Marketing Matters: Exploring the Shift Toward In-House Marketing Teams

More national real estate franchises are beginning to take marketing measures into their own hands rather than using agencies for hire on a contract basis, RISMedia’s 2024 Agent & Broker Marketing Study found. 

Drilling down further, the study also found that the average size of an in-house marketing team nearly doubled between 2022 and 2023 (for national franchises, it was more than double) and the fact that brokers were about 15% less likely to direct their internal marketing teams to focus on recruiting compared to 2022, and about 15% more likely to have them focus on affiliated services (title, mortgage etc).

Now, many firms are creating in-house marketing teams that are doubling in size, according to data, which are becoming the forefront of national campaigns attempting to reach larger target audiences. 

While an abundance of benefits are claimed by franchises surrounding their in-house marketing teams—from convenience, affordability and shared goals surrounding overall advancement—firms strategize uniquely when it comes to marketing in today’s environment. Some have even shared that they actually aren’t doubling their in-house marketing at all.

David Marine, CMO of Anywhere Brands, told RISMedia that no matter the marketing team associated with a brokerage—whether it operates in-house or is an outside agency—it’s ideal for the relationship to feel closer than a business transaction.

“Whether it’s an in-house team or an outside agency, you really want them to feel like an extension of your company or brand. They can’t just be a vendor who submits a monthly invoice. They have to be connected to the goals of the company and live and breathe what’s going on in your business,” says Marine. 

“I feel blessed that the in-house marketing team I oversee for the brands in the Anywhere arsenal are often seen as an extension of the marketing teams of our franchisees. From doing media consultations to outreach about pitching luxury listings to social media audits, our franchisees already enjoy the benefit of an ‘in-house’ marketing team—they just happen to work and live in markets across the country,” he says.

Strategies for growth, benefits of in-house marketing

Marketing strategies vary, as some in-house teams aim to use digital platforms to extend their reach outward, while others take different routes to maximize their franchise’s image. 

One example is consistent agent recruiting—a strategy that not only leads to growth, but can also help boost a franchise’s image in the eyes of buyers and sellers alike.

Firms like Howard Hanna have a different approach than constant recruiting, however, employing tactics such as innovation and customer engagement geared toward real estate professionals looking to join the company long-term.

“Howard Hanna’s overall marketing strategy encompasses a multi-faceted approach, leveraging best-in-class digital platforms, traditional advertising channels and strategic partnerships to reach a diverse audience,” says Leah Gibbons, senior vice president and CMO. 

“By prioritizing innovation, platform inter-connectivity and customer engagement, Howard Hanna consistently reinforces its brand presence to increase business opportunities for our sales associates,” she adds.

Additionally, rather than recruiting traditionally to gain an influx of agents, Howard Hanna relies on its rich history to attract those looking to make a change or jump into a real estate career. In fact, Gibbons notes that the story of Howard Hanna’s “claim to fame” is captivating enough to do just that.

“At Howard Hanna, we focus on attraction instead of recruiting,” explains Gibbons. “Many companies hire services to call, email and text agents on a regular basis to cast the widest net possible for talent. Our approach is different.” 

Attracting organically and through reputation as a family-founded firm, Howard Hanna prides itself on growing through 13 states, with a focus on strength, evolution, agent support and success-driven resources.

Marine, on the other hand, feels that if a company isn’t recruiting, they simply aren’t growing. 

“Companies that aren’t recruiting, aren’t growing,” he says. “This is a surprise to me (that 15% of firms are less likely to direct their internal marketing teams to focus on recruiting compared to 2022, and about 15% more likely to have them focus on affiliated services—title, mortgage etc.) and may speak to the fact that some local companies are finding their revenue streams being more efficient in their ancillary service offerings. 

“For companies looking to grow marketshare, recruiting has to be in the mix. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re investing more money, but perhaps looking at more effective ways to do it.”

In-house versus outsourcing

When it comes to the marketing strategy at Realty ONE Group, Cory Vasquez—CMO and newly elected co-president—was honest in mentioning the professionalism of agencies, explaining that their expertise can often seem second to none. She also notes that the franchise is outsourcing with contractors to keep a “lean” team internally, setting the brokerage up to “benefit from experience and expertise from contractors who work with marketing and all other industries, too.”

Realty ONE Group sees this as a huge benefit. “Having contractors does give us an edge in that,” explains Vasquez. “Some of the contractors we use work in all kinds of industries—product and service-related—so we benefit from the things that they’re saying that we’re really working to become, which is more of a lifestyle brand. We get a lot of experience and benefit from that, as they work with a lot of different retailers and products around the world as well.”

Vasquez also points to the obstacles in the current real estate market as a reason for not doubling in-house efforts at Realty ONE Group.

“We actually have not doubled our marketing team and in-house efforts,” continues Vasquez. “And that’s sort of a result of number one, obviously, the challenges in the real estate market. But also, number two, we’ve learned to operate very lean. So we operate some of the leanest brokerages that are corporate-owned for us in Arizona and Nevada. For us, it’s just about being super nimble, finding better ways to do things.”

That said, Vasquez still gave praise to her in-house team, sharing that the relationship often has distinctive benefits. 

“We have a really talented team of graphic designers and creative folks, and so having that in-house is great because you can rely on that. They know the business, they know our brokers and our agents, and they definitely know our brand.”

In contrast, Marine shares that one benefit of being associated with a national brand is the ability to access an in-house marketing team with various resources. He explains that while some franchises—not national—may lack skill and creativity, the utilization of available resources and practices should make up for this.

“One of the benefits of being part of a national brand is that you have access to an in-house marketing team, and one that has the advantage of a national scope and reach,” says Marine. “As a brokerage, your internal team may not have the same skill set to assess media plans or develop campaigns at the same level as a national brand, but you don’t need them to as they have access to resources, best practices and tangible products that can easily be customized and tailored to your specific market.

“A number of brands have turned to custom video as a way to help local companies and agents market more effectively where you can take award-winning creative that is proven to persuade customers to work with your brand and then just simply tweak a few elements to make it personalized to your company and your market. When it’s a turnkey system, that’s even better than an in-house agency because it’s able to scale, and it’s an on-demand system that’s there when you need it,” he concludes.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top