REAL(TOR) TALK: Marketing For Realtors in the (New) Experience Economy

The experience economy has been around since 1998. Coined by the Harvard Business Review, the term addresses the changing demands of consumer expectations. Today, consumers aren’t happy simply finding and buying a product or service. Instead, they expect brands to provide complete experiences. So how does this translate into terms realtors can understand.?

"From now on, leading-edge companies – whether they sell to consumers or businesses – will find that the next competitive battleground lies in staging experiences." - Joseph Pine

With the new demands of an ongoing pandemic, you might be surprised by the no-touch, social distancing world might make real estate marketing in the experience economy easier. Here’s how realtors in British Columbia should be marketing in the new experience economy.

 

TOR TALK:

Consumers want more than just delivery of products and services; they expect that an exceptional, positively charged, and memorable experience will come packaged with their purchase or use of a commodity.
Sell the Lifestyle, Not the Home

This might be hard to wrap your head around. After all, you are selling a home in British Columbia. However, today’s consumers don’t just want a home, or “just” any product or service. Their lives are steeped in experiences that help make them happy. Without getting into a whole “what is happiness” philosophical discussion, the bottom line is that you need to think beyond the home itself and instead help buyers see the life they will live and how the home will improve their quality of life. That can be a hard sell when British Columbia home prices are skyrocketing and much of your target audience is living in a socially distanced world.

Why so Non-Materialistic?

The idea is that possessions can’t make you happy. What makes people happy today are experiences. Picture all your clients and see what they are holding in their hands – their phones – or their devices. That little device is the link to their happiness. They use it to find constant solace through stimulation in a new world difficult to comprehend. Whether it is information, entertainment or connecting with something or someone that engages them, that device is their lifeline to the outside world. It is also the tool they use to show everyone in their lives they are happy. They are living the dream. What are they sharing? Their experiences.

Social Media: The Heart of the Experience Economy

Social media seems to be the driving force behind the desire for experiences. Because the little tool in your hand provides insights into so many different life experiences, it goads people on to need to experience more – and to have experiences to share. Their lives no longer seem real, as everything they experience is broken down into images they take and share. A simple meal becomes a life event with images of its preparation, serving and enjoyment. Yet the enjoyment itself seems lost as it’s hard to eat with a fork in one hand and a phone in the other. Your goal is to provide experiences your clients can sell, creating memories and creating a lasting experience through the home buying and selling process.

The Share

According to Eventbrite, 49% of millennials attend events just so they can share their moment on social. The trick is finding ways to market your brand and homes in a way your clients can share their interaction in the process on social media. The formula for the economy experience looks like this: You turn a commodity into goods with a service that becomes an experience. It might be difficult to picture when it comes to real estate, but it can be done. 

Creating Experiences

At the heart of it all is experiential marketing. The art of creating new or memorable experiences. Unfortunately, many brands use live events as an experiential marketing tactic. With the coronavirus, live in-person events just aren’t possible. However, there are real estate marketing ideas you can embrace to leverage the experience economy and the current conditions that have emerged from the pandemic.  

Online Challenges

Since most people are stuck in their homes for longer stretches, they are looking for something to do. Combine this with people’s phone and social media addictions and you have the perfect formula for running a highly successful online game or competition. Some creative ideas include:

  • Why I Need to Move: Have people submit images or video showing the cramped conditions in their home during the pandemic and why they need to move more than any of their competitors. Have people vote for the saddest case and offer a prize.
  • Why My Home is Best: You can do the opposite by encouraging people thinking of selling their homes during the pandemic to submit videos or images that show why their home is the ideal place to hunker down while social distancing.
  • DIY Timed Challenges: Have people participate in a live contest where you come up with a DIY project. People have a certain amount of time to complete their projects in real-time and everyone votes for the best one. You can do this as a room makeover as well with people challenged to move their furniture around to create a more appealing, spacious room.

Any of the above ideas can be turned into sharing opportunities as opposed to contests. Instead of competing people just share their ideas and complete projects.

Home Improvement Inspiration

Have people submit their before and after shots of home improvements and makeovers they’ve completed during the pandemic. You can comment on their work and offer advice on how people can invest in projects that help increase the value of their homes. You can set yourself up as an expert assisting people in making smart design choices with the best ROI. You can even showcase homes you are selling with before and after shots to show how your staging helps sell homes.

In fact, you can leverage this idea to create how to videos about how to stage a home, do quick makeovers, etc. Demos of easy repurposing projects or instant makeovers can help people create a more pleasing living space and get over the boredom of staring at the same four walls.

Home Office Tips

Create a real-time series of podcasts, reels or IG stories where you share home office tips. With more people working from home, you can take different scenarios such as making a dual-purpose guest room cum office, creating a designated office space in a bedroom or living room, or offering advice for fun DIY projects such as converting a closet into the perfect spot for a desk nook. Showcase the importance of a designated home office space and why it has become such an important selling feature.

In fact, you can leverage this idea to create how to videos about how to stage a home, do quick makeovers, etc. Demos of easy repurposing projects or instant makeovers can help people create a more pleasing living space and get over the boredom of staring at the same four walls.

Live Expert Panels

Hold live events that allow people to participate in seminars and online discussions with a panel of local experts. Get the word out you are featuring mortgage experts, designers, movers, photographers, etc. who can answer real estate questions. You can also simply invite a new guest to appear and focus on one specific topic.

Online Open House Tours

Create online events for people to tour open houses remotely. Invite people to join you for one on one tours that show off the home and allow people to ask questions. To make things more engaging you can even do neighbourhood tours. Take groups around to show them what makes the area so great and why they should buy there.

Here’s the main takeaway: While the COVID-19 has taken many businesses hostage, realtors might just find new opportunities to market in the new experience economy. Take this opportunity to set yourself apart and engage your clients in a meaningful way.

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