Weighing Advertising Cost vs. Perceived Value

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

–John Wanamaker.

So, how do Realtors tell if they’re spending their precious marketing dollars wisely?

It’s purely anecdotal, but here’s my test:  I simply ask whether my intended audience’s perception of value exceeds my out-of-pocket cost.

What exactly does that mean? (you ask).

I can think of two examples:

One. I have exactly one bus bench in the Twin Cities (at the end of Cedar Lake Road, in St. Louis Park).

Nevertheless, I’ve grown accustomed to clients regularly remarking that they “see my face on bus benches all over town.”

Now, THAT’S a good bang for your buck.

Two. “From Your Friends.”

At the risk of divulging a Realtor trade secret, I’m gonna let you know something about “From Your Friends,” a marketing campaign popular with many local agents (myself included).

Each month, the agent’s marketing sphere receives a postcard with a coupon — typically to a local restaurant — worth $10 to $25.

More than a few recipients believe that that discount comes out of the agent’s pocket.

Nope — it’s paid for by the businesses offering the discount.

But, agents aren’t exactly eager to disabuse clients of that perception.

I even had one client who expressed appreciation for the coupons, but expressed a preference for a steakhouse.

Completely by coincidence, the next month’s coupon was to Kincaid’s Fish, Chop & Steakhouse, in Bloomington.

I looked like a hero!

P.S.: Veteran Realtors know that clients make their hiring decision after multiple, repetitive contacts.

As a result, Realtor marketing tends to be cumulative in effect, with no one strategy/exposure clinching the deal.

See also, ““Nice Picture on Your Bus Bench!

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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