Two Marketing Firsts for Realtor.com

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Two Firsts for Realtor.com
Two Firsts for Realtor.com

Realtor.com is movin' on up into the world of consumer marketing. Though the website, owned by Move Inc. and produced in concert with the National Association of Realtors (NAR), has been pushing houses to consumers for 20 years, it has not engaged in push marketing until now. It's “Find It First” multichannel digital campaign breaks today.

“We have been masters of SEO, and we've done minimal display advertising, but our most powerful marketing tool has been our 16-year relationship with NAR and its one million real estate agents,” says Andrew Strickman, VP of brand and creative services for Move Inc. “Each one has been a marketing vehicle for us.”

Consumer research conducted by Move Inc. indentified that the number one pain point for house shoppers is finding a home through a web listing, and then getting there and finding that it's been sold. Recently, that pain has been exacerbated by market conditions: Housing inventory in January was down more than 16% from a year ago, according to statistics compiled by Realtor.com. That means houses aren't staying on the market long, prices are going up, and home-seekers are eager to pull the trigger.

Strickman, a veteran of Yahoo, and other marketers at Move Inc. decided the time was right to reach out to home shoppers with a digital campaign alerting them to the redesigned Realtor.com site's policy of updating housing information every 15 minutes. Agency Pereira & O'Dell helped the company map out “Find It First,” which consists of:

Display: Debuting on the Web real estate sections of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, display ads will be expanded to as many as 100 additional sites through ad exchange buys based on behavioral modeling. Some headlines: ““You're not the only one looking for your dream home,” and “Your dream home hit the market 15 minutes ago. Find it on Realtor.com.”

Email: Long a popular channel for Realtor.com's property alert system for consumers, it now moves into promotional mode with messaging about the site being the go-to resource for up-to-date pricing and availability information.

Mobile: Retailer.com's app will be updated with two-way communications capabilities with agents. Shoppers can be driving down a street, see a “For Sale” sign and connect with an agent to schedule a viewing.

Social: The company will activate a #finditfirst hashtag on Twitter to make promotional use of a channel it has long used for transactional messaging. “We will unveil a huge social strategy,” Strickman promises.

“Find It First” is part of an aggressive play by Move Inc. to gain traction with both consumers and real estate agents in a difficult business climate. The company reported a 53% drop in net income in 4Q 2012, but claimed it would have posted an increase if not for investment in growth. It purchased TigerLead Solutions, a lead-gen company, in September and the website Relocation.com in October. In a statement accompanying its financial report last month, Move Inc. CFO Rachel Glaser explained that the company was “leveraging our expanding assets for consumers and customers.”

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