Technology and the Future of Real Estate Marketing
I've been considering what kinds of marketing techniques, what approaches agents in the future are going to use, what we can expect to see as state-of-the-art in real estate marketing. I think it's going to revolve around things like use of big data. That's the first thing I was considering.
There are companies now with marketing so sophisticated they can even be a step ahead of consumers. There's a story I read where a baby gifts company sent a baby gift to an expectant family before the husband was informed by the wife that she was expecting. Similar approaches have been used in real estate and I think you're going to see things like, for example, the use of applications like SmartZip, where we literally can predict who will move before they decide to move. Kind of futuristic and perhaps a bit scary, but I think that's what's in the offing.
Augmented reality and the kinds of applications that will utilize that sort of technology are also coming to the fore. For example, there is an app called X-Ray Vision, which is an overlay of data or a physical image onto the real world. You'll be able to hold your device up to a property and view the property almost as if it was through the device.
Drones are another innovation that agents are using, as we have these drones fly over property. We've actually done it on our own team to snapshot images from above. The FAA is not very happy with real estate agents using drones and had actually banned their use, but there were negotiations with the National Association of Realtors that will allow agents to use these drones in limited capacities, since consumers seem to want them and agents like them as well.
There are also the multitude of third-party websites that threaten to eliminate the agent on one hand and, on the other hand, are really tools that smart agents have used to further their own business. Sites such as Zillow and Trulia allow the agent to connect with the consumer in different ways and use that technology.
With technology the common theme here, it's definitely been forecast that there could be agents eliminated by these technologies. But I believe it's going to be old-fashioned connection, the drill-down right in place, that allows agents, often in very low-tech manners, to connect with the consumers right where they specialize. And it's the agents that engage in these kinds of activities.
They truly get to know their market, where they can add value, where they can be the purveyors of information but, more importantly, the interpreters and synthesizers of information (because the consumer has all the information that he or she did not 10 or 15 years ago). It's the agents that combine these low-tech approaches with staying in front of some of these progressing technologies, that will see their market business-share expand, even as agents on average, perhaps, see their share of the market contract. That's what I think we're going to see more of in the future.