Kevin Hawkings

Putting Marketing on Autopilot

by Kevin Hawkins on June 10, 2015

Today, not a single agent among the nearly 3,000 that staff 170 RE/MAX of New Jersey offices is marketing a single listing. That’s because their marketing is on ‘Autopilot.” That’s the name of RE/MAX of NJ’s new marketing automation solution. Not one of their agents has to lift a finger to market a listing: It is being done for them, automatically, for every single listing. Autopilot creates, publishes and distributes both digital and print marketing material, including a printed “Just Listed” flyer and postcard, a digital ePostcard, a Single Property Website for the listing, a Virtual Tour and posts a YouTube Video slideshow of the listing photos. Using responsive web design, everything is mobile friendly, meaning it all looks great on every device. RE/MAX of NJ is literally creating a marketing campaign for each listing. Perhaps best of all, it’s all being created from listing data, which means it uses the information the agent has already entered. Let’s do the math. Say it takes just two hours for the average agent to create, publish and distribute all of these materials. It probably takes a lot more than that, but let’s be conservative. After 5,000 listings, that’s 10,000 hours. That’s 1,250 workdays (8 hours) or more than three years of productivity savings. So the question is why isn’t everyone jumping on the marketing automation bandwagon? I believe the answer is, they will be. With these kinds of numbers in terms of productivity add, the ROI is ridiculously sweet. But there are other reasons automation will be a mainstay in real estate marketing. After productivity boost comes the benefit of brand consistency. This is where real estate marketing is unique: Agents often create the vast majority of their own marketing materials. Attempting to maintain brand consistency and quality control in marketing materials created by more than a million licensed agents is harder than herding cats. Franchises and major regional brands know this. Marketing automation solves this problem. Next comes guaranteed frequency. Broker owners love this about marketing automation. They know that all of the key materials needed to promote a property are not only being created and published, but they are being distributed. That’s huge because the idea that every agent creates all of the marketing pieces for each property is a fairy tale, because life happens. Autopilot has one more feature that is key to marketing automation: Automatic updates. Business rules […]


Are you delivering customer service or lip service?

by Kevin Hawkins on December 17, 2014

[Part 1 of 2] I have a theory: Customer service provided by most technology companies sucks. Ask yourself when was the last time you told someone or posted something on Facebook about a great customer service experience from any technology company with a first letter other than “A” (Apple, Amazon don’t count). Better yet: When have you ever posted a rave review about your customer service experience with a real estate technology company? Or a vertical technology company for any industry? My guess is that’s as rare as rain in the Sahara. Yet how many tech firms tout publically that are “customer centric,” or they have a “customer-first culture,” or some variation on this theme? I don’t think we are getting customer service today from the vast majority of players in this industry; I believe what we are getting is a lot of lip service. Maybe my standard is too high of what I consider to be good customer service. But don’t blame me, blame my father. My dad was in the hotel business for 43 years before he retired: As a manager at the Fontainebleau Hilton on Miami Beach, the W on Michigan Ave in Chicago, and the Whittier Hotel on Lake Michigan in Detroit. He cut his teeth working at several iconic places, including a resort in the Adirondacks in Upstate New York, where he ran errands for Errol Flynn, the hottest movie star of his day. Dad started his career as a bellboy at the old Hollywood Beach Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. It was in the 1930s and “land was going for $1 an acre,” he used to tell me. Before I could ask why he didn’t buy a bunch of land, he immediately followed that statement with “but I was young and dumb and didn’t know any better, or I could have made a fortune!” The one thing my dad did know more about than anyone I ever met was customer service: He lived it 24-7, from the day he put on a hotel uniform, until the day he hung up his tie. He taught me my first customer service lesson when I went to work for him as a messenger at the Fontainebleau when I was 15 years old. He said, “Son, here’s the secret to success in the hotel business: Treat everyone as if the were a King or a Queen, it’s that simple.” […]

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