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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What does the Trulia acquisition mean to your business?

Beginning last week the rumors were flying that Zillow was acquiring Trulia. Some dismissed the news, some embraced it, others didn't really know or care if it was true.

On Monday, July 28, 2014 it was official. Zillow had announced the acquisition of Trulia for $3.5 Billion in stock. I'll spare all the readers my analysis of the price, the acquisition, and even the short road-map of both companies because all that has been done already in the first 24 hours of the announcement. I will share, though, that I appreciate the open honesty that some have shown this week!

What I do want is to ask you a series of questions. I would like to start with: What does the acquisition mean for your business?

I really want you to pause what you're doing and answer the question with 100%, personal, honesty.

You see, I believe that your focus should be on your business. More specifically I think that your focus should be your marketing, your customers, their needs, and your desire to meet their needs.

So here are my questions to you:

What does your marketing plan look like for the remainder of 2014 and 2015?
Don't confuse a Marketing Budget with a Marketing Plan. A Marketing Plan has specific goals and metrics and contain marketing activity. While budgets generally don't change over a twelve month period Marketing Plans often do. Marketing Plans evolve when you results are analyzed against goals. So has your Marketing Plan changed at all in 2014? Have you reviewed your Marketing Results at all in 2014? In not, maybe you should take a look at it.

Does your marketing plan include spending money with Trulia, Zillow or
If it does include spending money with them how will you maximize that investment so that you beat-out your competition and close the business needed from those leads. Do you have a system (ahem...Delta's System) that will allow you to manage these leads timely and effectively so you can beat out the competition and close the deal? I'll be more direct: At Delta we automatically pull-in, Trulia and Zillow leads. We automatically distribute these leads based on your business logic so your team responds to them immediately and then we follow-up with the customer to make certain they're happy with the service they've received. Does your current system do this? It better!

Does your marketing plan include a strategy to compete directly with Trulia and Zillow for local search engine placement? (...and if not...WHY NOT?)
Yep! I shouted. You better have a plan, or begin making a plan, to compete for search engine placement in your local market. Your plan must include short-tail and long-tail phrases. Your plan must include a strategy that is a mix of Paid Placement (SEM) and Organic Placement (SEO). I prefer to see companies use SEO to grow into markets and grow their market share and leverage SEO through Content Creation to replace their SEM spend. No matter what your plan is you must have a plan with specific goals.

Does your marketing plan include a strategy to empower your Sales Associates to answer the hard data questions such as Zestimates and market trending?
The days of telling perspective home sellers that 'Zestimates are wrong' are long gone. Your Sales Associates need to be empowered to discuss and explain the information. They need to be able to explain market trending data as it relates to the customer. They need to be able to explain the Zestimate, how it's generated and what it means to the seller and buyer.

Does your marketing plan include a brand-building strategy?
Are you working to build your brand? Are you using email marketing? Are you using your past customer lists? If not, why not? If you are, what can you do better?

Do you have a plan to make your local MLS rules more customer focused?
At Delta we just launched a great feature where customers are able to search properties based on School Name. In essence, we have given the ability to search by a specific Elementary School in a market where there are multiple Elementary Schools. We're doing this at a time when some MLS feeds are dropping the School Name from their feeds. Why? They're afraid of lawsuits over inaccurate data. While the lawsuit concern is justified I don't agree with the solution of removing the data all together. This is not a customer centric solution. What about your MLS? Put yourself in the shoes of your customers!

I'll close with this. I know that our business has drastically changed when I tell non-industry people that I have a company that provides marketing services for real estate firms and technology solutions for real estate firms and nine out of ten people respond with 'oh, so you do Zillow.'

Michael Minard
President and CEO
Delta Media group

About Delta Media Group, Inc. 

Serving over 600 real estate brokerages, 35,000 agents and 225 MLS's nationally and internationally, Delta Media Group is the enterprise marketing and business management solution for real estate professionals. Delta partners with companies and top-performing agents at the point where marketing meets technology, helping our clients efficiently navigate their business pipeline from lead to close.

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