A Marketing Lesson

Sometimes great marketing is so simple, so basic, hardly hi-tech, not even expensive.  Let me tell you what I saw today.

Early this morning I went over to the Morley Field Velodrome.  It’s a bike racing oval in San Diego’s Balboa Park – a wonderful thing where spandex clad riders tear after one another on banked curves and slanted straighaways.  Today they were having their regularly scheduled bicycle swap meet – an occasional event where local bike shops and individuals sell everything bicycle.  I’d heard about it and wanted to see for myself.

‘Get there early!’ my friend said, so there I was, in line behind about 200 others at 8:15 am.  ‘What time do they open the gates?’ I asked the couple in front of me.  ‘Oh, usually around 9,’ was the reply.  That’s where I woosed out.  It was chilly, I was in shorts and had nothing in particular to purchase . . . no way I was going to stand there in the cold for 45 minutes!  If I’d wanted to buy a $2,000 bike for $1,200, it would be worth it, but I was only curious.  So I left.

Pulling out of the lot I came face to face with an open house directional sign with a brilliant flourescent pink flag on top.  It’s a local independent broker I don’t really know . . . but I like the neighborhood so I figured, what the heck else am I going to do at 8:30 am on a Sunday (seeing how I’ve given up pancakes)?

So I started on my pilgrimage to the open house.  From my starting point to the property was about 2 miles.  In that distance I counted – get this – 21 directionals, each one with a bright pink fluorescent flag on top.  These were nice signs:  A-frames all in excellent shape.  As I neared the property and, I guess, the center of her target market, I started seeing bus benches with her distinctive logo – the same one that was on the directional signs. By the time I got to the house, I’d counted 7 of them.  That’s 28 impressions on only one of the routes to the house.  I have no idea how many other routes she mapped.

Of course, when I got to the house I discovered it was open from 1pm – 4pm in the afternoon, that it was overpriced (in my humble opinion) and not much to look at from outside.  The flyer box was full, tough; and interesting:  the house next door and one across the street had staked flyer boxes in the yards with a small rider sign stating ‘Coming Soon.’  It was the same agent.

How many times have we heard it?  Signs are your best marketing tool.  But how many of us go to this extent to maximize their power?  I can’t remember who it was on our regular Wednesday Power Hour call who talked about using as many as four directionals at an intersection for an open house.  I was amazed a that; but it was nothing like this!  Overpriced or not, you know that broker had traffic today, whether she ran an ad or not.  She may even have sold the property or one (or both) of the others on the block.  I think it would be a safe bet that she picked up a good buyer or two as well.

Think about it.  I saw, roughly $600 worth of directionals in my two mile drive.  They are reusable, so she’ll get much more mileage out of them than she did today.  The bus benches are about $250 a month and I saw 7 – that’s $1,750 a month, a healthy budget especially since she probably has more that I didn’t see.  But they are keeping her in that top of mind spot in her target market so that every other bit of marketing she does is that much more effective.  Best of all, it’s safe to say she had a productive Sunday afternoon . . . and what is your time worth?

Remember:  we are in a turf war.  You’re fighting for control of a little piece of real estate located between the ears of everyone who lives in your target market.  The name of this place is ‘The Best Real Estate Company To Call.’ And the company who wins it will do it with visibility and consistency.  My hat’s off to this local independent broker today:  you showed me Help-U-Sell marketing at it’s finest.  Hey – maybe we should talk…


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