Guest writer Alex Stephen, takes you through the ins and outs of property marketing. How does a Real Estate agent use marketing tactics to manipulate and create unconscious desire for a particular home? What are the most common tactics employed by the industry?
Marketers are pretty cunning. The best of us are sort of like pseudoscientists, using scientific methodology to research the best ways to get people to buy or like our brands and products. Over the past 100 years, marketing has evolved drastically from simple beginnings to now using complex neurological studies to determine the chemical reaction an individual has towards a brand or product. The methods that marketers use to communicate have also changed drastically to move with the progress of technology.
Let’s start with basic marketing concepts, the push and pull. Push marketing refers to getting your product in front of people, bringing it to them. This is often what happens in showrooms and is a particularly old style of marketing. Pull marketing refers to creating desire for purchase, the easiest to observe are life insurance ads. By presenting imagery of a family struggling without the main income earner the pulling factor of fear is used to get young families into buying insurance.
Now let’s take these concepts over to property. Often for real estate agents selling homes for people to live in, a combination of the two is used, known as push-pull or pull-push marketing (depending on the order the tactics are used). If a real estate agent sends an email about an open house to a bunch of people on an email list he/she would be conducting push-pull marketing, as the product is brought to the consumer before the inspection, where the desire to buy is created by touting the benefits of the property.
In the example above there are a few things to watch out for. When the benefits of the property are presented, you need to investigate how accurate the claims are and if the claims made are just deflections for everything negative with the property. For example, a unit complex marketed as ‘Close to public transport,’ may be close enough to public transport that you hear it every night. A ‘large floor plan’ is a completely empty claim, what constitutes ‘large?’ is the floor plan the plan for one apartment or it a floor plan for an entire floor of the apartment? Always be sceptical of just what is being said as the rules for what can be said in marketing copy are very unclear.
So scepticism is very important, conducting your own research is also vital. But these are conscious effectors that you can identify, what about unconscious ones?
It sounds a bit like mysticism, but marketers have become increasingly good at influencing unconscious thoughts. Take for example the use of the colour red in virtually every advertisement. Psychologically, red has an underlying meaning of power and action, the colour actually works to influence your perception of an ad before you have even read it. In the same way, blue creates feelings of calm and tranquillity, the same being for greens, also denoting nature.
Coca Cola are also masterful at unconsciously linking events with consumption of a good. Look at any advert for Coke, it almost always has young people at a party or with a group of people, drinking coke and having fun. You might just think construe that as being nothing, but when you are exposed to those kinds of ads 30 times or more a week, every week you begin to form unconscious perceptions of when the product should be used. Now think about what kind of drinks you would have at a party. Is Coke on there?
How to avoid this? Well you can’t really, a lot of advertising uses some kind of subliminal meaning which can implant itself on your subconscious, even if you are aware of what the meaning is, this can work to implant the idea further into your mind. By being aware of what an ad is trying to do to you, you can understand why you are drawn to a certain product and then make the rational decision to not purchase, but sometimes the pull is far too strong. Mars bars are my weakness.
There is so much to talk about in the marketing world, but ultimately the way to avoid falling into marketing pitfalls is to be skeptical of everything that is presented to you, and to research only the products you would actually consider buying. Are they actually offering you something that is worth the money?
Oftentimes it isn’t.