Risk Management, Professional Standards, MLS, Conventional & Finance committees long past gone…we owe one big thank you our NAR leadership team (past and present) for taking the time to consider and take definitive action on our suggestions…here’s an abstract from the weekly update sent to all FPC’s last week…I know how good it made me feel and wanted to make sure you knew about it just in case you missed seeing it…

“Many of you have expressed concern over the short sales process and wondered what NAR could do to help try to correct it. Since then, NAR developed the Short Sales Working Group in 2008 which came up with a number of recommendations toward a solution. NAR reviewed the recommendations and has now released a response. To have a look at the working group’s suggestions and the NAR response, please visit REALTOR.org:
https://www.realtor.org/wps/wcm/connect/8c4828804d6ed92ea5e2ef76015fd4f4/short+sales+flyer+3.19.09.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=8c4828804d6ed92ea5e2ef76015fd4f4 .

Just another great example of REALTOR® volunteerism at work with great support from responsive NAR leadership…thanks to all…and proud to be a part of it!

“J.T.”

James J. Tsighis GRI,CRS,CRB,ABR,e-PRO

I sort of feel like I’m cheating here since the work assembling the short sale flyer was done at NAR, the material contributed by the entire Working Group, the additional actions taken by our leadership at NAR,  and the letter written by JT. But the job itself was incredibly satisfying in the journey as well as in the destination. 

The Journey was Great

It started when the issue was identified in the Risk Management committee. It was brought to President Dick Gaylord’s attention by then Chairperson Diane Disbrow, who immediately formed the Short Sale Working Group. We all met in Chicago for a long and arduous meeting, and then spent considerable time memorializing the findings of the working group. Those findings were presented  to leadership and the various committees for them to take action. And as you can see the impact of that work is still being felt and moved forward by President Macmillan today. I am proud to have been one of the volunteers that helped this move forward.

It Takes Two to Communicate

As I read this over, before hitting the “publish” button, I feel a little embarrassed. I don’t want to seem too formal or pompous or bang the drum too hard, but the fact that my actions and the actions of this working group impacted hundreds of thousands of real estate practitioners, their clients and customers amazes me. And that occurred because the REALTOR leadership that is so often questioned and maligned was being responsive to their members. So the next time you think that NAR is some monolith that doesn’t respond to its members, think about what you did to open that communication – and what it might mean to you and the industry if you did open it successfully.

Image by dannyfowler via Flickr

Bill is an unusual blend of Old & New - The CEO Century 21 Advantage Gold (Philadelphia's Largest Century 21 company and BuzzBuilderz (a Social Media Marketing Company), He is a Ninja CEO, blending the Web 1 and 2.0 world together in a fashion that stretches the fabric of the universe. You can follow him on twitter @Billlublin or Facebook or LinkedIn.

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

7 ways Instagram Stories get people pumped about your brand

(MARKETING) Instagram stories are widely used, so why shouldn’t marketers get in on the Insta-story action?

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Instagram

Instagram Stories long ago surpassed Snapchat at it’s photo-sharing joy, and has found to be a great place to build brand awareness and build your customer base.

Here are a few ways that you can use stories to get people excited about your brand, products, and service.

1. Share the story of your business

Showcase the creation of a product or service, or share something (legal and fun) that your team is working on. These behind the scenes productions humanize your brand and can really get people excited about it. Check out what Union Fare does!

2. Preview live broadcasts

Are you doing a Facebook Live or WebEx demonstration? Use Instagram Stories to tease and generate some excitement or pull attendees from one social media platform to the other.

3. Showcase your stuff in action

Whether it’s demonstrating an application, showing off a recipe, or showcasing an outfit, you can use stories to show what the end result of a product is and help them generate ideas on how to use that stuff! Because Instagram Live can be done spontaneously, you can show authentic, non-scripted demonstrations easily.

4. Brag time

When you support a brand, you get excited that you are a part of their wins. Share relevant milestones (subscriber counts, new products, new revenue, new contracts, new products, etc.) with your base. This helps build connection with your base.

5. Countdowns and giveaways

You can use stories to facilitate ways to get people excited about upcoming giveaways or new launches. Unlike static marketing, the use of countdowns can really get people emotionally excited and build anticipation for new products or services. You could also use stories to give special sales or unique giveaways that give a more “exclusive” feeling.

6. “Takeovers” from influencers or partnerships

If you are working with a promoter or influencer, you can have them generate content to send them over to you to use their voice to target your audience. The influencer can send you pictures and videos that you upload yourself, rather than handing over your account username or password (like with Snapchat). This is a great way to work with someone who already has a following that can help you expand your service or product reach.

7. Create unique content

Odds are, especially for smaller businesses and new entrepreneurs, you don’t have a lot of time to invest in production value for other advertising. Instagram Stories with the use of stickers, paintbrush, and text can be a great place for raw, but still polished content that has a one of a kind feel. Familiarize yourself with the tools, and don’t be afraid to get artsy.

Make Instagram work for you

Instagram is constantly adding new features, so make sure you stay tuned for updates and play around with those features often. For example – Instagram stories can rewind or being hashtagged. Or use the eraser brush to do slow teases or product reveals.

Given that users can now bookmark content as well, you can create demonstrations or examples and give your audience a quick reference to your content. Get learning, check out stories, and start building those unique, intimate, and creative engagements with your consumers.

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Business Marketing

Half of all Instagram users buy immediately after seeing an ad

(MARKETING) If you’re advertising on Instagram and yielding no results, read on – it’s a gold mine for *some* types of brands.

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instagram

If you’ve been on Instagram you’ve likely fallen victim to the algorithm’s knack for showing you advertisements for something that seems exactly suited to your tastes. Or, someone you follow on the app tags their post with the name of the brands that make up their cute outfit and you decide to see what else they might offer. I’ve ended up with more than one pair of sneakers this way.

Instagram’s popularity and effectiveness have made it a marketing powerhouse. Over 130 million people look at product tags on the app each month.

Recently, Facebook commissioned a study asking users to explain what their interaction with companies and brands on Instagram was like. A whopping 66% of people said that the used Instagram to interact directly with brands — and 54% of users said they purchased something immediately after seeing an ad in their Instagram feed. Ads that are in the “stories” feature, independent of users’ feeds are especially effective.

After it was acquired by Facebook, Instagram has grown to account for over 19% of the tech-giant’s advertising spending — nearly double what it was in 2018.

Facebook is planning on continuing to capitalize on Instagram. They announced that soon users won’t need to navigate out of their feed to the retailer’s website purchase items, but rather have the ability to buy things in-app.

Instagram will take a cut of these in-app purchases and partner with PayPal to process payments, adding a new revenue stream to the growing platform.

As part of expanding its foray into shopping, Instagram is also partnering with its most popular influencers.

These people will be able to directly sell the products that their sponsors are offering through their accounts, rather than direct them to their sponsor’s account. At the beginning, only major accounts belonging to celebs like Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid will have this option, but it seems like after its initial launch more sellers will be to take advantage of the feature.

So, be prepared to have even more sneakers in your future, friends. It looks like those Instagram ads are going to get even more powerful.

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