Archive for February, 2007

Market Yourself

Due to many factors, REALTOR competition is more intense than it has ever been. According to the National Association of REALTORS, there are now over 2.5 million real estate licensees. Michigan has also seen a surge in real estate professionals over the last few years, and now MAR has over 34,000 REALTOR members. These numbers give consumers more choices when deciding which REALTOR is right for them, but this may leave REALTORS wondering how they can get and retain clients.

SIMPLE SOLUTION: REALTORS need good, solid branding, marketing, media buying and advertising techniques. That sounds good, but in reality that advice can seem more overwhelming than helpful, especially if you are a REALTOR working in a smaller office or for yourself. Where should you start? Michigan REALTOR has brought together some experts in this field to give you useful advice on how to stand out in a such a vast population.

“Many REALTORS offer very similar services. To stand apart from the competition you need to focus on what’s unique about the way you do business,” said Peter Koeppel, founder and president of Koeppel Direct, a leader in direct-response television media buying, marketing, campaign management and creative strategies. With over 20 years of marketing and advertising experience, he has helped Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and entrepreneurs develop marketing campaigns to increase their profits.

Koeppel stresses that REALTORS need to think outside the box to find out what they can offer to make them unique in the industry, suggesting it could be your level of commitment or an area of specialty. Once you discover what it is that makes you different, use that in your branding and marketing. “Narrow the focus of what you offer, so people think of you first when looking for a particular type of REALTOR,” he said.

Peter Koeppel is president of Koeppel Direct, a leading infomercial and direct response media buying firm.
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Media Buyers Be Aware What’s Hot Today May Not Be Next Year.

MySpace takes a low key approach to drtv advertising. The ads blend into the content. There are other social network sites such as Facebook.com, Buzz-Oven, Bebo and Xanga.com. The large brand advertisers with products targeted at this audience are experimenting with advertising on these sites. They are using promotions to engage visitors. They are giving away products and using contests and videos to promote their products. Kids are influencing other kids to buy products promoted on the sites, according to Business Week.
 
Media buyers need to be aware that what’s hot today may not be next year. Friendster.com was the cool social networking site last year, but now MySpace is the hot site, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends. If you have a teenager, they more than likely know about these sites and many visit them regularly. Teenage girls 12-17 are the biggest users of these sites, as reported by Nielsen. According to Business Week, teens have increased their computer time for social networking by a factor of three over the last five years. MySpace tries to educate kids about online safety, but many kids divulge personal information online, according to USA TODAY. So parents are encouraged to monitor their children’s activities on the web.
 
Direct response marketers who want to stay ahead of the curve, need to develop integrated, multi-channel, advertising campaigns that incorporate direct response TV, online, print and radio media buying, in order to reach not only the teen market, but other consumer segments that are increasingly making purchase decisions online. Social networking websites should definitely be considered as part of the media mix if your product is geared towards a teenage or college audience.  Align yourself with an experienced direct response media buyer who understands how to buy ad space on these sites.

Peter Koeppel is Founder and President of Koeppel Direct

Googlemania and Its Impact on Media Buying

In a series of articles in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Ad Age, I recently read with amazement about the incredible growth and power of Google.  They pointed out that Google will sell over $6 billion in ads, doubling what they sold the prior year. That equates to more advertising than is sold by any TV network, magazine publisher or newspaper chain. Next year Google is expected to generate more than $9.5 billion in ad revenue, which will place it among the top four American media buying companies. To give you an idea of how big Google has become those revenues will put it ahead of NBC Universal and Time Warner in ad sales. In addition, their profits are increasing more than 100% a year. They have a market value of $120 billion, their stock is trading at $400, up 300% since their IPO and they have close to $8 billion in cash and marketable securities.  That’s enough money to buy a small cable network.

Google is even contemplating getting into TV advertising. This could have a profound effect on the TV industry, since Google tends to drive down prices in markets it enters. The DRTV model is more suited to Google vs. brand advertising, since their platform is based on precise measurement and tracking of results. Google is also interested in delivering TV ads tailored to each viewer through set top boxes, according to the Times. If they had their own TV channel or network, I’m sure it would allow consumers to search for a particular show, video or product. All these developments could provide an excellent opportunity for DRTV advertisers and DRTV media buyers.
 
Companies like Yahoo and Microsoft’s MSN aren’t just standing around allowing Google to dominate the online search and ad business. Yahoo has been buying up Internet companies and Microsoft has made improving their search capability their top priority. So I don’t expect Google to totally dominate the online ad business, which will translate into more competition and better rates and advertising options for marketers and media buyers.

Peter Koeppel is Founder and President of Koeppel Direct

Media Buying Mistakes To Avoid

Mistake #1: Choosing award-winning over results-getting. Creative people in some ad agencies can be more concerned about an ad’s concept or look than they are with whether it will actually sell a product or service. If an agency says they’ve won many awards, it doesn’t necessarily mean their drtv advertising is going to make you rich or successful. Be careful of designers, writers, or a whole creative team who try to sell you on media buying that doesn’t feel right to you. Follow your instincts. An ad can be cool or “artsy,” look beautiful or be hilarious, but if it doesn’t generate results, it’s of no benefit to you.

Mistake #2: Not focusing on the consumer’s needs. It should go without saying that a drtv ad must convince consumers that the product or service will meet their needs, but some media buyers still try to dictate what they feel their ads need to communicate. Often, because they are too close to the product or service, companies make the drtv ad “all about us” and not, as it should be, “all about our audience.”

If you feel too involved in the production of the ad, you can take the drtv ad to a focus group to learn whether the ad touches on consumers’ needs. Even when you know who might buy your product, you may not know how to get them to buy it. Outsiders’ opinions can be invaluable, especially those of experts who understand how to communicate more effectively with that consumer.

Mistake #3: Not developing a complete media buying campaign. One ad probably won’t thoroughly inform your prospects of all the benefits your product or service offers. A single ad may work for awhile but then stops being effective as the consumer stops paying attention. To counter this burn-out, you may need to develop a drtv campaign to communicate all key selling points and a complete message about your product’s benefits. Also, another ad or a series can help you capture certain people whose attention you weren’t able to get with a single ad. Usually a campaign consists of several ads over the course of the year to appeal to people through different creative strategies.

Peter Koeppel is Founder and President of Koeppel Direct

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