Bold Steps From Century 21's Marketers

Century 21’s recent decision to end its TV advertising is a refreshing and sound move against the “marketing by tradition” majority. It’s surprising to me how often I hear brokers and agents rationalize their marketing mix by the much feared “owners expect it” or “we know it doesn’t work but our agents like to see their names on the sides of buses.”   A sound marketing strategy certainly requires a healthy mix of brand awareness and even more importantly, brand preference, but in all times (good and bad markets) an accountable direct marketing strategy is critical.  Few players in the real estate industry can boast of 97% name recognition like Tom Kunz’ Century 21 can, so I’m not advocating  abandoning brand support for most brokers/agents but all advertising dollars should be spent with accountability in mind and must be connected to an integrated CRM  (customer relationship management) platform.

To be clear, this post isn’t a partisan shot at TV and print advertising;  far too many Web campaigns also lack accountability and counting clicks certainly doesn’t qualify as valuable insight. Clicks are a particularly irksome measure of Web advertising effectiveness as they don’t speak to the qualified or unqualified nature of the consumer.  Realogy’s famous LeadTracker CRM system and Prudential’s eRealty platform allow brokers and agents to track the effectiveness of their digital advertising spend by connecting their featured listings, Showcase Ads and banner placements on Zillow to customer contacts. Those contacts can then be assigned to specialized e-agent teams or the listing agents for follow up.  Beyond measuring direct contacts, two promising measures of advertising effectiveness are the number of listing views an ad drives (please remember to sum the listing views on both Zillow and those driven to the broker site)  & agent profile views. On the top of every listing and agent profile on Zillow, we publish a real time ticker of the related page views.

The Century 21 announcement speaks to a 237% increase in leads and a 62% drop in cost per lead through their online advertising investments — these are terrific gains given the market conditions. C21 has become an innovative marketing partner on Zillow. You can see their listings featured on the Zillow home page customized locally for each visitor. Drop me a note or call through our sales contacts  (showcase@zillow.com or 866-324-4005) if you would like to dig into how we can help drive leads and the all-important brand preference for your business.