Monday, July 9, 2018

Advertising – Marketing – Coffee Cups

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, July 9, 2018

If you were to receive a Christmas card with this photo on the front, what would first attract your attention and what would you think of next?  Therein lies the purpose of this latest Nugget for the Noggin – differentiate the difference between Advertising and Marketing and then the importance of using tools to create a memory that hopefully draws people to your business.

THE CARD:  If I were to receive this card in the mail, I would immediately think of Sandra Nickel in Montgomery, Alabama.  Why Sandra?  She is well known in the real estate industry as “The Hat Lady.”  Why is that important to know?  I first met Sandra well over 25 years ago and in 2018; I remember Sandra, what business she is in and her famous trademark “hat” on everything she ever put forth to the public.  She did not send me this photo; I have misplaced the card she originally sent me at Christmas so many years ago.  The photo was of a lone pine tree standing out in a barren field with just one hat hanging on its branches.  No words were on the face of the card like Merry Christmas, just the photo.  No words were necessary to know from whom it came.  In fact if my memory serves me, I believe it was a post card and not a fold over card so just the post card arrived in the mail.  The moment I saw the photo I knew who it was from without even turning the card over.  Her MARKETING SKILLS are second to none!  THEY WORK!  As an aside, she not only was marketing to me, she was also advertising at the same time to anyone and everyone that handled that card in the post office system.  Think about that when you consider how many post cards Sandra mails out each year.

Do you know what the difference is between Advertising and Marketing?  I had to learn the hard way.  Believe it or not, I majored in Advertising and Marketing at Bowling Green State University.  In the two years I attended, I took NO classes relating to business, advertising or marketing and totally lost interest in college; it was one of the several reasons I joined the Coast Guard aside from giving me purpose in life. 

I learned the difference between Advertising and Marketing from a fellow real estate agent, broker, trainer, owner and operator of a real estate school and expert “marketer” himself – Rick Barnes from Texas.  It was one of those lessons you occasionally experience that just sticks with you.  Here is what Rick said:


Think about that for just a second and you realize how true that statement is.  When you place an advertisement in a newspaper or an advertising book, you are advertising to the general public not to the people you know.  Yes, some of the people you know may see your advertisement but that is more by accident than by design.  You are using a shotgun approach to attracting business to your business.  A shotgun has a scatter pattern where you are hoping that one of the projectiles hits a hopeful target.  Hope is not a good strategy!  Dr. John Maxwell  Isn’t that what you do when you place a For Sale ad in the newspaper, run a “hire me” video on TV or any number of different advertising outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. etc.   You are NOT aiming at someone who will eventually buy from you; they are lost in the gigantic circle you are aiming at.  You may or may not hit them.

Marketing on the other hand targets the people who already KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST you (Bob Burg made that famous) and who will BUY from you (a slight modification by Jeffrey Gitomer).  Sadly most people I know ADVERTISE instead of MARKET.  Does it not make sense to continue to contact the people you know to constantly remind them in a nice way that you are still in business and there is no way on this Earth that you can make a success and grow your business without their help?  Example:  I retired from real estate after 33 years December 2012.  Six years later I can count the number of Advertising pieces I have received in the mail on 10 fingers/thumbs.  They have been few and far between.  I can count the number of MARKETING pieces on about 2 fingers in those 6 years and that is sad, truly sad.  Out of sight, out of mind!  It IS that simple.  Of the Advertising pieces I received, they were truly hit or miss because I have never received another real estate advertising piece from the same agent twice.  Over my 33 years in the business I have known thousands of real estate agents and have personally trained hundreds.  You would think I would receive more MARKETING pieces from the ones I know but I do not.  So maybe my training was not all that well received but I stand by it and what I am writing here.  You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.

RICK BARNES:  His MARKETING system was so simple and extremely inexpensive.  He created the slogan, THINK REAL ESTATE; THINK RICK!  He would then use his own computer and printer and a good supply of card stock paper to create post cards both large, 2 to a page, or smaller, 4 to a page.  One side of the post card would read:


The other side of the post card would in as few words as necessary to get the message across, identify him and how to contact him.  BRILLIANT!  He would use different color paper to match the season, like red and/or green for Christmas, purple for Easter, Orange for Thanksgiving, etc.  But the cards were always the same and that is the beauty of his system.  REPITITION!  It takes REPITITION for people to remember you. Even those who know you oftentimes forget that you are in a business they could use.  Personal example.  As the broker of a real estate office, I did not want my agents to think I was in competition with them for sales so I did not advertise nor market myself to anyone.  As a result, I have relatives who have purchased homes and who have sold homes using real estate agents from another company because they either “forgot” or maybe they just didn’t want to use me or my agents and that is okay.  Still the question always lingers, would they have at least given my company a chance to represent them if I had marketed the services of my company to them?  No one will ever really know will they?  My bad!

Another one of those simple messages I heard that is impossible to forget, “you want people to remember you, FROM THE MAILBOX TO THE TRASH CAN, because that is where most if not all of your advertising and/or marketing pieces are going.”  Therefore, make it sweet and simple but make it repetitive or almost always the same!

Coffee Cups:  I have known quite a few real estate agents who have purchased personalized coffee cups and gave them out more in the form of shotgun advertising than the more specific marketing approach.  I have tried this experiment on more agents than I can count.  I would see an agent drinking from a coffee cup with an advertisement on it.  For this purpose let us say it was advertising a mortgage company.  Very casually I would ask them for the name of a mortgage company they would recommend.  I do not recall EVER getting an answer that matched the name on their coffee cup they were using – EVER!  I have done this with cups advertising attorneys, home inspectors, banks, you name it.  Before I said another word, I would ask them to name the name on the cup without looking at it; most of the time they could not.  But here is a really great question that only you the reader can answer.  Have you ever received a coffee cup with an advertisement on it?  If so, do you still have it?  If not, why not?

The answer is very simple.  You already have coffee cups.  Okay, may you keep one or the most recent cup on your desk in your office but that is just one of the many cups you may have received.  What do you do with the others?  I know what I have done; they ended up in the trash or being given away to Goodwill.  Look in your kitchen cabinets, how many coffee cups do you have stored there with the name of a real estate agent or some commercial concern on them?  Probably none!  Point made!

COFFEE CUPS THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE TO ME:  I received the first one from an agent on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Jerry Olson.  He and his family went to Disneyland.  Upon his return he gave me a Winnie-the-Poo coffee cup.  That was in the late 1990s.  I still have it and I still remember who gave it to me and it does NOT have his name or company name on it.  Second example, Christine Mottinger and her husband Don went on a trip to Alaska.  When she returned she gave me a coffee cup with beautiful images of Alaska on it.  That was about 20 years ago, I still have the cup and I remember who gave it to me.  There was no name or company name on the cup.

The point of this is more of a question.  Do you want to be famous?  If so, continue to ADVERTISE to the people you don’t know.  Or, do you want to be successful?  If it is successful, learn to MARKET to the people you know.  When you do, you want whatever you give them to be outwardly positive and attractive but more importantly you want it to be memorable like the Winnie-the-Poo coffee mug has been to me. 

KITCHEN MAGNET: Another example is a kitchen refrigerator magnet that we have actually kept.  Believe it or not, (believe it) I have a magnet on my refrigerator from Ashley Logawick, a real estate agent in Blaine, MN where I have never been.  I don’t know how long the magnet has been on my fridge but I do know it is now on our second refrigerator.  What is so special about the magnet?  Not the agent, she’s a fictitious agent made up by the magnet company but rather the info on the magnet – KITCHEN CONVERSIONS and METRIC CONVERSIONS.  This is genius!  If I lived in Blaine MN, and if Ashley were real, I know who I would call if I had a real estate need.  Do you know how many tablespoons are in 1 cup?  Answer, 16.  How many ounces in 1 cup?  Answer: 8 ounces. How about how many meters in a foot if you ever need to know that?  Answer: .9144.  All this info right on my fridge!  I don’t remember such things but when I need them I don’t have to look them up, they are right there on my refrigerator.  That is effective marketing for sure. I believe I picked up the magnet at one of the national real estate conventions at The Magnet Street booth and it was a sample.

Hopefully you take this information and run with it to grow your business.  If you really want to know more about what it takes to grow your business, I HIGHLY recommend reading Gary Keller’s book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent commonly referred to as The Red Book.  FORGET that it says REAL ESTATE.  It is NOT about REAL ESTATE it IS about building a successful business and what you MUST do to lay the groundwork for that to happen.  I know of several businesses outside of the real estate industry that have heaped high praises on the book.  It is about the importance of knowing your numbers, knowing your customers, knowing how many customers it takes just to break even and then knowing what you MUST do to increase your customer base and when and how to feed that base to keep your customers as your customers.  BINGO!  A book that will actually help anyone in almost any business; you can’t get any better than that!

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