Marketing: Strategy vs. Tactics


It’s amazing what you hear while waiting for your morning coffee. Two people talking about their jobs. The one in the tie said, “We’re launching a new service soon. Our marketing strategy is on point. It’s all about social media.”

Like many, the gentleman confuses tactics with strategy. Both are important to the overall success of your marketing efforts. But they’re two different animals and cannot be used interchangeably. Without recreating a textbook, your marketing plan involved four things: objectives, goals, strategies and tactics.

Objectives are usually very broad and have more to do with branding than anything. They’re more about what you hope to accomplish. Yours might be “Establish myself in midtown as condominium sales leader.” Usually, objectives are not measurable with hard data.

A marketing goal is the measurable aspect of the objective. They are both specific and realistic. Each objective can spawn several goals. “Sell two condos per month” and “Increase referrals by 20 percent” are examples of goals that can be measured easily.

Once your objectives and goals have been determined, it’s time for marketing strategy, which spells out what you’ll do to meet your goals. It involves identifying the product or service, pricing, promotion and distribution, or as the textbooks calls it, “The Four P’s of Marketing,” using the word “place” instead of distribution and not usually recognizing “service.”

Now we get down to tactics, of which social media is one of many. Marketing tactics are specific actions that you take in order to accomplish the strategy. You’ll choose specific ways to communicate with your target audience. Writing about real estate for a midtown publication or a guest blog for an entertainment website are tactics that are somewhat outside the box, but will reach your target audience of midtown dwellers looking to buy a condo in the area. More traditional means might be direct mail or display advertising in the real estate publications.

Although the young man in the coffee shop knew that there was a strategy in place, what he neglected to see was the bigger picture. He probably started at the end – social media – and worked his way back to the middle, and never fully realized exactly what the marketing objectives are, which could mean the new service launch is destined for mediocrity.

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Loyalty marketing in real estate


There are a number of theorems that marketing professionals treat as gospel. One is that it’s easier (and cheaper!) to keep a client than to get a new one. Another is that word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising.

When those two maxims collide, we’re talking about loyalty marketing. In real estate, it’s not the exact terminology that comes up in everyday conversation. You might be more familiar with a couple of other phrases that have great impact on your sales: repeat customers and referrals.

In a National Association of Realtors study, referrals and repeat business accounted for 70% of the initial contact. The study lists the top 10 ways, and surprisingly, the things REALTORS® spend the most money on, aren’t necessarily the most effective.

Ways to build loyalty marketing

Cultivating repeat and referral business isn’t rocket surgery, and it isn’t expensive. It just takes some time and a little effort to generate leads in a cost-effective way. Truth is, you’re probably doing some of these things now.

Maintain personal contact

There’s nothing wrong with calling periodically to say hello and see how a client is doing. You never know when their life will change and necessitate selling their home.

Thank those who send you business

As stated previously, referrals account for a great deal of business – almost 40 percent. If your client has had a good experience and recommends you to a friend or relative, take the time to send a card or a small gift (if it is allowed).

Networking your network

Make recommendations of professional services and businesses in the area. New homeowners, especially ones new to the city, always appreciate information about home-related service professionals such as handymen, interior designers, plumbers, and landscapers. One caveat: Make sure you know and trust the service provided by those whom you recommend.

Acknowledge your clients

It’s small, but it goes a long way. A birthday card or a thank you on the anniversary date of their closing will have them saying “I can’t believe they remember that.”

Add Value

There’s any number of things you can do, but a simple way for your top-tier clients is to schedule an annual homeowner’s check-up. This could include an update on the local housing market, quick inspection of the house, review of their current mortgage, talking about their home goals, and more. It’s one hour a year well-spent.

Add Value, Part Two

Offering informative seminars is a great way to add value and network. You can talk about financing options, trends, the current situation in the industry. Make sure your customers know that it’s OK to invite friends. You don’t necessarily have to talk about real estate. Invite one of the business owners that you recommend to talk about home improvement.

Leverage Social Media

You can add value to your clients AND get important referrals by engaging in social media. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are all areas where you can offer your expertise. For more in-depth subjects, a blog is a great venue to share. Invite others to write guest columns. It’s a great way to drive traffic to your website.

Client Appreciation Events

These are a lot more involved, require some planning and effort, and probably are more costly than anything else we’ve discussed, but they can be both fun and effective ways to network, add value and show appreciation, all at the same time.  They can not only help you maintain existing relationships, they can help you make new contacts as well. The great thing is that when it comes to these events, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination and budget. Some of the more common ideas for client appreciation events include BBQs, pumpkin carving, bowling, fireworks and other neighborhood events.

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