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Kristian Alekov's Blog

By Kristian Alekov | Broker in Naples, FL

Online Real Estate Marketing: REALTORS Could You Be The Next Kodak?

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Online Real Estate MarketingCouple Months ago The Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS and other major media outlets reported what was unbelievable for some – “Kodak May File For Bankruptcy”. This news was shocking to some, not to me. Here is what I believe REALTORS {and all businesses really} can learn from Eastman Kodak.

Founded in 1880 by George Eastman, Kodak dominated the photographic film industry. Kodak’s strategy of selling inexpensive cameras and making large margins from film, chemicals and paper allowed the company to command 90% of film sales and 85% of camera sales in the United States.

The trouble began in 1984 for Kodak. 1984 was the year Japanese competitor Fujifilm entered the U.S. market with cheaper priced film and film supplies. America’s film brand – Kodak refused to believe that Americans would ever desert it in favor of a foreign brand. In 1984 Kodak passed on the opportunity to become the official film of the Los Angeles Olympics, an opportunity Fuji jumped on.

The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics sponsorship rights gave Fuji a foothold it would never relinquish in the U.S. marketplace. Soon after, Fuji opened a film plant in the United States. and began aggressively marketing and pricing its products taking market share from Kodak.

In the 1990′s Kodak began its move to digital technology, manufacturing Apple’s QuickTake digital cameras. Aside from this, there was little implementation of a digital strategy. Kodak executives could simply not comprehend a world without traditional film and cameras so  there was no incentive to change.

Kodak finally moved to the digital camera market, with its release of the Kodak EasyShare family of digital cameras. I had one of these, so did my parents. Kodak studied customer behavior and found out that women loved taking digital photos but found it challenging to  move the pictures to their PC’s.

Kodak seized on this opportunity by releasing model after model of top-quality digital cameras at affordable prices that made it easy to share photos with friends and family members – online. Kodak invented the printer dock, where the camera was inserted into the dock, press a button, and print the photos. In 2005, Kodak was #1 in the United States in digital camera sales.

One problem. Kodak, like many others didn’t realize how fast digital cameras would realize low profit margins, as more competitors [SONY] entered the market in the mid-2000s. As consumers began to take more digital pictures with their cell phones their marketshare and profits plummeted.  You can see where this is going.

I am from Syracuse, New York, I am very familiar with Eastman Kodak, their corporate headquarters are 90 miles to the west in Rochester New York. It is sad to see the company go through this. Is it shocking? NO. When is the last time you used a Kodak Camera or bought Kodak film? Consumer behavior simply changed and Kodak {and many others} failed to keep pace with it.

What REALTORS Can Learn From Kodak

You may be thinking, “Thanks for the history lesson but what does the rise and fall of Kodak have to be with me?”. The answer. EVERYTHING. At one point, Kodak was America’s film company. A household name. They became comfortable and did not sufficiently invest in emerging technologies. Emerging technologies like online real estate marketing that changed CONSUMER BEHAVIOR.

There  has been a shift occurring in the real estate space since 2007, many REALTORS have not fully realized the impact this shift in behavior will have on their real estate business. Many REALTORS have not realized the pain this shift will cause in their real estate business as they have focused on Bank Owned {REO} and Short Sales.

Online Real Estate Marketing

The shift – is to the Internet. Online Real Estate Marketing. Once thought of as a fad, the Internet has revolutionized many industries and business plans – but not really for individual real estate agents and brokerages. Look at your major competitors – REALTOR dot Com, Trulia, Zillow, Homes dot com, MSN and others - they are the Fuji to your Kodak. They have been investing in this new technology – the Internet, online real estate marketing, they have been optimizing content [homes for sale] from your MLS and it has been getting THEM found online. Do a Google search for a broad term – I bet ya REALTOR dot com, Zillow, Yahoo Real Estate or Trulia is leading the pack.

Online Real Estate Marketing: Like Without REO and Short Sale

Many REALTORS have remained comfortable with REO and Short Sale, failing to realize a business without them. But what happens when the Arizona housing market recovers – there is no REO, there is no Short Sale. When you can’t easily identify a consumer in need of your real estate services using a Notice Of Default List, 30,60,90 late list, Notice Of Trustee Sale. What happens then? Will you pick up a postcard, flyer, do not call or email list, or will you finally be ready to learn about online real estate marketing?

Online Real Estate Marketing: Waking Up On MARS

When you look in that bag of marbles that is the housing market, you can easily pick out the RED marbles from the GREEN, the red being those consumers that need to short sale their homes.  What happens when you look in that bag and all the marbles are GREEN? What will you do then? Which way is UP? It will be like waking up on Mars for many real estate agents – and brokerages!

Online Real Estate Marketing: Help Consumers FIND YOU

All of this could have been avoided if you had only invested in technology, in online real estate marketing. Don’t be the next KODAK. Learn how to market to real estate consumers in the ways they want to be marketed to. Over 94% of them go to the Internet 1st when looking for homes. This is where many of them will find their next home, loan and yes – REALTOR®. Instead of relying on hard plastic disposable cameras and film [post cards, flyers, print real estate books, grocery cart ads, door to door, cold calls, email blasts, static websites and others] learn about the shift to digital cell phones [WordPress, Video, YouTube, Content, Screen Capture, Pay Per Click, Keyword Research, Indexable IDX and others].

Will YOU be the next Kodak?

Brought to you by Affinity Title, Fort Myers, FL - your Short Sale Expert!

Comments

By John,  Sun Mar 10 2013, 17:48
This is wisdom. As I prepare to enter the world of real esate photography, I'm amazed that many realtors and agents have not yet realized the value of the visual medium as it relates to drawing buyers toward their listings. That said, the times are a'changing and hopefully awareness will blossom. Thanks for a great post !

John Bates
http://www.gulfcoastimagery.com
 
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